Does the average homeowner really need a gigabit connection, or is he/she better off with a slower, yet more reliable connection? This question was posed recently by Glenn Fleishmann, a writer at MacWorld. Many ISPs who offer gigabit service aggressively advertise their high rates of download, making claims about “getting an entire Blu-ray movie in two seconds,” but the reality is that actual speed the average gigabit household receives is dependent on many more factors, any of which can gum up the works and cause slowdowns. Hence, the preference for a connection that’s slower, but features low-latency, low-jitter, and fewer error-rate connections.
Unfortunately, “consistent throughput” is not the kind of flashy language an ISP can use to drum up millions of customers. Easy to digest speed and feed numbers resonate more with the public than the idea of “less speedy, but more dependable.” Add to that the continuing development of the “Internet of Things” and the fact that no one knows how many more types of devices will be needing their little slice of the Internet connection in the next 5 to 10 years, and simply offering “gigabit service” seems like a clear winner. Of course, there’s also the elephant in the room that few dare mention: price. It’s telling that during Comcast’s 2-gigabit service announcement, its price was left unmentioned, while Google Fiber’s monthly cost remains on the expensive side. Gigabit may be the future, but has room for improvement in the way of accessibility, affordability, and reliability.