RICHMOND, Va. -- When it comes to internet speed, the faster the better. To stream, download, upload movies and games the megabits per second (MBPS) plays a major part.
As Robert Knapp puts it, “If I didn't have my Netflix, I think I might go insane,” as he laughs.
The quicker that rate is, the better quality of picture, and less buffering. But all this comes at a price and sometimes you might not be getting what you think you're paying for.
“During the day you get these awesome speeds, and at night when everybody has come home, everything starts to slow down,” says Jeremy Jackson.
Jackson lives in Henrico and uses Comcast. He's set up for Blast Service which gives him a download speed of up to 50 MBPS, and uploads at 10 MBPS. But free online speed tests show that sometimes those speeds are a lot slower.
“Sometimes at night we have to unplug and restart the modem to get it to reconnect again. I've called Comcast about it and they said that sometimes you just have to unplug it. They don`t give you a rhyme or reason why,” according to Jackson.
One reason could be Jackson`s modem which he said is two years old. The other could be Comcast's technology. Comcast shares lines, so depending on the time of day, and how far you are away from their server, your speed may fluctuate. That is why providers carefully phrase their service by using the key words, “up to.”
“It`s very frustrating because I`m paying up to a hundred dollars a month for a service and I`m not getting what I`m supposed to be getting,” says Jackson.
“They say for the most accurate results make sure your computer is wired directly to your router. Mine is,” said Robert Knapp as he prepares for a speed test on his desktop. Knapp lives in the Museum District. He uses Verizon FiOS, a company that says their fiber optic lines give customers a direct connection and identical download and upload speeds.
“Really? That's not what this is implying,” said Knapp after performing a test. He should be getting 75 MBPS for what he`s paying. However, after using several speed tests, including Verizon`s very own, Knapp topped out just above 50 MBPS.
“I was under the impression that fiber optic networks weren`t supposed to fluctuate with traffic. I thought that was one of the benefits,” said Knapp.
Verizon FiOS agrees. “That`s not something that anyone who has our FiOS service or for that matter our high speed internet service should experience,” said John Bonomo, a Verizon spokesperson.
Bonomo said that if you don`t find your speed to be consistent, you should contact the company.
“We can do some tests that are remote, but then if we determine that`s not correct and it does require a technician visit then that`s something we`ll do as well," said Bonomo.
After taping our interview with Jeremy Jackson he has since received a new modem. Comcast has even upgraded their system in Jackson`s neighborhood which he said now gives him three times more speed.
Experts say consumers should conducted a speed test to find out if you`re getting your money's worth, then contact your cable provider.