PC Mag each year runs a survey of the fastest Internet Service Providers, and in this year’s version, out this week, the champ is once again Verizon Fios.
Verizon’s fiber-optic service was once again named the fastest major ISP in the United States, although one regional service provider managed to beat it out overall.
“Verizon’s fiber-to-the-home Fios service has won numerous PCMag Readers’ Choice awards over the years, in large part because of the speeds it provides,” the magazine said. “It’s been our pick for Fastest ISP nine times in the last decade, and this year, the main difference is that major cable providers are edging closer to the kind of speed only Fios once seemed capable of offering.”
In terms of ranking by Speed in Megabits per second for download/upload, Verizon Fios ranked first with 169.8, with Comcast second with 139.6 and Sparklight (formerly known as Cable One) third with 124.4. They were followed by RCN, Cox, AT&T Fiber, AT&T Internet, Wave Broadband, Optimum and Spectrum.
Fios had been first in 2020 as well, and its average speed actually got slower, per PCMag. The ISP speeds change over time due to changing equipment, as well as changes in the amount of demand.
“In general, you probably won’t be too upset with the speeds you receive from any of the above companies,” the magazine said. “But the bigger the company (and the fewer competitors it has), the less likely it is to keep speed increases coming. (Yet it’ll probably keep those price increases coming!) That’s why we always recommend that you consider smaller ISPs, if you have the option—in particular, those doing fiber-optic installs.”
Empire Access, based in New York State, won the crown for Fastest ISP in the United States.
“This little company in New York State, with some reach into northern Pennsylvania, has been around for 125 years. Now Empire Access also claims the title of the fastest ISP in the US. We’ve seen single-municipality networks crank out the speed in the past, but in 2021 they all fell to this small company with speeds so epic, even Google can’t keep up.”
Empire Access posted a speed of 366.2, beating out Google Fiber with 300.3. Iowa’s Cedar Falls Utilities, which was 2020’s top overall ISP, fell from 1,350.4 to 213.4, which is still faster than the fastest national providers.
The report also named the fastest ISPs in other categories. SpaceX Starlink was first with a score of 70.8, followed by Viasat with 16.6.
“It’s unlikely anyone is going to drop an existing fixed-wired ISP for satellite service of any kind. But for the people out there waiting for Starlink to go mainstream, this score is another log to throw on the fire of hope that it could potentially solve digital-divide issues,” PCMag said.
In terms of states, Florida was named the fastest in terms of speed, followed by Maryland and Georgia. As for cities, Stone Mountain, Ga., was named the city in the U.S. with the fastest Internet, with Fort Lauderdale and Naples, Florida, second and third.
As for countries, PC Mag named Macau and Hong Kong the fastest places in the world for Internet.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.