Who wants to pay $200 a month for the fastest residential Internet money can buy? Fearless Comcast customers, that’s who. “Fearless” in the sense that they’d have to be utterly unafraid to throw hundreds of dollars in monthly access fees after speeds they’ll only see in ideal client-server scenarios.
But if you’re feeling intrepid (and, you know, cash-flush) Comcast says its “Extreme 105” Internet package is available from today, offering download speeds of 105Mbps with upload speeds of 10Mbps. It’ll set you back $105 a month (isn’t that cute) if you buy it as part of Comcast’s “Triple Play” service bundle, or an even more impressive $199.95 if you’d rather surf solo.
Imagine what you might do with 105Mbps (you know, that won’t get you arrested). Like: Download a 4GB high-definition movie in five minutes. Or a 1.5GB standard-definition movie in two. How about a 300MB SDTV show in 20 seconds? Or your average 10-song compressed MP3 album in just three?
Trouble is, the speed-claims-to-actualities ratio is all over the place. In the UK, the disparity between rated and actual broadband speeds is such that watchdog groups run sanctioned investigations. So while Comcast claims you can “play online interactive games, send and receive email attachments, shop, and update social networking Web pages faster than ever before,” you’ll want to be mindful of the Slowest Link Rule–also known as the Actual Speed Equals Pokiest Game/Movie/Music Server X Edict.
What we need is some sort of vendor speed rating that gauges vendor pipelines and server load capacity so we know before signing up for something like Comcast’s service whether a preferred online destination has what it takes to keep up with our sleek new cyber-ride. Sure, it’ll never happen, but then so many otherwise intelligent, consumer-angled ideas rarely do.