Cable, DSL and fiber networks claim to offer speedy Internet connectivity, but are they living up to the promise? That's hard to say. Advertised peak speeds always sound great, but achieving them on a consistent basis is another matter entirely. And even if you're willing to gauge speeds across multiple carriers in multiple locations, pinging and checking packets, trying to figure out who's actually delivering is still a tough proposition.

Enter the FCC to shed some light on the topic. The Federal Communication Commission tested the Internet speeds of 12 ISPs in the United States by sending out routers to people that report on things like speed and packet quality info. The first round of testing took place last August, followed by the latest one in April, results of which were just released Thursday.

So how good did the providers fare? Well, when it came to Cablevision or Verizon FiOS, pretty darn good (at least within the U.S. For global comparisons, click here). According to the FCC's data, these companies came out on top as the most likely to deliver on their promised download speeds. In general, fiber-to-the-curb/-to-the-home services performed well, coming the closest to or above advertised download speeds with the lowest latency. (Latency's important. It refers to the amount of time it takes a packet to travel the network, so a low latency can bring VoIP, gaming and vid streaming users to tears.) Cable providers came in next, followed by — surprise — DSL providers (AT&T, Frontier, Windstream and CenturyLink), bringing up the rear.

To drill down further into how the 12 providers did in these tests, hit up the charts below. And for even more results, such as quality of service broken down by speed tiers, be sure to check out the FCC source link.

Is your provider represented in these tests? How did it perform? Take a look and let us know if these results match up pretty well with your own real world usage.

[via GigaOm, source FCC]





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