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DSL subscribers are more likely to be cheated on internet speeds, FCC says

DSL subscribers are more likely to be cheated on internet speeds, FCC says

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FCC chairman Tom Wheeler.
FCC chairman Tom Wheeler.
FCC / Flickr

A new report from the Federal Communications Commission says consumers aren't always getting the broadband speeds internet service providers are advertising. If you're a DSL customer, that's a bad thing — but if you get your internet another way, you might be happy about it.

Digital subscriber line or DSL customers are getting actual download speeds that are 91 percent of speeds they pay for during peak hours, the FCC says, while cable, fiber, and satellite customers are getting speeds that are actually faster than advertised.

Cable, fiber, and satellite connections were faster than advertised

Cable customers' speeds were 102 percent of the advertised speed, fiber customers' speeds were 113 percent of the advertised speed, and satellite connections were a whopping 138 percent of the advertised speed. The numbers come from surveys conducted for the agency's annual "Measuring Broadband America" report.

DSL customers may have slower connections because speed depends on the length of the copper wire that connects a customer's house to a provider terminal.

Actual connection speeds are just over the advertised speeds 97 percent of the time on average, the FCC says. But "consumers deserve to get what they pay for," chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement. "While it's encouraging to see that in the past these reports have encouraged providers to improve their services, I'm concerned that some providers are failing to deliver consistent speeds to consumers that are commensurate to their advertised speeds."

The agency will be sending warning letters to CEOs of companies that do not deliver on advertised speeds, he said.