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Time is Money: PCMag.com Names the Fastest ISPs in America


Nevada, Virginia and Pennsylvania Have the Fastest Internet Service—
In a world where time equals money, slow Internet connections have real-life business and quality-of-life implications. Fiber optic connections have proven themselves the fastest way online, but they're still rare—and expensive. Which Internet service providers (ISPs) offer the fastest broadband? And in which state? After conducting over 200,000 individual tests as part of its third annual study, PCMag.com found that Verizon's FiOS fiber-optic connections are indeed the fastest overall service, and Cablevision's Optimum Online proved itself the fastest cable ISP in the United States. Likewise, Nevada, Virginia, and Pennsylvania are home to the fastest surf speeds—the full state ranking is below. PCMag.com’s “Best ISPs in America” list hits PCMag.com on December 2.

To uncover the nation’s best ISPs, PCMag utilized the custom-designed SurfSpeed application (a utility that grabs pages from several popular Web sites to measure actual Internet surfing speed) and pored through data from over 17,000 profiles (that is, unique IP addresses).

Cable vs. DSL: DSL and cable lines were for a time synonymous in people’s minds, but cable has clearly taken off in terms of sheer speed. Cable connections are 47 percent faster than DSLs. Cablevision’s Optimum Online tops the list, with an average nationwide SurfSpeed of 839 Kbps. And 61 percent of users declared themselves satisfied with the service. Even the slowest cable service provider (Earthlink, averaging 565 Kbps) was faster than some DSL providers, from CenturyTel at 520 Kbps down to Alltell’s measly 357. FrontierNet is the fastest DSL provider in the nation, averaging SufSpeeds of 724 Kbps. And, perhaps most importantly, just 27 percent of DSL users reported themselves satisfied.

State by State: Analyzing regions offers insight and challenges, but the region with the fastest Internet service—the West—is just 14 Kbps faster than the slowest, the South at 551 Kbps. The difference between states, on the other hand, is shocking, with No. 1 Nevada offering residents Internet more than twice as fast as bottom-ranked New Mexico.

The PCMag Fastest ISPs in America 2008 - State Ranking:

Ranking State SurfSpeed (Kbps)
1 Nevada 781
2 Virginia 765
3 Pennsylvania 747
4 New Jersey 727
5 Connecticut 716
6 New York 714
7 Nebraska 707
8 Oklahoma 695
9 Massachusetts 695
10 Maryland 691
11 Illinois 681
12 Georgia 679
13 California 666
14 Oregon 665
15 Delaware 646
16 Washington 625
17 New Hampshire 615
18 Minnesota 609
19 Texas 605
20 Ohio 600
21 North Dakota 593
22 Colorado 564
23 Florida 562
24 South Dakota 560
25 Alabama 556
26 Kentucky 547
27 Michigan 544
28 Missouri 539
29 North Carolina 534
30 Kansas 528
31 Indiana 524
32 Utah 517
33 Rhode Island 516
34 Arizona 505
35 Tennessee 474
36 Louisiana 470
37 Idaho 461
38 South Carolina 457
39 Montana 455
40 Maine 427
41 West Virginia 417
42 Mississippi 413
43 Arkansas 405
44 Arizona 402
45 Wisconsin 402
46 Iowa 398
47 Vermont 391
48 Wyoming 379
49 Hawaii 378
50 New Mexico 322
National avg 557

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