Broadband report says Concord’s options are small and not all that impressive

Monitor staff
Published: 1/5/2019 8:00:59 PM

In a finding that will surprise nobody who has purchased internet service, an analysis of broadband in the Capitol City finds there aren’t very many options for most homeowners.

The report was issued by a firm called BroadbandNow based on data from the Federal Communication Commission. Among its conclusions is that the high end of Concord services are slower than state and national high ends.

“The top 10 percent of download speeds in Concord clocked in at 86.16 mbps (megabits per second). This is slower than the state average of 99.87 mbps and slower than the national top speed of 100.01 mbps,” the report said.

BroadbandNow is an advertising-supported firm that lets people rate internet providers, sort of like Yelp for online connectivity, and sells some consulting services. It says the just-released report is based on 2.29 million speed tests of internet service, a type known as IP verified, in New Hampshire and 87,164 in Concord itself.

For residences, the key point in the report is that the main wired-based internet options for homes are cable-modem service from the Comcast brand Xfinity, or DSL from the phone company.

It says 96 percent of the city can be connected to Xfinity and 94 percent to Consolidated Communications, formerly known as Fairpoint. About 6 percent of the city connects to the telephone network through TDS from Hopkinton, which provides DSL over copper lines just as Consolidated does, and also provides much faster service over fiber-optic wires to a smaller portion of the city.

FirstLight, an ISP based at the former Pease Air National Guard Base in Newington that has a data center in Manchester, also offers DSL to a small part of Concord. A number of more expensive business options are also available.

Also available are several cell phone companies that offer relative high-speed data services, and a satellite provider that offers 25 mbps downloads for $60 a month.

In wired service, Xfinity services had the fastest average Concord broadband speed of 56.5 mbps for around $40 a month, it said, compared to just 12.6 via DSL for $32 a month from Consolidated and an average of 49 mbps from TDS, combining its DSL at $30 a month and fiber-optic at $50 a month.

In other findings:

■Although Concord’s high-end download speeds lag state and national figures, the city’s average download speed is actually slightly better than state and national averages.

■Concords average download speeds are faster in summer – May through August – than the rest of the year. It’s not clear why this would be the case.

■In an odd-sounding bit of exactitude, the report claims that “Concord is the 7,687th most connected city” in the nation, based on the percentage of people who have at least two wired-broadband options. This puts Concord in the top quarter of 26,868 cities for which data exists.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313, or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)

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