When the BTIG Research firm last October began covering the Internet pipe operator Cogent Communications , its report contained an amusing insight. Cogent’s last-mile business customers buy a service that offers 100 megabits per second. The average use by these customers, though, is only about 12 mbps, and barely “one or two dozen of their customers have ever reached 50% utilization of the 100 MB pipe,” says BTIG.We've had times in our house when several people are using the Internet pretty heavily all at once. Sometimes we have three high-bandwidth apps going simultaneously including a movie, a video game and a soccer game. I don't recall having much of a problem even under these conditions and that's with download speeds on the order of 16 MB.
Yet despite this demonstration of how little bandwidth customers actually use, Cogent also offers a one-gigabit service. “Interestingly, the usage of these customers does not likely differ materially than their 100 MB customers,” says BTIG....Ten Netflix videos running simultaneously wouldn’t even consume 4% of the capacity (1 gigabit) that Google Fiber provides its customers.
If I'm restoring a crashed hard drive, I have to download about 120GB from Mozy. Other than that once-every-two-years event, I can't think of anything that could even come close to taxing a 100 MB pipe.
What would I do with 1 GB speed? What in the world could I possibly consume that would take even 100 MB of throughput?