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Fast Enough

By Ryan Powers

There’s a new survey out today on broadband use in the U.S. from the FCC. It turns out that while most broadband internet users don’t know their connection speed, they find that it is fast enough for everyday usage:

Overall, 91 percent of broadband users said they were either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their home broadband speed, the FCC reported. However, 80 percent of the 3,005 respondents to the phone survey did not know the advertised speed of their service.

This is a good sign which puts the internet on par with something like a water hookup. Most people don’t know how much water per minute comes into their house. They just know that enough does. The difference, I suppose is that most Americans have a fairly steady rate of water consumption, but all signs point to increasing reliance on the Internet for work, school, and entertainment.

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Thinking about the increasing demand for speedy data transfer raises the issue of whether content providers (video, music, data, software) are buying enough bandwidth to allow clients with broadband connections to get data as as fast as their connections will allow. In my case, my Cox cable internet connection could download things like videos, data archives, and other large files much faster if the servers from which I download weren’t capping their connection speeds at such low transfer rates. No matter what Cox does, if Apple doesn’t allow me to pull videos down faster, my Internet connection will feel slow.