Fios Fries Comcast

3:30 PM -- Now somebody's been able to conduct a test I've always dreamed of... fiber to the home versus cable broadband.

Wall Street Journal columnist Walt Mossberg has been lucky enough to have 's Fios fiber to the home (FTTH) service come to his neighborhood (I'm still waiting for it to come to mine). In today's column he wrote about testing the two broadband services (the article, which requires registration to the WSJ.com, is here). Mossberg installed Fios and tested the 15-Mbit/s plan against 's 6-Mbit/s broadband service, which he already had installed.

I've always been curious about those specious cable broadband claims, and Mossberg puts those claims to bed. It turns out that the Fios speeds were far superior, and that Comcast's service didn't operate anywhere near the advertised 6 Mbit/s. Using an independent test site, Mossberg found that "Fios service repeatedly was measured at just over 15 mbps downstream and around 1.8 mbps upstream. The Comcast service clocked in at a mere 2.3 mbps downstream and around 360 kbps upstream."

The Fios service costs $50 per month and the Comcast broadband is $42.95 per month, according to Mossberg.

In other words, if you believe the advertised rates, Verizon's Fios offering is only 2.5 times as fast as cable broadband, but in reality, the fiber service is about 7 times as fast as the Comcast service. And the prices are comparable.

This could be the real edge that fiber services have against cable: They can guarantee higher speeds at competitive prices.

I also think it's time for the cable companies to fess up: Their marketing is misleading, because cable broadband networks are often a shared service, and you rarely get the speeds that are advertised because your neighbor is hogging the bandwidth to download P2P files. Telco connections, on the other hand, often deliver guaranteed bandwidth, because it's a dedicated connection.

— R. Scott Raynovich, US Editor, Light Reading

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