Yesterday I was excited to hear that Comcast has announced a new level of Internet service and bandwidth that until now simply wasn’t available in The United States. Soon, you’ll be able to have 105 mbps downloads and 10 mpbs uploads.
My excitement lasted about five seconds.
First, the good news: the routers we’re buying today (and for the last couple of years) will support the kind of speeds that Comcast is about to start selling as the first ISP in the United States to do so. The bad news? Everything else.
Comcast’s offer is for residential service. You’ll be fine running your business off it if the service is sold to a person and delivered to a residential rather than a business address. But it costs $200 per month. “People” won’t pay that. Contrast this to the similar speed service that’s been delivered by residential ISPs in Korea for several years at about one fourth that price.
So if you’re a “person”, are willing to increase your monthly internet access cost by 400%, and happen to be in the Comcast footprint, you’ll soon be able to buy a boatload of bandwidth.
The nature of residential bandwidth is that it isn’t dedicated. When your ISP gives you 105 Mbps of downstream speed your ability to get that speed assumes that the other people on the same wiring loop you’re on aren’t using huge amounts of bandwidth at the same time you are. Want a real-world example? if you live in a heavily congested area and try to use the on-demand feature of your cable television service at the same time lots of other people are using it, the picture and sound may pixelate and stutter. Internet service works the same way.
That won’t matter most of the time, because downloading files over the internet doesn’t require a particular grade or speed of service. But if you’re watching a movie on line and it stutters you’re unhappy. More bandwidth , while not a panacea, is better.
Well, whoops! Regardless of what portion of that 105 Mbps you actually get from your ISP if you’re like most home users (and for that matter more and more business users), you aren’t wiring your computers to your router; it’s wireless. Want “full” speed over that wireless connection? You’re competing with other radio signals that degrade the performance, and also have to deal with distance, walls, and other physical obstacles.
In other words, Comcast would like you to pay four times as much as you are now for your bandwidth, AND GET NOTHING REAL OR PRACTICAL IN RETURN. And again, only people are eligible. Businesses, who theoretically might be able to overcome the inherent hurdles to turn this package into something useful, are not.
105 Mbps Internet service for $200 per month is a business change that benefits Comcast, but does nothing for you. Resist.