NetForecast Releases 2022 Residential Latency Benchmark Report

Last Mile Latency Remains at the Core of Poor Internet Service 

The internet does not deliver the same user experience everywhere across the US, even in “high tech” cities—and latency in the last mile is the major contributor to user frustration. 

Charlottesville, VA – October 18, 2023: NetForecast, the independent provider of internet quality monitoring, is pleased to announce the publication of its latest in-depth US Internet Latency Benchmark Report. This scrupulously researched report documents the results of continuous internet latency measurements within and between 11 major US cities for the six largest US Internet Service Providers (ISPs) for all of 2022.

The research proves that latency varies significantly, even in major “high tech” cities—and surprisingly, that latency problems leading to user frustration lie in the last mile, not the middle mile paths between cities. This means that simply locating content near users will not guarantee a good user experience. Furthermore, the report suggests that users who pay more to upgrade to even the fastest megabit per second (Mbps) speeds, are still likely to be frustrated by slowdowns and feel that they are not receiving the full benefit of their investment.

When latency increases significantly from the acclimated norm, applications can become erratic, freeze, or even stop operating. These “poor performance” incidents are clearly visible to a human user or can impact the reliability of automated systems operating on the internet.

Another finding of interest was that although copper infrastructure had the highest frequency of frustrating latency, it had the lowest magnitude of frustration, while fiber had the lowest frequency with the highest magnitude of frustration. This stands to reason, given that under normal conditions the fiber user experience is very quick, so when a long latency event occurs, users are more likely to notice.

“The bigger the promise of speed coming from an internet service provider, the deeper the disappointment will be when users hit problems.” explains NetForecast’s Founder Peter Sevcik. “Internet service providers should constantly work to reduce latency in their networks. Above 30Mbps the user experience levels out, which means that correcting latency issues – more than continuously ramping up bandwidth – will guarantee their users have satisfactory online experiences.”

The report also documents that Verizon delivered by far the best overall ISP performance among the six service providers measured, while CenturyLink delivered the worst. Washington, DC experienced the best overall performance among the 11 cities measured, while Denver experienced the worst.

NetForecast’s QMap™ Internet Latency Benchmark Service builds on over two decades of internet performance testing and analysis. The report is based on tests run every hour of every day to nearby and distant servers, generating more than 40 million latency tests per month.

NetForecast uses Apdex methodology to identify when performance is impaired and to give voice to the user’s abnormal experience. The methodology determines baseline conditions, and then evaluates how measurements deviate from that baseline over time. The consumer subscriber lines on which measurements were taken encompass over 25 percent of US households.

Note: The study methodology for the US Internet Latency Benchmark Report follows latency evaluation best practices described by the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group in a report titled “BITAG Latency Explained. 

About NetForecast
At a time when digital connectivity matters more than ever, NetForecast helps its clients ensure the best possible user experience across an increasingly complex ecosystem of network partners. Headquartered in Charlottesville VA, NetForecast leverages proprietary technologies and industry expertise to measure end-to-end broadband performance in the residential and mobility markets. Our work helps network service providers and their customers detect and resolve network performance issues for improved end-user satisfaction and productivity.

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