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Fla. ranks in top 25 for fastest ISP, magazine reports

By Staff | Dec 5, 2008

Millions of Web surfers log on to the Internet each day expecting the fastest possible connection to access online sites for shopping, banking or personal leisure. A recent study by a major technology magazine reported that Florida ranks 23rd nationwide in having the fastest Internet Service Providers.
A slow connection can equate to late school work for those attending an online class or less revenue for a Web-based business. It can also mean unceasing frustration for those having to wait minutes for a page to load.
It is no secret that new technology is fusing together everyday life and the online world, forcing many ISP choosers to raise the question: How fast is my Internet connection?
PCMag.com conducted 200,000 tests earlier this year and found that Verizon’s FiOS fiber-optic connections are the fastest and Cablevision’s Optimum Online is the fastest in the United States.
Nevada ranked number one with 781 Kbps, a measure of transfer speed, and New Mexico ranked 50th with a speed of 322 Kbps. Regionally, researchers found that the West has the fastest connections and the South the slowest.
According to the survey results in Florida, with 18.3 million residents and an area of 65,755 square miles, the average speed is 562 Kbps. The average price of broadband is $40, and 37 percent of users said they are satisfied with their service.
“Clearly, metropolitan areas are better cared for by Internet Service Providers, as a rule. More densely populated areas across the country reported better and faster service on our test,” said Jeremy A. Kaplan, executive editor at PC Magazine.
Comcast is a major broadband or cable carrier in Southwest Florida, covering 350,000 households in Lee, Collier and Hendry counties. Cable lines scored faster than DSL connections, which run through telephone lines.
According to PCMag.com, cable connections are 47 percent faster than DSL.
Embarq runs many of the DSL connections and phone services in Southwest Florida. It is more than 175 times faster than regular dial-up, according to Embarq.com, and is available in locations without high speed cable lines.
Connection choices are ultimately left to the customer, where some prefer cable and others prefer DSL or dial-up connections for various reasons. Researchers did not collect information on why customers chose one carrier over another, but they did determine that speed is always a factor in satisfaction.
The study also shows that ISP national average speeds may be very high, but if broken down state-by-state or regionally, those speeds could be drastically lower. Whether or not broadband services are readily available in an area will also change the average speed, researchers said.