Are university ISPs faster than FiOS?

I am confused.

Everybody is singing praises of FiOS these days… however, at my university, I just did a test, and it shows a 35,000 Kbps download speed. That’s 35 Mbps, right? Now Verizon FiOS speeds are only 10 Mbps, 20 Mbps etc etc… how can that be? How can FiOS be slower? Are the university ISP’s always faster than residential lines?

Yet stranger is the fact that, I distinctly remember, my Charter cable at my older apartment (part of the rent, ethernet LAN) clocked 40,000 Kbps one night. What’s going on?

When I looked at Charter’s website, it says its high speed (max) Internet goes up to 16 Mbps (16,000 kbps). Then how on earth did it clock 40,000 that night? I also used to download Linux distros at 3000 KBps (24,000 Kbps) there.

Thirdly, I understand that, since the US is so big, it is hard to run cable in rural / wild areas and so the average Internet speed is lower here compared to that in Europe and Japan – which are much smaller and hence much easier to manage. America is huge with a lot of diversity and therefore bringing the national average to the top is next to impossible.

However, I hear that even the fastest Internet connection in America is not as fast as the fastest ones in Europe/ Japan? I don’t believe it is true – it doesn’t make any sense! America started commercial Internet – it all began here! Is it true that European countries have faster Internet? If yes, what’s the reason for this? I come from a place where the Internet was always slow, and to me the Internet in America appeared to be from out of this world – but now I hear it is not the best?

Why, according to, is the Internet in such remote countries like Romania, Lithuania and Latvia soooo fast?

From what I feel, my conclusions are
(1) University ISPs are for some reason always much faster than what is available for commercial / residential consumption
(2) American Internet connections are amongst the best in the world, it’s just that some states are lagging behind because of geographical/ other reasons, and also because the country is so big and the population much larger compared to those tiny European countries or Japan, and therefore the national average is low
(3) We should take newspaper/ article headlines with a pinch of salt. A headline saying “American Internet behind that of other nations” would make you feel like we are the worst in the world, but when you read the article you realize we are still amongst top 10 out of 200 countries in the world. Stupid newspaper headlines. What are they thinking?
(4) People are often naïve and easily misled. Someone at this Website writes, “The whole of America is put to shame when you consider its fastest connection in Rhode Island strolls in at a very pedestrian 5 megabits” – how much more naïve can you get? This person does not realize that 5 is the AVERAGE and not the fastest. You can get a 50 Mbps download connection from Verizon FiOS any day. And did I mention my university’s download speed of 35 Mbps?

Thoughts/ remarks?


2 thoughts on “Are university ISPs faster than FiOS?

  1. Yes, to my shame I failed to insert the word average between fastest and connection. However, the context of the paragraph is talking about average speeds and the source article that it is referenced from is about average speeds.

    There’s also a certain naivety in stating you can get Verizon FiOS at 50 Mbps – not everywhere you can’t, hence the 5 Mbps average speed.

    A fastest speed of 40 Gbps is something to crow about, as is an average speed of 61 Mbps in Japan.

    And those are at 2007 prices!

  2. Hi 🙂
    Indeed the fastest speed of 40 Gbps is mind-blowing, and something I don’t fully understand. As far as Japan goes though, I don’t really think we have much to be ashamed of – we know the kinds of natural problems we face here. Besides, now that we are aware of the situation and the Internet is spreading the word, and also since the ‘rebuilding of the Internet’ is being thought about (by AT&T I believe), I am sure we’ll get there too 🙂

    One possible reason is perhaps that America started commercial Internet a long time ago and also that the country is so big, and these two reasons result in the Internet backbone(s) being cluttered/ misconfigured a bit. While the other, smaller countries started late and yet planned better and that’s the reason why their average Internet is faster. And the small size of those countries doesn’t work against them either.

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