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Which US Providers Offer the Fastest Internet Speeds?

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Google Fiber and FiOS: The top two high-speed Internet services

In the previous part of this series, we learned about some current as well as planned fiber-based high-speed Internet offerings in the US. These include Google’s (GOOGL) Google Fiber and U-verse with AT&T GigaPower that each have a maximum Internet speed of 1 Gbps (gigabits per second). We also learned about Comcast’s (CMCSA) Gigabit Pro—the new Internet offering with a maximum speed of 2 Gbps.

In this part of the series, we’ll look at what Internet speeds these companies are currently providing their customers.

We’ll use speeds captured by the Netflix USA ISP Speed Index as our basis for comparison. The index tracks speeds that Netflix’s customers get from ISPs (Internet service providers) during primetime viewing hours.

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As we can see in the chart above, Google Fiber had the highest speed among ISPs in March 2015. It was followed by FiOS—Verizon’s (VZ) fiber-based service. According to this index, in March 2015, Comcast had lower speeds than FiOS and Google Fiber. AT&T’s U-verse, meanwhile, had lower speeds than FiOS, Google Fiber, and Comcast.

Comparably slow DSL Internet offerings from telecom companies

The traditional DSL (digital subscriber line) offerings from Verizon and AT&T were much slower than fiber-based services. Fiber is a much more efficient transmission medium than copper. These DSL offerings were also much slower than the speeds delivered by cable companies during the month. Cable companies are capable of providing much higher Internet speeds than those available using traditional DSL Internet connections.

If you want diversified exposure to Comcast—the largest US cable company—you can invest in the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLY). This ETF held ~6.2% in the company on March 31, 2015. For more diversified exposure to the cable provider, you could consider investing in the iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV). This ETF held ~0.8% in Comcast on the same date.

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