“Up To” Should Be A Red Flag For Consumers

May 24, 2013
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The phrase “up to” should raise red flags for all consumers.

In most cases that phrase is meaningless.

Take for example Amy from Farmington who was told by Comcast to expect “up to” 50 mbps upload speed on her broadband connection.

In this case getting 50 mbps depends on having the best computer equipment and having a totally clean browser. Even then, that “up to” is iffy.

“My connection often seems slow, and I’ve tested it, and the download speed is 35 MPS. By my calculations, this is 30% slower than advertised,” Amy wrote CtWatchdog.

Amy contacted Comcast and she said she was told that she was receiving slower speeds because she was using her Wi-Fi instead of a direct Ethernet connection to the router.

“I was told by the technical support representative that the “up to 50 MPS” advertised speed applies only if the customer is connecting to the internet via an Ethernet cable – but not if the customer is connecting through a wireless router, including the one Comcast itself supplies and rents to customers (which I use),” Amy wrote me.

Frankly that is a lot of nonsense.

While older routers are unable to process speeds as well as Ethernet cables, there should be no such issue with modern routers.

I ran several tests using my Charter high speed service (up to 100 mgps) checking both the speeds using Ethernet and using Wi-Fi.

I ran the tests using www.speedtest.net.

Using Wi-Fi I was able to achieve speeds up to 99.4 mgps.

The best I was able to achieve using my Ethernet connection was 99.5 mgps.

But speedtest.net is not always accurate. Minutes before I hit 99.4 mgps on the Wi-Fi I only reached 44 mgps.

And using the Ethernet cable I had readings as low as 1.7 mgps.

“There are many factors that can impact Internet speeds, from a customer’s computer and software to their web browser,” says Comcast spokeswoman Laura Brubaker Crisco.

“We offer a support page that is designed to help our customers get the most out of their XFINITY Internet service –www.customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/internet/getting-the-most-from-your-xfinity-internet-service/ .”

“We also offer EasySolve software for free that troubleshoots the problem (customers can download it from the site referenced above). In some instances, a customer will assume that it is a problem with their Internet provider, but in the end trace it back to their equipment, such as this case: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2036299/use-speedtest-to-help-diagnose-internet-problems.html

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