ANALYZING THE NEED FOR A FASTER INTERNET – TECHNOLOGY

If you are satisfied with the internet speed that you’re currently using and have been wondering if there’s a real need for anything faster, we might have some answers for you.

In an effort to determine if increased internet speeds were needed and would be used, the WSJ recently published the results of a study that they’ve been conducting for the past several months with the assistance of researchers from Princeton and the University of Chicago following the online use of 53 of their WSJ journalists.  The findings are that the research subjects used only a fraction of the available bandwidth that they already had at their disposal to watch a variety of streaming services, even simultaneously.  So, the conclusion reached by the study is that for most people, additional bandwidth is not needed and just brings an increased internet bill.   The article providing the study’s results is entitled, “The Truth About Faster Internet: It’s Not Worth It.”  That sounds pretty conclusive.

The Journal relates that it became concerned that broadband providers such as Comcast, Charter Communications and AT&T were marketing speeds in the range of 250, 500 or even 1,000 megabits a second, “often promising that streaming-video bingers will benefit.”  “Fast internet for all your shows,” the advertisements proclaim.  However, the Journal’s researchers have found that, for a typical household, the benefits of paying for more than 100 megabits a second are marginal at best.  One of the subjects in the study is described as living outside Philadelphia and using a customer internet package of 150 megabits a second.  His media usage over 35 viewing minutes was 6.9 Mbps, or, 5% of the capacity of what he pays for.  At one point, for one second, he reached 65% of his capacity.  Did his video launch faster or play more smoothly, the Journal asks. The researchers say, “Not really – to the extent that there were differences in video quality such as picture resolution of the time it took to launch a show” these were small and insignificant.  Similar results were found with the others who participated in the study.

There’s a great deal of interesting information in the article, but one additional bit of particular interest is the fact that when consumers call in to complain about service, the most efficient way to deal with them is to offer a faster internet package.  The Journal reports that “that makes the tech support calls shorter” and it also helps the internet service up-sell to faster service (at a higher cost, of course).  Things to keep in mind – particularly with increasing hype about 5G service.

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