Photo via Shutterstock
Photo via Shutterstock

Does it take forever to load a webpage, or do you find that watching Netflix can be a painful experience?

If your answer is “yes,” you aren’t alone.

The vast majority of people living in the U.S. are experiencing slower speeds than what their Internet providers are advertising, according to a WSJ report that relies on tens of millions of speed tests from Seattle-based Ookla and its online speed test,

By far, the worst offender on the list is Clear Wireless, the Bellevue broadband wireless operator started by telecommunications pioneer Craig McCaw.

Clear’s service is no longer operating following its acquisition by Sprint, but during these tests, Ookla found that Clear’s speeds were -41 percent below what they promised, according to the report. The second-slowest U.S. provider was Arkansas-based Windstream Communications, which fell 30 percent below expectations. The most accurate provider on the list was South Dakota-based Midcontinent Communications, which was +8 percent above their advertised speeds.

Other major providers from the list include:

  • Verizon FIOS: +2 percent
  • Comcast: -2 percent
  • Time Warner Cable: -1 percent
  • AT&T U-verse: -8 percent
  • CenturyLink: -17 percent

No wonder broadband is such a hot topic if these Internet service providers are delivering speeds far below what they are claiming to provide.

Based on the data, it could be worse, especially if you live in Idaho. Three cities in the state, Idaho Falls, Pocatello and Twin Falls are all experiencing way slower speeds than advertised at -50 percent, -46 percent and -41 percent, respectively. Nationwide, some of the best cities to live in terms of Internet access includes Sierra Vista, Az., which is +8 percent; and Clearwater, Fla., which is +6 percent.

In Washington, three cities are provided speeds as advertised in Olympia, Lynnwood and Yakima. Pullman is the furthest off, at -25 percent and Seattle falls just below expectations at -14 percent.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


  • Dave McLauchlan

    Adding insult to injury here is that the broadband providers will tell you outright that the sluggishness you’re experiencing “isn’t the case”. We have CenturyLink at our place of business, and regularly measure bandwidth in/out at 50-60% of what we’re paying for. However, call them up and they’ll refer you to the “CenturyLink dedicated speedtest site” which miraculously always meters them at _exactly_ the throughput you’re paying for. Amazing!

    • marc_h

      Yeah, we have Century Link and it blows. I’m wanting to switch but not sure who’s better on Queen Anne.

  • Brandon McFerrin

    My only decent option for broadband is AT&T 1.5 mbps dsl It’s so slow, but yet they still don’t give me that speed. More like 1.2 on a good day. Laugh if you want, but when you have such low speeds already, anything less hurts.

  • Kary

    How can there be a percentage number for Comcast? They always advertise speeds “up to” X. Is there any cable based ISP that doesn’t?

  • dltooley

    This is not the only contractual reality problem CenturyLink has and their customer service appears to be the model for too big to fail corporate America.

Job Listings on GeekWork