Source: FindBroadband

Ah, Brooklyn. The metropolitan culture of New York City paired with the Internet connectivity of a rural area. At least, that’s how it can feel when you move here from a less crowded city. Out in the underserved blocks of Bushwick and Williamsburg, the tantalizing promise of fiber feels more like a carrot on a stick than an infrastructure plan. (Only 62% have home fiber access, as of this writing).

And it’s no surprise — census block maps of overlapping Internet coverage in the area confirm that most residents only have access to three or four providers. Factor in shady landlords and wiring issues, and it looks more like one or two “options.”

Close-ups of this data map show that Internet infrastructure varies from block to block. If you’ve ever been in the position of sitting around waiting for FiOS while your neighbors have had it for years, you know how frustrating this disparity can be:

Source: FindBroadband

This data shows that farther-flung lower-income neighborhoods like Bushwick are typically given fewer options for Internet. This is presumably since it’s in a company’s interest to concentrate on more affluent areas, where customers are more likely to consistently pay higher monthly prices.

Still, we wanted to know — coverage and availability aside, what Internet speeds do our neighbors actually get?

Surprisingly, information about speed and availability in Brooklyn neighborhood is hard to come by. After all, it’s in the company’s’ interest to keep people in the dark about how advertised speeds compare to actual performance. So, we decided to dig into the speed test data from the Brooklyn area and get some answers. Rather than showing the “promised” speeds from Internet providers, these results show the real-world performance people actually get in 2017.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of the neighborhoods that performed well were also neighborhoods that have large and active tech scenes, or serve as popular home bases for those populations.

While it’s impossible to draw sweeping conclusions from speed test data, fluctuations in speed varying from 100 Mbps all the way up to the gigabit range suggest that some neighborhoods have wide access to fiber, while others do not. (Incidentally, FiOS is currently fighting a lawsuit with the city for allegedly failing to honor their side of a universal coverage agreement.)

Here are the 10 fastest internet speeds in Brooklyn by neighborhood.

Top 10 Fastest Internet Speeds in Brooklyn by Neighborhood

#1: Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Brooklyn Navy Yard

Density of Internet Provider competition in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill

90th Percentile Average speed: 215.36 Mbps
Fastest Recorded Speed: 800.63 Mbps

Tech Presence: Fort Greene’s roost at the top of this list is no surprise, given the unusual density of startups and tech companies in the area. According to a map from Digital NYC, Fort Greene has more tech startups than most other Brooklyn neighborhoods put together. Only Dumbo beats them out in terms of number of tech offices, although we were surprised to see Dumbo’s zip code down at #5 when it comes to download speed performance.

Co-Working Spaces:

Internet Providers:

  • Charter Spectrum
  • Verizon
  • Verizon Fios
  • Xchange Telecom
  • Optimum

#2: Greenpoint

Density of Internet provider competition in Greenpoint

90th Percentile Average speed: 211.6 Mbps
Fastest Recorded Speed: 544.84 Mbps

Tech Presence: Kickstarter and Urban-X are the biggest names in Greenpoint, but the laid-back vibe and somewhat cheaper (relative to Manhattan) cost of living has brought a thriving tech community here. Even if the biggest tech offices aren’t based here, much of the young creative class that drives them calls Greenpoint home.

Co-Working Spaces:

Internet Providers:

  • Charter Spectrum
  • Verizon
  • Verizon Fios
  • Windstream

#3: Windsor Terrace

Density of Internet Service competition in Windsor Terrace.

90th Percentile Average speed: 207.14 Mbps
Fastest Recorded Speed: 803.18 Mbps

Tech Presence: This neighborhood isn’t known for the tech scene, but the unusually high speed test results are likely a sign of wide access to Fios and a high density of wealthy residents able to afford faster service.

Internet Providers:

  • Charter Spectrum
  • Fairpoint Communications
  • Verizon
  • Verizon Fios
  • Windstream

#4: Park Slope

Density of Internet Service competition in Park Slope.

90th Percentile Average speed: 206.86 Mbps
Fastest Recorded Speed: 803.18 Mbps

Tech Presence: Park Slope also has a subdued tech presence, although much like Greenpoint it’s a popular place for young professionals working at local startups to live. It’s a popular pick for young professionals and new parents who commute into the city or Dumbo.

Internet Providers:

  • Charter Spectrum
  • Verizon
  • Verizon Fios
  • Windstream
  • Fairpoint Communications
  • Optimum
  • RCN

#5: Dumbo, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, and Vinegar Hill

Density of Internet Service competition in Dumbo and surrounding areas.

90th Percentile Average speed: 205.47 Mbps
Fastest Recorded Speed: 591.46 Mbps

Tech Presence: Dumbo is the undisputed beating heart of Brooklyn’s tech scene, featuring agencies like HUGE and successful startups like Etsy. Neighboring blocks in the same zip code share in the benefits. The big draw here during the original tech boom was access to cheap warehouse spaces in quick proximity to Manhattan. The exposed-brick open-office aesthetic is no less trendy in 2017, and Dumbo is crammed with them. The density of high-performance business connections is likely the driving force behind the high download speed readings in this area.

Co-Working Spaces:

Internet Providers:

  • Charter Spectrum
  • Verizon
  • Verizon Fios
  • Xchange Telecom
  • Windstream
  • RCN
  • Fairpoint Communications

#6: Boerum Hill

Density of Internet Service competition in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.

90th Percentile Average Speed: 205.23 Mbps
Fastest Recorded Speed: 591.46 Mbps

Tech Presence: This enclave is mostly known for expensive brownstones and proximity to Manhattan, and the speed test readings suggest that residents here are willing to pay well for strong residential connections. For those who can’t afford the brownstones, Boerum Hill is home to one of the “Common” co-living startup spaces. (Think luxury dorms for adult tech workers.)

Internet Providers:

  • Charter Spectrum
  • Optimum
  • Verizon
  • Verizon Fios
  • Xchange Telecom
  • Windstream
  • RCN
  • Fairpoint Communications

#7: Gowanus

Density of Internet Service in Gowanus, Brooklyn

90th Percentile Average speed: 205.05 Mbps
Fastest Recorded Speed: 478.51 Mbps

Tech Presence: Gowanus is home to a handful of smaller startups, including Gimlet Media, who virtually every techie in America has encountered thanks to their well-liked podcast “Startup.” (Worth a listen for anyone with entrepreneurial tendencies. Their feature on American Apparel is particularly interesting.)

Internet Providers:

  • Charter Spectrum
  • Verizon
  • Verizon Fios
  • Windstream
  • RCN
  • Fairpoint Communications
  • Optimum

#8: Bay Ridge & Fort hamilton

Density of Internet Service competition in Bay Ridge and Fort Hamilton

90th Percentile Average speed: 176.67 Mbps
Fastest Recorded Speed: 437.28 Mbps

Tech Presence: The Bay Ridge area is something of a dead zone when it comes to tech and startups. But the residents apparently value fast connections, and are willing to pay for them.

Internet Providers:

  • Charter Spectrum
  • Optimum
  • Verizon
  • Verizon Fios
  • Windstream

#9: Williamsburg

Density of Internet provider competition in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

90th Percentile Average speed: 155.05
Fastest Recorded Speed: Mbps

Tech Presence: Williamsburg was one of Brooklyn’s original targets for gentrification, and home to tech and media giants like Vice that skew young. Other names in the area are less recognizable, but no less successful. Livestream is based in the area, as well as Hater, the dating app that connects people based on mutual dislikes.

Co-Working Spaces:

Internet Providers:

  • Verizon
  • Verizon Fios
  • Xchange Telecom
  • Optimum
  • Windstream
  • Time Warner Cable

#10: Carroll Gardens, Columbia Heights, and Red Hook

Density of broadband provider competition in Carrol Gardens and Red Hook

90th Percentile Average speed: 150.14 Mbps
Fastest Recorded Speed: 531.37 Mbps

Tech Presence: The Red Hook area was traditionally more blue-collar industrial than blue-flip-flops tech sector, but that’s changing as some larger office spaces in Dumbo throw in the towel on rising rents and embrace a cheaper, more down-to-earth neighborhood. Innovation Studios, Stink Studios, and other creative groups and agencies have already moved shop to enjoy the waterfront.

Co-Working Spaces:

Internet Providers:

  • Charter Spectrum
  • Verizon
  • Verizon Fios
  • Fairpoint Communications
  • Windstream

Want to know how the rest of the Brooklyn neighborhoods fared? See the following chart from Brighton Beach to Bedford-Stuyvesant:

Neighbourhood 90th Percentile average Max speed recorded
Bedford-Stuyvesant 149.36 800.63
Prospect Heights 147.95 663.84
Dyker Heights 146.93 486.71
Canarsie 137.09 308.41
Jamaica Bay 137.09 308.41
Flatlands 118.97 418.61
Kings Plaza 118.97 418.61
Marine Park 118.97 418.61
Mill Basin 118.97 418.61
Parkville 109.64 413.31
Bensonhurst 109.51 413.31
Bath Beach 109.26 391.67
East New York 108.2 291.28
Gravesend 106.73 420.48
Stuyvesant Heights 106.36 191.13
Homecrest 100.89 483.22
Kensington 100.81 641.19
Brooklyn College 100.5 427.84
Vanderveer 100.5 427.84
Cypress Hills 99.73 589.73
Ditmas Park 98.08 641.19
Kings Highway 96.37 483.22
Madison 96.37 483.22
Brower Park 94.53 311.62
Weeksville 94.53 311.62
Brighton Beach 94.05 315.53
Manhattan Beach 94.05 315.53
Sheepshead Bay 94.05 315.53
Sunset Park 93.81 430
Bushwick 91.02 606.97
Midwood 90.51 492.47
Borough Park 89.96 446.4
Crown Heights 85.87 311.62
Coney Island 85.3 304.02
Sea Gate 85.3 304.02
Brownsville 84.54 204.78
East Flatbush 84.1 543.58
Greenwood 80.96 380.01
Industry City/Bush Terminal 80.96 380.01
Flatbush 74.3 501.84
Prospect Lefferts Gardens 65.58 260.7
Prospect Park South 59.39 501.84
Starrett City 54.27 175.8

A quick note about this data: speed test results are sourced from M-Labs, known for partnering with Google’s search default speed test tool. Their results are widely regarded as the most accurate and least biased publicly available.

Since M-Labs speed tests are categorized by zip codes, we’ve grouped some neighborhoods that share zip codes together, and combined zip codes to form approximate boundaries for others. While not exact, this method gives a reasonably accurate idea of speeds in each neighborhood.

The results shown here were pulled from dates between May 2016–April 2017. Most zip codes had between 1,000–4,000 recorded tests in that time range.

Special thanks to Tom and Darren of BroadbandNow, who have spent years collecting Internet service deals and took time out of their busy schedules to gather and verify this data.

Data Suggests Brooklyn Internet is Improving

What the situation with Verizon FiOS and other incumbent Internet providers in Brooklyn has been a major frustration for longtime residents, the future for the city does actually look favorable — even with mergers of major companies in mind.

Take a look at this interactive map of Internet coverage in New York state as a whole, and you’ll see that Brooklyn’s Kings County is the only county in the state with 100% access to 25 Mbps “true broadband” as defined by the FCC:

New York Broadband Map

Keep in mind that this is a bit misleading, however, since some of that “access” costs hundreds of dollars per month — more than residents in less lucky neighborhoods can likely afford. Those left in the dark are stuck with slow, capped solutions like mobile hotspots or tethered 3G plans.

That said, the future of connectivity in Brooklyn is promising and has been improving. Technologies like 5G are right around the corner, which could potentially compete with wired Internet in some areas. Wireless companies like Starry are already experimenting with innovative ways to bring home internet to consumers in markets like Boston without relying on traditional cable networks, leapfrogging cable monopolies in urban environments.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk is promising to release low-orbit satellite networks that solve the latency problems of traditional satellite internet as soon as 2019.

For those of us willing to wait 5 years or so, it seems like Netflix binging will be just a little bit easier. Hopefully, it’ll also become a little bit cheaper.