Blown To Bits

What’s “Broadband”?

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008 by Harry Lewis

Use of the term “Broadband” is unregulated in the US, but more and more people know they want it. Those conditions are ideal for shading the truth.

A new report in Great Britain states that more than 40% of “broadband” connections there are less than 2MB/sec. I’m not aware that any similar figures are available in the US, but I know some services offered as “broadband” are less than 1MB/sec. That’s still a lot better than dialup, which is limited to .06 MB/sec., but nowhere near the rates of at least 4MB/sec that make web surfing pleasant.

Another thing to realize is that ISPs split the channel capacity into upload and download speeds, generally allocating much more for download on the theory you shouldn’t be uploading movies (and they don’t care if you actually make your own). So they will give you two different numbers for the two directions — but it’s hard to be sure you can believe them anyway.

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