Buried in the fine print of your internet service agreement you’ll find an interesting piece of information.
Your provider is oversubscribed.
Most people don’t realize that there are two types of internet service – dedicated and “best effort.”
Dedicated Internet Access
Dedicated access means that the specific amount of bandwidth you’ve paid for has been dedicated for your exclusive use. Regardless of any other internet activity, your available bandwidth remains the same.
Best Effort Internet Access
Best effort service means that your connection is shared among many users. Nearly all residential internet access sold by national cable and phone companies is best effort service.
Best effort services are oversubscribed. This means that more bandwidth has been sold than is actually available at peak times.
The advertised speed is the upper limit of what you’ll get. For example, if you have a plan advertised as “up to” 20 Mbps, you’ll only occasionally reach this speed. The key phrase in the fine print of your agreement is “up to.” This is not the same as “minimum of,” “at least,” or “average of.”
There’s always a downside
Oversubscription is not always a bad thing. In fact, it’s a common model of delivery for many different types of services including electricity, water and roads.
There is a downside, however.
As the number of customers using the same oversubscribed service increases, the actual bandwidth available for each individual customer decreases.
An Internet connection is much like a highway. At 2 a.m. there is not much to get in your way. During rush hour however, it’s a different story. The number of drivers increases, but the size of the highway does not. As more drivers use the same road, everyone is forced to slow down.
At peak periods of use, your “best effort” internet service will be congested – just like a highway at 5 p.m. That means that your 20 Mbps internet connection may only allow you to go up to 5 Mbps or even less.
Congestion reduces the speed of your connection and can lead to skipping, buffering and long download times.
Ultimately, with a best effort Internet connection you end up paying for more speed than you can use.
Internet with a Difference
Future Link IT is a different kind of provider. We offer affordable broadband Internet service for residential users that provides fast response times and consistent speed on both uploads and downloads.
How can we do this? It’s simple – we don’t oversubscribe. While our service is “best effort”, many of our customers find that they get better results with our 10 or 15Mb plans than they used to get from the 50Mb plan offered by their cable provider.