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In the battle for the fastest internet speeds….

….Bloomington is falling behind.  Way behind.  Just announced, Charter Communications is bringing to their customers a unprecedented speed option: 60 Mbps internet. Other providers, like Verizon’s FiOS service and some of Comcast’s services, top out at 50 Mbps.  Here in Bloomington, the best we can strive for is 20 Mbps.

Now, I do realize some of this speed can almost be a “myth”, seeing how some companies (espicially Comcast) say that they provide X amount of bandwidth, but when you read the fine print you’ll find that the service can only burst up to that amount; the sustained internet speed is far lower.  Case in point, we had Comcast’s 20 Mbps plan for a little bit.  I did some testing using a reliable server source (a known private server on a 100 Mbps connection) and I found that while it did top out at 20 Mbps download, it only did that for approximately 15 seconds, after which it only sustained a 2-5 Mbps connection.  I performed several tests using the same server and other servers from around the US and all performed just the same.  Comcast let you have the fast bandwidth just long enough so that if you did a speed test (like at Speedtest.net) you would see that you had a 20 Mbps connection, but while actually performing a sustained download your speed would drop like a rock.

However, that being said I would like to see some better options for home users arrive in Bloomington, or for people like me who would like to run a server at home (rather than through a provider) allow me to either purchase more upstream bandwidth or allow me to “flip” my speeds (so I wouldn’t get as good downstream bandwidth but I get a lot of upstream).  Ah well.  At least it’s not like I live in a rural area where it’s nearly impossible to even get rudimentary broadband, and honestly the steady 6 Mbps I get from uVerse serves my needs 99.5% of the time.

And from what I noted above, a lot of home users that pay for the faster speeds never actually see those speeds (which this can actually be worse in a bigger city, since more people are sharing the connection), and I would much rather have my nice steady connection than the unfulfilled promise of faster.  :)

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