The optimal broadband speed

A German version of this article can be found here.

Nokia and the telecom provider Starman plan to roll out Europe’s first 10Gbps residential Internet services in Estonia. That of course sounds unbelievably cool and will strengthen the country’s already stellar reputation as digital frontrunner.

However, from my personal experience, I have to conclude that as an individual Internet user, the benefits of ultra-broadband are currently rather small. Ultra-fast broadband is mainly great for impressing friends and colleagues and to feel like an innovation-friendly early adopter.

Recently I decided to upgrade my already pretty speedy 250 Mbps (upstream 10 Mbps) broadband plan to one with “up to 500 Mbps” (50 Mbps upstream). In Stockholm, where I live, ultra-fast broadband is rather common and quite affordable. The speed increase costs me only about 15 Euro extra per month.

Broadband

Once the technical upgrade was performed, watching the speed test show high numbers felt pretty awesome (even though I “only” managed to reach 380 Mbps). But the excitement wore off quickly, and after that no other benefits remained. Ok, other than the ones mentioned in the previous paragraph. Even from the perspective of a heavy user like me, the experience is as good as it was before. I live with my girl friend so at max we are using 3-4 devices simultaneously, and none of us is a gamer. Maybe I’d come to a different conclusion if I’d share a 5 room apartment with many others who all use data-heavy applications and games at once. Nevertheless, I am confident that for the majority of people, 500 Mpbs is as good as 250 Mbps, and likely even as good as 100 Mbps. Continue Reading