Saturday, May 31, 2014

American broadband is getting a speed bump

Just a few years ago, the idea of having 1Mbps connection to the internet would sound crazy (back in the days when 14.4Kbps modems were the norm), but things never stop evolving and now, "broadband" is getting a speed bump.

When you can easily get over 40Mbps in your mobile phone using a 4G/LTE connection, it's a bit awkward to find out that the technical definition of broadband is a connection with a speed of at least 4Mbps. The thing is... 4Mbps is hardly enough anymore. A Netflix stream requires about 5Mbps, and it will get even higher now they're about to start streaming in Ultra HD 4K resolution. Suddenly, those 4Mbps seem a lot like the 14.4Kbaud modems of a few decades ago.

So, the FCC is about to reconsider the "broaband" term, and bump it to 10 or even maybe to 25Mbps (don't look at me, I'm quite comfortable with my current 120Mbps connection - though I wouldn't mind having a Google Fiber with 1Gbps up/down!) Unfortunately, this broadband re-qualification won't mean your current speed will be instantly upgraded. You'll still have the same data plan, but at least it will put some pressure to ISPs to at least offer the minimum broadband speed so they can advertise it as such.

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