Monday, 11 April 2016

Superfast Broadband - do we really need it?

Here's a thing. Such is the way of the world that we're always under pressure to upgrade and improve. We have to have the latest phone, the fastest internet connection and so on. Or do we?

Yes, we have come a long way from the early days of the internet when it took half a day to load a page on a 28.8k dial up modem whilst our parents wondered why they couldn't get through to Granny on the phone. But a recent experience has made me wonder, how fast do we need to go?

After all. there is no point buying a faster model of a road car that can do a top speed of 140mph rather than the 130mph of the next one down when the speed limit on the motorway in the UK is 90. Sorry, I mean 70. Unless you are planning to drive around the Nurburgring in it, that is.

So what about Broadband, how much do we need? Well, when BT Infinity came along a few years ago, like all good technology fans I welcomed it with open arms, ordering at the first opportunity and taking my internet speed up to around 40mbs. All well and good.

Imagine my horror then, on moving to Kingsmere and discovering that superfast broadband wasn't available here yet. There were articles all over the press about the "snail pace broadband up here". I was going to have to downgrade to boring old hat standard BT broadband! With an estimated speed of 2mbs - 7mbs. I was aghast! No more streaming! Slow page loading! What a nightmare! It was as if someone had just told me I'd have to give up my lawnmower and cut the lawn with scissors.

And the result? Well, to my absolute surprise, my broadband connection (5mbs) works just as well as the Infinity did. In a household of four with countless devices on the go, everything's working just fine, including streaming content. I have detected no drop off in performance whatsoever, and I'm saving ££s per month off my bill. Now they tell me BT infinity has just become available and I can upgrade again. Am I going to? I don't think so - what's the need?

I guess the lesson to be learnt is we don't automatically have to assume that we have to upgrade just because something new comes on board - something new that's primarily designed to make more money for the provider. I would never have realised this if it hadn't been for the move.


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