Broadband speeds increase – does it matter?

If this increase in broadband speeds is correct, the Internet will (finally) begin to make inroads on the number of bytes people receive, not just the number of words. According to our estimates, average effective bandwidth on the Internet was too low to send many bytes, compared with TV. (Remember how awful YouTube videos were in early 2008?) Partly this is because bandwidth in the last mile, which this report apparently covers, is not the only limit on throughput. Latency delays, limits on originating sites, and pauses by users all reduce average throughput. (This is very visible when I surf from UCSD, where I have speeds above 100 Mbps to my desktop. I still encounter delays.)

US Broadband Speeds Rose 28% in 2009SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., February 9, 2010 – The US residential broadband speeds continue to increase, albeit at a slower rate than in 2008. Between year-end 2008 and year-end 2009, downstream bandwidth rose by 28%, reports In-Stat http://www.in-stat.com.

via In-Stat – Press Releases.

The Internet already has a substantial fraction of average word consumption, because of the higher words-per-minute of reading over radio and TV.

If anyone knows of reliable data on average effective home Internet speeds, please send them along.

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