The speed of your internet can have a huge impact on your day to day work and your downtime.
If you need to research something for work, or find references for an essay, then it’s no good if each page takes ages to load (only for it to prove not to be useful anyway in many cases).
Then when it comes to leisure time, if you’re trying to watch something on a streaming site, if you don’t have a good connection, the content won’t load, or if it does, it comes out pixelated and jerky.
All this might lead some of us to shell out for faster, higher-quality broadband internet. The thing is, if you do this will it actually help?
Some companies advertise speeds in terms of “up to” X number of Mbps (megabits per second). The more Mbps you have, the speedier your internet should be. However, not all customers on the service will, in actuality, achieve these speeds. Under rules from the Advertising Standards Agency, to make these claims companies must show that at least 50% of customers get these speeds during peak times between 8pm and 10pm.
So not all customers achieve the advertised speeds all the time, but, how fast does your internet need to be anyway?
Well, Sky came up with a handy guide on how long it would take to download an average film on different speeds. For an 11Mbps speed, a film would download in 10 minutes and 24 seconds. For a 25 Mbps, this would be 3minutes and 11 seconds. For 63 Mbps which is what Fibre Max/Fibre Pro packages advertise, the time would be 1 minute and 49 seconds. [https://www.sky.com/help/articles/your-download-times-explained SUDO OCT CONTENT REF 5] Having said that, Netflix says that you only need 3Mbps for streaming in standard definition, 5Mbps for HD, and 25Mbps for Ultra HD. [https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/experts/article-5740833/How-fast-really-need-broadband-speeds-be.html SUDO OCT CONTENT REF 6]
Vodafone did some internet speed research as well. This time on the speeds which typical broadband activities require. For social networking you need a speed of 1.3Mbps, for browsing the internet, you need 2Mbps (also 2Mbps for streaming music), 8Mbps for downloading a film in HD, and 15Mbps for streaming 4K video. Even with doing all of these things at once then, you’d probably not need more than around 28Mbps. [https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/experts/article-5740833/How-fast-really-need-broadband-speeds-be.html SUDO OCT CONTENT REF 7]
All of this does beg the question, is it worth shelling out for high-speed broadband considering that you may not need it or get its full benefit?
Perhaps if you have a shared house with lots of people using the internet at once, but if you live on your own, maybe not…