Tahoe’s broadband speeds lag far behind California’s average

by Steve Blum • , , , ,

Southlaketahoe2019grades

Broadband infrastructure in South Lake Tahoe, and the Tahoe basin in general, is poor. Based on the latest broadband availability information released by the California Public Utilities Commission, no city or unincorporated community around Lake Tahoe gets an infrastructure grade of better than F+.

In a presentation to the South Lake Tahoe city council, I discussed how the city ended up with an F on its broadband report card. The two primary wireline broadband providers are AT&T and Charter Communications, and their service reports clearly show that, as of 31 December 2017, neither had upgraded their facilities to the Californian average and were unable to deliver even a minimum acceptable speed level to consumers.

Except for a handful of neighborhoods where it still relies on ageing 1990s DSL equipment, AT&T is stuck in the mid–2000s with ADSL facilities that top out at 18 Mbps download and 768 Kbps upload speeds. That compares to the VDSL infrastructure that AT&T uses to offer 100 Mbps down/20 Mbps up service – the minimum acceptable level determined by research conducted by the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership and the Central Coast Broadband Consortium – to more densely populated areas of California, and to the 30 Mbps download/5 Mbps upload benchmark it exceeds (at least as advertised) for the majority of Californians in its service area.

Charter’s infrastructure in South Lake Tahoe supports faster service (at least as advertised) than AT&T, but it still lags far behind Comcast’s claimed DOCSIS 3.1 upgrades. Its 100 Mbps download/5 Mbps upload speeds are slower than what it offers in many other California communities, and doesn’t meet the MBEP/CCBC minimum or the Californian cable average of 400 Mbps download/20 Mbps upload speed. Or the 300 Mbps download capability that the CPUC directed Charter to offer in most of its Californian service area by the end of this year.