70% of rural broadband subscribers receiving service below 4 Mbps target

Calix, Inc. on Thursday released excerpts for its latest U.S. Rural Broadband Report, based on Internet traffic information drawn from over 50 U.S. communications service provider networks from the first quarter (January through March) of 2012.

Calix, Inc. on Thursday released excerpts for its latest U.S. Rural Broadband Report, based on Internet traffic information drawn from over 50 U.S. communications service provider networks from the first quarter (January through March) of 2012. The report found that more than 70% of rural broadband subscribers are receiving service below the 4 Mbps downstream target of the Connect America Fund (CAF), while over 90% are experiencing upstream speeds lower than the CAF’s target of 1 Mbps.


As was seen in the Q4 edition of the report, video streaming continued to dominate rural broadband networks in Q1, accounting for 64% of downstream Internet traffic, which was fairly consistent quarter-over-quarter. Upstream video streaming traffic, however, grew significantly – increasing over 40% to account for nearly 19% of all Q1 upstream Internet traffic, according to Calix (Petaluma, Calif., USA). In addition, video streaming made a bigger impact in all-fiber networks than other networks in the quarter, generating 70% of the downstream traffic in those networks.


The report also found that Microsoft Bing climbed among search engine users with 13% of the internet browsing downstream traffic in the quarter, while Yahoo! Usage declined 2.2%.


Application use varied across different regions of the U.S. in Q1: In the West, video streaming traffic was 15% above the U.S. upstream average, says Calix. Social media remains strong in the Midwest with usage 19% above the U.S. upstream average. Online shopping continued to fare well in the Northeast with usage of 46% above the U.S. upstream average. The Southeast outpaced the rest of the country in file sharing,116% above the U.S. upstream average.


Along with the application-specific findings, the Q1 report provides a new level of insight into the broadband speeds rural Americans are experiencing. The most common peak downstream broadband rate consumed was between 1.5 to 3 Mbps during the quarter. 60% of rural broadband subscribers in Q1 received a maximum downstream broadband speed of 3 Mbps or less – a fraction of the typical peak broadband speeds currently seen in most urban U.S. areas, according to Calix.


However, the report also found in some areas of rural America with access to the high-end broadband services, subscribers enjoyed some of the fastest broadband speeds in the country – peaking at over 100 Mbps in some communities, and reaching up to 1 Gbps in the most advanced areas.


“As we continue to fine tune the Calix Rural Broadband Report, we are finding more powerful ways to help our service provider customers plan, manage, and troubleshoot their networks,” said Miguel Alonso, Calix vice president of software products.