Since 2015, the FCC has maintained the benchmark for “broadband internet” at a speed of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads. But if you were to ask your internet service provider, they’d say this benchmark is much too low.
01 Internet Providers Are Selling More Speed Than We Need
Since 2015, video streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ have completely transformed the way Americans consume media. Fleeing from inflated cable subscription fees, nearly 40 million households have cut-the-cord from paid TV in favor of internet-only streaming services.
By 2022, that number is expected to grow to 55 million. And, if current trends hold, the number of cord-cutters will surpass cable subscribers within the next five years.
For internet behemoths like Comcast, the rise of cord-cutters has the potential to create a serious revenue crisis. One of the ways they’re recouping losses is by providing the internet service that cord-cutters still desperately need.
Another way? Selling as much speed as they possibly can.
02 How Much Internet is Enough?
While you do need enough bandwidth to successfully stream live TV and movies, the fact of the matter is that most Americans are paying for more speed than they’ll ever use.
So, how much speed do we really need?
The Wall Street Journal teamed up with researchers from Princeton and the University of Chicago to answer that question. Studying the internet use of 53 panelists, WSJ concluded “many households are paying a premium for services they don’t need.”
To make their case, they point to an extreme scenario in the research:
“Peter Loftus, one of our panelists, lives outside Philadelphia and is a Comcast customer with a speed package of 150 megabits a second. Peter’s median usage over 35 viewing minutes was 6.9 Mbps, 5% of the capacity he pays for. For the portion when all seven of his streams were going at once, he averaged 8.1 Mbps. At one point, for one second, Peter reached 65% of his capacity. Did his video launch faster or play more smoothly? Not really.”
03 Stop Paying for Speed You Don’t Need
As of a year ago, 60% of households in the U.S. pay for 100 Mbps or higher. Some have no choice. In markets like Los Angeles — that’s about the lowest package you can find.
According to Netflix, you need 4 Mbps to stream high definition videos and 15 Mbps if you’re streaming in 4K. That’s about right. And, according to the WSJ research we cited above, even simultaneous streaming doesn’t justify anywhere near the gargantuan plans sold by industry giants like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon.
At Wander, we offer 50 Mbps of super fast, super reliable internet—more than enough speed to handle even the most media-saturated family’s needs.
To learn more about Wander and see if your home is covered, click here.