The speed of your broadband (always-on, high-capacity, wide-bandwidth) Internet connection has never been more important. It is the pipe that connects your computer, tablet, handheld, entertainment system, and home automation tools to the outside world and to each other.
Your connection should handle content that is important for work, play, and staying in touch. It has to support your modern day communication, from simple text to voice calls and video conferencing. And don’t forget gaming: without the Internet, your gaming would just be lonely, single-player action.
Internet service providers (ISPs), companies that bring high-speed broadband connections to your doorstep, have increased speeds over the years. The FCC redefined broadband in 2015 to mean an always-on connection with a minimum download speed of 25 Mbps and an upload speed of 3 Mbps (below 4 Mbps and above 1 Mbps).
Some want the FCC to back the definition to 100 Mbps. Even the US Government Accountability Office, the monitoring body, says these numbers need to be updated. In the past, senators have pushed back on it, happy to see low speeds qualify as broadband – mostly because it plagues so many homes in the country that don’t have internet up to the minimum standard.
Competition will help even more. Local ISPs (and unique players like Google and Starlink) have prompted some big-name companies like Comcast to increase speed while keeping costs affordable. There are now entire cities that claim gigabit Internet status—ISPs in those places, often municipal-owned or a utility company, offer connections of 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) or higher. That’s 1,000 times better than the 1 Mbps speed, and 40 times the FCC defined broadband. Going to 100Mbps won’t be much of a stretch.
ISPs are increasing mostly through fiber-optic lines, as well as increasing speeds through cable connections. In fact, with the DOCSIS standard that most cable companies use on their equipment, it’s entirely possible to drop speeds as low as 10Gbps. And that momentum is picking up in some places, but expect to pay for it.
Still, the average speed in the US is not even close to the average seen in many other countries. We usually fall far behind.
Also, just because a big name ISP or even a small local provider says you’re getting a certain level of throughput, can you trust that you’re getting what you pay for? Used to be?
Each year, PCMag examines the fastest ISPs in the US and Canada with data provided by our readers. To measure this, we use our own PCMag Speed Test, Enter your connection to test now-click go, Visit as many times as you want. Share this with friends. the more the merrier. (Turn off your VPN and any streaming activity for the most accurate results.)
We’ll use that data to compare and contrast not only download speeds, but also upload speeds in a formula we call the PCMag Internet Speed Index: a quantitative number that directly pits ISPs against ISPs. We will see this nationwide, state by state, and in some cases even at the local level. Either way, should your ISP get enough tests, we’ll see where it stands.
The data we collect on your connection quality also helps us determine the best gaming ISP.
so what are you waiting for? Take the PCMag Speed Test!Take the PCMag Speed Test! Get the information you need, and provide us with the data to help your fellow PCMag readers in the future.