Clocking Wilson’s Web speeds: Greenlight, Spectrum lead while CenturyLink lags

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While many rural areas of the country are struggling with access to high-speed internet, a recent report released by BroadbandNow paints a different picture for Wilson.

“Wilson, and our larger Triangle area footprint, received gigabit speeds in the very first set of market launches deployed by Charter in December 2017,” according to statement from Scott Pryzwansky, the senior director of communications for Charter and Spectrum. “...Gigabit connections are now available to over 99 percent of our company footprint.”

BroadbandNow has a breakdown of all the internet service providers in Wilson — available at tinyurl.com/yyu8sqs8 — based off data from the Federal Communications Commission and private information like user-conducted speed tests. In that data, Greenlight Community Broadband has the fastest speeds at 1,000 megabits per second while Spectrum’s top speed is 300 mbps.

“On BroadbandNow’s website, Greenlight has the lowest cost of entry, the highest top-end speeds and the highest customer satisfaction rating,” said Greenlight General Manager Will Aycock. “That is really the takeaway from it.”

By contrast, the majority of CenturyLink’s Wilson network is DSL with the fastest speed at 100 mbps, but the customers with fiber or copper connections available can get up to 1,000 mbps.

“CenturyLink will continue to work closely with communities, local leaders and policymakers on creative public-private partnerships that bring high-speed internet services to more American homes and businesses,” CenturyLink Corporate Communications Director Frank Tutalo said in a statement. “These creative solutions can bring the technologies communities need and the expertise to run a network, as well as the ability to plan for future upgrades in a secure, dynamic environment where technology changes rapidly, while limiting the financial risk to citizens.”

According to BroadbandNow, 1.74 percent of the Wilson area has one or no choices of internet providers while 18 percent have two wired providers.

“Another 80 percent are estimated to have access to three wired providers, which is unusual,” said Jameson Zimmer with BroadbandNow.

An unsolicited report sent by BroadbandNow to The Wilson Times breaks down some of the information a bit more.

“The Spectrum speed of 117.58 mbps and Greenlight speed of 69.46 mbps is an average of the fastest 10 percent of all speed tests for that provider in Wilson over the last 12 months,” said Duane Anderson with BroadbandNow. “It’s meant to be indicative of the typical fastest speeds that a consumer can get from that provider.”

The report lists Spectrum’s average download speed of 44.6 mbps, Greenlight’s at 32.6 mbps and CenturyLink at 13.1 mbps based on 21,127 IP verified speed tests in Wilson in the last year.

“One of the problems with raw speed data is that most people actually running speed tests do so when they are having an issue,” said Tyler Cooper with BroadbandNow. “They don’t often do them when things are going great, so it is easy to see those download speeds take a nose dive.”

According to BroadbandNow’s public report online, economic development has a strong correlation to internet service access and performance in education. To that end, 15,858 speed tests reportedly were conducted in the last year within two miles of Barton College and revealed an average of 38.08 mbps, “considerably above the minimum connection speed needed for viewing video and interfacing with hosted or communication platforms.”

Local providers said while infrastructure does live up to gigabit promises — that proves attractive to companies looking to expand or relocate — many residential customers opt for cheaper speeds to save money.

“In December 2017, we launched a 1 gbps connection to the customer’s home,” said Pryzwansky. “Our all-digital network and DOCSIS technology have laid the foundation for us to be able to offer 10-gigabit symmetrical speeds in the near future without having to replace our network.”

BroadbandNow officials said they hope to increase transparency and public awareness to internet access issues across the country.

“BroadbandNow’s goal in publishing these reports is to encourage market competition among (internet service providers) and get public attention to our research efforts,” said Zimmer.

Did you know?

With fewer than 50,000 people, Wilson ranks 154th in terms of the most connected cities in the state and 10,875th in the country.