What Does “High Speed Internet” Mean, Exactly?
Ever wonder what a company means when it says its internet service is “high speed”? Then check out this table that documents the plethora of technologies that the FCC counts as “broadband” — be warned, speeds can vary by as much as 2000 percent!
In short, “broadband” is defined by the FCC as anything other than “dial up” — and “high speed” has no commonly-agreed-to definition.
- One kilobit per second (Kbps or kbps) is 1,000 bits per second (bps)
- One megabit per second (Mbps) is 1,000 Kbps or 1,000,000 bps
- One gigabit per second (Gbps) is 1,000 Mbps or 1,000,000 Kbps or 1,000,000,000 bps
|Cable||Basic: 4 Mbps to 6 Mbps
High End: 12 Mbps to 16 Mbps and faster
|DSL||Basic: 768 Kbps to 1.5 Mbps
High End: 3 Mbps to 7 Mbps
|Fiber Optic Cable||15Mbps – 25 Mbps|
|Mobile – EDGE||Up to 58Kbps, average 22Kbps|
|Mobile – 3G||AT&T: Download, 700-1.7 Mbps; Upload, 500 Kbps – 1.2 Mbp
Sprint: Download, 600Kbps – 1.4 Mbps
Verizon: 600 Kbps to 1.4Mbps
|Mobile – 4G||Download: 3-6 Mbps|
|Satellite||10 – 20kbps|
|WiMax (like Clear)||Download: 3-6 Mbps|
|South Korea||1 Gbps (2012)|
|Japan||Average advertised: 93.6 Mbps (2007)|
|France||Average advertised: 44.1 Mbps (2007)|
|Data: ArsTechnica: FiOS speeds, AT&T Cell Phone Coverage, CLEAR WiMax 4gG,GigaOm: Korea, High Speed Internet Access Guide: DSL v Cable, ModMyi.com Forum (EDGE), Sprint 4G, Verizon 3G Basics, Website Optimization: France, Japan,Wikipedia: Satellite Internet Access|
NOTE: These data ignore issues of latency (satellite, mobile), privacy (cable) and line-sharing (cable). The table also ignores price, both the difference in costs for the various technologies in the U.S. and the vast difference in pricing plans when the U.S. is compared with Asia and Europe.