RALEIGH – Your eyes are not deceiving you as your web browser freezes or buffering interrupts the program you are streaming. The internet is slowing down.
Demand for internet services from streaming to telecommuting as the coronavirus continues to spread is driving down internet speeds by a significant margin in Raleigh, Fayetteville, Charlotte and Winston-Salem, according to a new broadband analysis site.
However, access in Durham and Greensboro remains “in range” of previous measurements, the report notes.
Raleigh, Charlotte and Fayetteville are three of only 14 cities where speeds were found to have dropped more than 20 percent, BroadbandNow says.
The average speed in Wilmington dropped 6 percent.
BroadbandNow focuses on helping consumers find Internet Service Providers.
Demand is certainly growing. Verizon, for example, reported a 20 percent jump in traffic last week. AT&T told CNN that its network is “performing quite well,” but also said it is seeing some stress as more people work from home.
Average speed in Raleigh fell to 43 megabits per second from a range of 54-69 mbps.
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In Durham speeds remain “in range” at nearly 40 mbps vs the previous average of 38.7 to 81 mbps.
Both cities have a wide range of providers, including AT&T, Spectrum, Frontier, CenturyLink and Google Fiber although not all provide coverage across the Triangle.
[Other city speeds are included in charts that are part of this story.]
Meeting demand claim by providers is “largely true”
In tests spread across the nation’s largest 200 cities through March 21, speeds in 84 of those have declined, says BroadbandNow. The report’s author, Tyler Cooper, notes that many providers have ramped up to meet anticipated demand triggered by the virus.
“In response to the shifting dynamic we are currently experiencing, providers have suspended data caps, increased base-level speeds, and extended free access to low-income internet plans and public hotspot programs in order to ensure as many Americans as possible can remain online during this period,” he says.
“Many major ISPs have publically reassured users that they are more than able to keep up with the increased demand, and while looks to be largely true across the most populous areas of the U.S., it remains to be seen if rural communities reliant on legacy technologies such as DSL will continue to enjoy the same relative stability we have seen over the past week.”
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The FCC has requested that service providers take steps to “keep America connected.”
The agency defines broadband access as being at an average download speed of 25 megabits per second.
All the North Carolina cities included in the report had on average speeds well above that FCC minimum.
“Data was taken from the past 11 calendar weeks, and we calculated median download speeds and ranges for every city listed based on this information,” the site notes.
Read the full report online.
Charts from the report follow:
Published at Wed, 25 Mar 2020 17:20:16 +0000