Is 10 Mbps fast enough for most people?

Fibre-to-the-home is becoming more widespread internationally, but some people argue that 10 Mbps is enough…for now

By - January 9, 2011
Is 10 Mbps fast enough for most people?

Fibre to the home (FTTH), with speeds typically ranging between 10 Mbps and 1 Gbps, is becoming a popular means of connecting to the Internet.

The growth of fibre connections is most prevalent in Japan and South Korea where FTTH accounts for more than half of all broadband connections in these countries. Other leading FTTH countries include the Slovak Republic and Sweden, where 28% and 24% of all connections respectively are fibre.

In South Africa, ADSL subscribers have access speeds between 384 Kbps and 4 Mbps, but Telkom began bumping up some subscribers to 10 Mbps in August 2010.

Interestingly, mobile broadband subscribers in South Arica are used to higher average speeds, with Cell C, MTN and Vodacom extending their 21 Mbps HSPA+ coverage.

10 Mbps is enough

Faster is better when it comes to broadband, but some people argue that 10 Mbps may be enough for most residential broadband consumers.

DSL Prime’s Dave Burstein recently wrote in his article ‘Why 10 megabits is enough for many people’ that “2.5 megabit pre-encoded movies (done well) look great on a 50 inch TV.”

“In practice, most cable channels on U.S. cable or satellite are multiplexed down to 2-4 megabits,” says Burnstein. “The ‘HD requires 5-7 megabit’ crowd are thinking live sports and better than usual HD quality. Most people are just fine at a data rate that allows two HD streams at the same time.”

“Of course 100 meg is better than 10 and a pleasure when you are downloading huge Micorsoft updates. But very few who aren’t heavy downloaders connect to anything that can go faster than 10 megabits more a few hours/month. Most of us who don’t download wouldn’t notice the difference for more than a few minutes,” concludes Burnstein.

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