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So, How Much Internet Speed Do You REALLY Need?

June 17, 2021


(Spoiler alert – it’s not what the ‘big guy’ ISPs are telling you.)

Determining what kind – and what speed – of internet service your home or business needs can prove to be incredibly confusing for many people. Unless you are particularly savvy in understanding the concepts of upload and download speeds, bandwidth, and the infrastructures internet service providers (ISPs) use to service customers (cable, fiber, fixed wireless access), you’ll need to do a bit of research in making an informed purchasing decision. 

Discernity helps property owners and managers, as well as HOA members, understand the components of service, and help you make decisions around what you really need (and don’t need). The reality of wading through the depth of what’s available is the overwhelming amount of marketing around the range of service options available. Add to this constant pricing promotions sometimes perceived as misleading, and it gets tougher. 

Additionally, some major service providers do not spotlight their service as potentially unavailable in your neighborhood, city, or geographical region. Dig a little deeper and you’ll learn that on your own. Intense competition in this industry category should organically support the expansion of these “faster better” services in serving a larger footprint. Yet obviously, if a service cannot even be accessed in your area, it’s a moot point in the end.

At the heart of so much of this ISP marketing is the heavy push that ‘more is better’. However, do you REALLY need 1G of bandwidth coming into your residence or property? If an ISP is claiming you do, it’s likely you’re being oversold. For one thing – consider the type of equipment providing you with end-point access to the internet. Sure, your ISP will sell you an extreme amount of bandwidth all day long. Yet the average consumer – beyond extreme gamers and some others – will not even own the equipment and hardware needed to take full advantage of those higher internet speeds. This is another case for being oversold by your ISP.

Let’s assume a typical household uses the internet for video calls, video streaming, on-demand and live programming, and other daily tasks relying on internet access. For the most part, the largest majority of consumers do not need to pay for a package that delivers more than 100 megabits per second (Mbps). This is true even for circumstances where multiple devices are being used on the same account.

What does “megabits per second” mean, exactly? In short, it is a measure of internet bandwidth, or the maximum download rate of your internet connection. A download rate refers to transferring data from the internet onto your computer, television, or mobile device. (Conversely, an upload speed refers to the speed at which that data becomes available for interaction with the user.) For example, if you visit a website or click a button to download a song, it begins to download to your device. The resulting speed of this process depends on your internet bandwidth. It’s assumed that higher bandwidth means faster downloads. While this may be true, the fact is that most consumers really only need so much.

This goes back to the issue of marketing – it’s a big business in the broadband industry. Faster is always better, right? Nope. That’s a myth. While some Broadband providers such as Comcast Corp., Spectrum, Charter Communications Inc., Verizon and AT&T Inc. market speeds in the range of up to 500 or even 1,000 Mbps, most people simply don’t need it, even when binging programming streams.

According to Fiercetelecom.com, a recent meeting of Cowen Inc. industry analysts hosted Verizon’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Kyle Malady for subject matter expertise. Malady reportedly noted that consumers do not use or need anything remotely close to the 1Gbps speeds that some internet services provide, including Verizon. In response, Cowen analysts said that fixed wireless providers need to improve their consumer marketing, as consumers often equate speed with quality and reliability. Again, much of this comes back to the issue of marketing.

At Discernity, we deliver exactly what our customers need, and will educate property owners and HOA members alike regarding what level of bandwidth would work best for your needs. Our internet service is expandable at any time, as well. We’ll never sell you what you don’t need, and our property-dedicated service technicians are ready to assist in a timely fashion.

Please contact us for a customized quote, and we’ll be happy to help design a plan that works for both property owners and residents. 

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