Broadband and bandwidth

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I love broadband internet.  I signed up for excite @home back in 1999.  @home eventually became Comcast and my love hate relationship with them continues.   In-fact, I still use the original Motorola surfboard that I got in 1999 (it has a date on it from 1998) as my cable modem.

I have been relatively happy with Comcast for all these years in terms of internet access.  I can’t say that for my TV subscription with Comcast.   But, they have provided me consistent internet access that I have used for Work, play, phone and entertainment.  I have multiple devices in our home: iPad, iPhone, laptops, computers, macs, tivo’s, wii, etc….  The list could keep going on, that use the internet.   More that I like to admit we are always connected online.  That is why it is important that our broadband be reliable and available.

Most recently, my broadband has been reliable (in that it has been up and running) but the performance Bandwidth has been poor.   I think this will become more of an issue in the future as people rely on high speed internet.

The issue I had last night  is pretty trivial in the whole scheme of things (though it really made me angry).   The family was camped out in front of the TV in excitement of watching an ABC special called “Prep and Landing”.  The special was on ABC.com and I typically just hook one of the laptops up to the Plasma via HDMI and we  have a wonderful picture.

However, last night my kids were not loving the show because they saw more of “buffering” than they did of the content.  How, could that be?  My cable modem connection was up and running, wifi working great, and I was also online reading email.   What it ended up being was that I had the connection speed of a 56k modem.  Even as I am typing this here is my speed.

My issue from last night is not that big of a deal in reality.  I basically turned on MyFi on my cell phone, and had the laptop use 3G to get the show (My kids cheered for me).

What this does show is how reliant we have become on bandwidth, not necessarily broadband.  At the time we could not watch a show on ABC.com, we also could not make a phone call (VOIP) or get to weather.com.

I’m not sure what my SLA with Comcast is but I am guessing there is not much in there about minimum bandwidth they will provide.   I do know that my advertised speed is 5MB down and 1 something up.

In the future, I am willing to pay for an SLA and also the amount of bandwidth I use.  I realize that I am a high bandwidth user.

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