We honestly hate to tell you this.

Your cable company is probably overcharging you for Internet service.

Most cable companies are quite happy to charge you for more bandwidth than you really need.

To compensate for poor and inconsistent service, many cable providers keep adding more bandwidth to their plans – sometimes as much as 100-200Mb more.

Providers claim to deliver blazing fast speeds if you buy their highest bandwidth services. Customers (wrongly) assume that a higher bandwidth connection will automatically deliver a faster user experience (speed).

The truth is that most people do not need that much bandwidth. Why? Because bandwidth and speed are not the same thing. Bandwidth refers to capacity – the size of the pipe in which data travels. Speed refers to the rate at which the data travels.

Speed Bumps

Speed is affected by many things. Keep in mind too, that providers offer speeds described as “up to” a certain speed. The “up to” speed basically refers to your available bandwidth (capacity).

Unfortunately, this does not necessarily mean that the speed you’ll experience as a user will be the same as your bandwidth.

There are many factors that affect your user experience and define how much bandwidth you need:

  • If you use the Internet just for general web surfing, emailing and social media 1Mbps is usually sufficient.
  • Bandwidth shared among all devices in your household or business may cause congestion. Congestion will reduce the speed of your connection and can lead to skipping, buffering and long download times. Think of it as a traffic jam of sorts where everybody is forced to slow down or stop completely.
  • Video streaming and conferencing eats up the most bandwidth. Households or businesses running simultaneous streams will want more capacity.

The typical residential user needs between 10Mb and 50Mb download and 3Mb to 5Mb upload. Most businesses need between 15Mb and 50Mb. Do not overpay. Avoid purchasing excess capacity that you do not need and that won’t do much to improve your productivity.

You probably don’t need the blazing fast connection your cable company sold you. But, it IS important to make sure that your bandwidth is keeping up with your current business or personal activities.

Call us. We can sit down with you to determine your bandwidth needs and review the different high-speed Internet options available for your home or business.