(This is a curmudgeonly post which is going to look ridiculously outdated in a few years.)
My yearly contract with my ISP has just come to an end, so it was time to shop around for a better deal. They presented me with the following monthly options:
- Drop to 100Mbps for the same price I'm paying today (£44)
- Keep at 350Mbps for a tenner more (£55)
- Rise to 500Mbps for a fiver more (£49)
- Go to GIGABIT for a lot more (£60)
Obviously it's classic anchor pricing. And obviously I fell for it. And obviously I negotiated a £50 bill credit for signing a new contract. But I only went with the half-gig option. Even then, I feel like I've bought a sports car and use it to pootle to the village shop and back.
Netflix reckons that 25Mbps is good enough for its 4K service. Even if my wife and I are both watching super-high-def-hdr-surround-sound-smellovision - what do we do with the other 450Mbps?
Once in a while we might download a 60GB video game (!!!). At 350Mbps, that'll take 22 minutes. At 500Mpbs, 16 minutes. That's six whole minutes saved (!!!). Going to 1Gbps means the game is downloaded in 8 minutes. But that's assuming the game company's CDN can sustain that speed. It probably can't.
Now we're in the land on constant video calling, the faster upload that we get is nice. Sadly it's hard to get symmetric speeds in the UK - so we're stuck with "only" 40Mbps up. But, again, even with both of us streaming 720p laptop-cam footage, it's not really taxing the connection.
It's nice when I have to upload a large file to, say, YouTube. But most of my work is now "Cloud Native" so I'm rarely emailing megadocs to my colleagues.
Perhaps VR is the thing which will consume this data? I don't really know much about it - but strapping two 4K monitors to your face, surround audio, and positional metadata doesn't sound like it is going to tax my fibre connection.
I suppose if you're a family of 10, then having 100Mbps each is handy. Delivering Gigabit is essential to the future - and I'm sure something will come along to gobble it all up. But what?
I'm not quite so thick as to say 640k ought to be enough for anybody. But right now I'm struggling to think what I can do to take advantage of this glut of bandwidth.