If your daily Internet usage consists of surfing web pages, downloading a few songs, and watching a few streaming videos, then bandwidth provided by DSL and Cable modems is likely adequate for your needs.
And while cable and DSL speeds have largely kept up with demand, with the number of Internet connected devices reaching 5.7 per U.S. household and high-definition video quickly becoming the standard, today’s bandwidth provided by Cable and DSL will likely not be adequate in the near future.
To get a handle on just how much our bandwidth needs have increased, here is a chart that details how the average size of the websites we view has doubled in the past 3 years to over 1 Mb in total size.
With these statistics, the question becomes, can today’s Cable and DSL keep up with the near future?
To illustrate just how big the difference is between broadband technologies, here is a chart, published as part of the Fiber to the Home Council’s primer, that visually compares the bandwidth of different connections. The larger the circle, the more bandwidth is provided.
As you can see, fiber optic service (FIOS) is currently the fastest internet service available, which is what makes it the option for those households that have outgrown their cable and DSL internet and are looking for the highest speeds currently available today.
Unfortunately, even though fiber is the best connection choice and is a future-proof broadband choice, fiber currently only reaches 17.8% of American homes. For those that have access to fiber, Verizon and AT&T U-Verse are the major fiber optic providers and provide speeds as high as 300 Mbps down and 65 Mbps up. Google is an up and coming powerful contender with up to Gbps (1,000 Mbps) up and down speeds, although Google is currently only available in a very select number of cities.
Each of these services packs a punch and is able to handle the growing bandwidth needs of today’s household as well as into the future. But does all of the increased bandwidth come at a significantly higher price?
Comparing prices of telecommunications services is not trivial since prices vary depending on location and the providers don’t offer all of the same features. Below you’ll find a table that compares AT&T, Verizon, and Google’s fiber optic offerings from Denton, Tx and Austin, Tx.
|Broadband Price Comparison|
Internet & TV
$99 Monthly w/ 1 year contract
(75 Mbps/35 Mbps)
(1 Gbps/1 Gbps)
* Data combined from Verizon pricing chart and Gigaom data
With these prices being on par with other Cable and DSL offerings and the services having quite a bit more bandwidth, families that are looking towards the future should be considering upgrading their broadband to Fiber.
Not only will fiber be more than adequate for any of today’s needs, but it will also make sure that households are able to handle the increasing bandwidth needs of the future.