Author Topic: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?  (Read 30340 times)

PolarBeer

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Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« on: December 30, 2012, 04:51:17 PM »
I have a basic internet package included in the rent for my apartment, which is 5/2 Mbit/s. We do get quite fair prices for higher speeds because of the "discount" that we already have:

5/2 Mbit/s: Free
10/2 Mbit/s: $35
20/4 Mbit/s: $53  (I have this one and I like it)

Before you panic because of these prices, I live in Norway, where a good price for a non-discounted 10/1 Mbit/s DSL line would be around $60 a month. I have no problem "affording" the 20Mbit/s subscription (I won't go into my income here, maybe in another post, because the different CoL og tax system would probably confuse some). And in the Mustachian spirit, I'm guessing that my ability to "afford" it will still be questioned (*Braces self for incoming slaps*).

My question is not just which one you would choose, but what kind of minimum speed do you need in order not to be annoyed by it. For now, its just me using the connection.

This is my typical usage:
Streaming music (a lot)
Skype (no video)
Streaming news video (CSPAN, PBS, and the national providers here, some of them have HD)
Working with google docs
Steam (I don't buy games compulsively)
Some very light MMO playing, no competitive shooters
Heavy browsing (20+ windows always open in different browsers)

Sooo.. How horrible would going down to 5Mbit/s be? Has anyone experienced a similar downgrade?
« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 04:53:15 PM by PolarBeer »

arebelspy

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2012, 04:53:59 PM »
I think you should be fine, depending on the gaming.

Why not try it for awhile and see?
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Daley

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2012, 05:14:14 PM »
I'm a firm proponent of not needing anything more than 3Mbps in these parts and operate at that speed with SDTV, phone, internet, web development, gaming, etc. all piped through the same connection, so yes. You can't do HD, but you don't need HD anyway. You should be fine.

PolarBeer

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2012, 05:44:00 PM »
arebelspy: I am tempted to try it, my current contract lasts for 3 more months, but I have to notify them in a month or so. And yep, I can upgrade later again. I just wondered if 5Mbit/s is a big problem these days (I used to have a speed similar to that but that's more than 5 years ago and usage habits tend to change over time without people realizing it). I googled bitrates for youtube, it seems I should barely be able to stream youtube in 1080p with 5Mbit/s, and I guess that streaming tv in HD (usually 720p) should be ok then (if I'm not doing anything else).

IP: Thanks, I had missed that thread, I will read through it for people's experiences. I admit that I really enjoy HD... but its of course a question of the price it comes at.

Yep, I guess I just have to try to find out if the savings are worth the hassle. I think I should be good with the 10Mbit/s plan at least.. I'm just a bit annoyed with the price structure and the significant jump up from the free one to 10Mbit/s. But I guess that's just how they make money...

PolarBeer

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2012, 06:30:11 PM »
Just to make clear, since I was rambling a bit - I will downgrade to the free one (from Apr 1 since I've paid for Q1 already) and I've decided to get by with it through the summer even if I should think its too slow. There might be a lesson or two about bandwidth management and to actually see for myself if the savings are worth the reduced speed rather than speculate about it (and paying while doing so!).

kudy

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2012, 07:04:51 PM »
As a self professed computer nerd and heavy internet user, I did fine on a 5/1 connection for years. I moved off of that provider a few months ago because of a new bandwidth cap, but it was perfectly fine.  I even share my connection with my neighbor.  The only advantage to a faster speed is when downloading something big... a new game, or game patches for example.

PolarBeer

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2012, 07:24:32 PM »
Thanks, that's a very useful perspective. I consider myself a computer nerd and a heavy user as well, and lately I've been talking to people who have way faster connections (30/50/100+) and then they bump it up one notch just because "it isn't that much". I've been feeling good about my own relatively cheap internet and tried to explain that they should need less than me. Well, I guess I might have some harsher advice for them the next time it comes up (and if I find that I can live on 5, maybe some friendly slaps as well!)

gooki

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2012, 12:07:18 AM »
A reliable 5Mb connection will do what you want.

Matt K

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2012, 07:10:26 AM »
5mb is plenty for pretty much anything a single user can do, even stream HD video. Music runs about 1megaBYTEs per minute of audio (much less for a highly compressed stream like Skype audio). Your 5 megaBIT connection will allow you to download roughly 0.6 megabytes per second. So for every minute of music you listen to, you are only using 2 seconds of bandwidth.

Similarly browsing won't be an issue for a single user, even with twenty windows open. Each page will be well under a megabyte. So even while streaming music, you would need to open 25+ big flashy web pages every minute to fill up your 5mb connection.

Playing games online transfers very little data, but they need to do it with very little delay (lag). Those delays are caused by all sorts of things (distance from your apartment to the main switching centre, switches used by your ISP, any filtering done by your ISP, etc). You'll get the same gaming experience with any high speed package from the same ISP.

The only place you'll notice your 5mb connection is when you install new steam games. Steam has fantastic servers which will send you as much data as most connections (fibre not included) can handle. So while you are downloading a new game, you probably won't be able to do much else. The difference is that with the 5mb connection a 15gb game (a huge game, two retail DVDs) will take roughly 7 hours to download. Doing it on the fastest connection you listed will take just shy of 2 hours.

Most small games are between 500mb (14 minutes on the 5mb connection) and 2gb (1 hour). The vast majority of big release games are still under 9gb (one retail DVD), figure 5 hours for the latest shooter.

So, the only time you will be affected is when buying and installing big games. Are you willing to download new games overnight to save $50/month?

Crash87

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2012, 09:38:04 AM »
My rule of thumb is roughly 3mb/person. The only thing I know of that could need more than 3 is HD streaming.

Think of your internet connection as a highway in which each lane represents 3mb of your connection. The only reason you would need more lanes is if more people are driving on the highway.

I have 3mb and play plenty of games online and stream Netflix.

strider3700

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2012, 10:49:04 AM »
Are they all unlimited or have the same Cap?  The "slow" speed plans available here are quite limited in the monthly transfer limits.  With work alone I can easily exceed the lower plans so I'm currently in a 25 mb down 2.5 up  plan just to get the 250 gb/month limit.   I then signed up for some other free features that gets me an extra 50gb.   

Really though the lowest I can go to is 10mb down 512k up for $10 less a month so I'm pretty limited option wise anyway.

TLV

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2012, 11:15:02 AM »
We've been on 3 Mbps for some time now and have done fine with it. Streaming quality does vary, even from site to site (some youtube videos need to be turned down to 280p to stream smoothly, while hulu does fine with 720p), and we definitely can't stream on 2 computers at once, or stream while downloading something, so we make sure to do any large downloads at other times.

James

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2012, 11:31:40 AM »
We have 5mbps and can stream two Netflix and have one person browse the internet all at the same time.

Lag and reliability is the issue, and most service providers don't provide that information.  Sometimes my internet access slows down to a crawl, and when I talk to Charter (my provider) they just suggest I go up to 30mbps.  I tell them they are crazy, 5mbps is plenty they just need to not slow down below that.  I'd be fine with 3mbps, though I probably couldn't do two Netflix streams at that point.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2012, 11:46:25 AM »
The state of broadband in the US is a sad, sad story. I'm psyched that Google is throwing their millions at the problem and at least trying to shake things up.

Now for speed itself: like others have said, 5 should be plenty for one person. I am not a networking expert but it's quite obvious that some youtube videos do load a lot faster than others for folks in some locations. It seems to be the case on on less popular videos, because those are less likely to be cached on Google's CDN, which is set up geographically to be super fast for a maximum of people.

Most streaming applications are smart enough to prefetch, buffer, and request different qualities depending on the speed of your connection. Now if you are unlucky to have a provider with a data cap (another disgrace! consumers unite!), then you may consider planning a little in advance and download your larger items from your workplace.

BlueMR2

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2013, 10:47:54 AM »
I think you'll be just fine...  I only just upgraded from 28.8 kib/s dial-up to 1 mib/s DSL about 2.5 years ago.  Haven't yet found anything that I *can't* do on the DSL (vs all kinds of things I couldn't do on dial-up).  Streaming video works, audio's fine, downloads are a little slow but we don't bulk download tons of stuff.  Games are fine.  Even telecommuting works fine.

MountainFlower

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2013, 06:44:04 AM »
I would LOVE 5 Mb/s.  We only get 1.2 on a good day and pay $45/month.  We can stream netflix just fine, but you can't do anything else at the same time.   We're rural, but not THAT rural.  I'm about an hour from Boulder and Denver, so you'd think they could do better.

We don't do online gaming, so I can't say how that would work. 

gdborton

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2013, 08:23:15 AM »
Quote
The state of broadband in the US is a sad, sad story.

WHAT?!?   Feel sorry for the suckers in other countries paying $/data used or those with 2GB or even 500MB caps.  US broadband is amazing.

OP: you'll be fine for everything but new games, any pirating you might do, and patch day.

Bakari

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2013, 08:30:12 AM »
I play mmo (DCUO, a lot now that work is slow for the winter) and watch hulu and netflix regularly, with a (just tested, actual in practice) speed of 2.31 down / 0.43 up.  I'll admit the game occasionally lags a bit, but not so much I can't still dominate my opponents ;)
As to having 20 browser windows open at once, they aren't using bandwidth just by being open.  That will tax your system (mem esp) before it affects network traffic

dragoncar

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2013, 03:21:48 PM »
I'm on a free 3mbit right now and it is fine for one person.  It wouldn't be enough for, say, streaming netflix to a TV and simultaneously downloading a large file.  Over time, of course, resolutions will get higher.

For gaming, ping time is more important than bandwidth to a large extent.  Of course, ping tends to improve with a faster connection, but I say try out the 5 megabit.  You'll always have another chance to upgrade if you need to, right?

Paul der Krake

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2013, 04:13:55 PM »
Quote
The state of broadband in the US is a sad, sad story.

WHAT?!?   Feel sorry for the suckers in other countries paying $/data used or those with 2GB or even 500MB caps.  US broadband is amazing.
Oh yeah, those are screwed big time. But fear not, caps could very well become the norm here too. I guess I was spoiled in my youth because broadband in Europe is cheap and fast. Coming here, I expected the country that gave birth to all the tech giants would offer insane speeds at rock bottom prices.

Matt K

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2013, 07:40:13 AM »
Inspired by this thread, I cut my internet from 18mb to 6mb (still with 300gb cap). Savings of $10 a month. It's not much, but it all adds up.

chucklesmcgee

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2013, 10:12:27 AM »
Inspired by this thread, I cut my internet from 18mb to 6mb (still with 300gb cap). Savings of $10 a month. It's not much, but it all adds up.

Are you using comcast? Those speeds are just their "boost" speeds, did you know they bury their actual speeds deep int he fine print?

A 5mbit/s connection is just fine IF it's reliable and consistent. My apartment complex is lucky enough to be wired up with fiber connected directly to my ISP a block away. Speed checks always show it's within 1% of the promised speeds, which is incredible.

A true, consistent 5mbit/s is easily enough for streaming HD from youtube or netflix or amazon, which absent heavy uploading or downloading otherwise, is going to be enough for most users. If you have a lot of people in your house who like doing bandwidth heavy things like streaming movies while playing MMORPG computer games or say, you do a lot of bandwidth intensive things at once, you might have some issues at that speed.

Matt K

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2013, 11:50:37 AM »
Inspired by this thread, I cut my internet from 18mb to 6mb (still with 300gb cap).

Are you using comcast? Those speeds are just their "boost" speeds, did you know they bury their actual speeds deep int he fine print?

Thankfully, Comcast doesn't service my country. I'm using the very awesome indie ISP Teksavvy ( http://www.teksavvy.com ). I've got a cable connection where I own the modem (purchased used for $50 off CL). The last mile service is provided by Rogers, the local cable monopoly holder (and who I used to have my internet through).

On my current (will be *previous* in 24-48 hours) 18mb connection, I have consistent speed test scores of 21mb/s, and I always see 2.0 megabytes (16mb/s) sustained downloads from Steam, with peaks up to 2.2megabytes/s. I expect my 6mb down and 0.8mb up will be both "as advertised" and "sufficient".

Nudelkopf

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2013, 03:14:00 PM »
The state of broadband in the US is a sad, sad story. I'm psyched that Google is throwing their millions at the problem and at least trying to shake things up.
Haha, you're kidding? Try the internet in Australia. I can't believe uncapped internet even exists, without paying a butttonne a month!

Also, I'm currently getting ~12mbps, and it feels so freaking fast :D But out of a house of 4 uni students and a business upstairs, I'm the only one currently online.

urover

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #24 on: February 24, 2013, 11:32:43 PM »
Here in India, we pay ~$15 for a 0.5Mbps connection. You can upgrade to another plan which has a 15GB limit at 2Mbps after which it falls back to the same horrible 0.5Mbps speed. So, for me, 5Mbps is drool-worthily fast!

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #25 on: February 25, 2013, 12:51:30 AM »
Haha, you're kidding? Try the internet in Australia. I can't believe uncapped internet even exists, without paying a butttonne a month!

Have you checked out Dodo and TPG? I have Dodo and the total cost is $63/mo (would be $60/mo if I'd sign a 2yr contract), includes line costs (technically I think it's $33/mo for the line, and $30/mo for the DSL). Not sure what the speed would max out to be, but we're quite a ways from the exchange so we max out at just under 4mb/s. No bandwidth caps.

It's plenty fast for us. Wife can watch Netflix whenever she wants and it doesn't noticeably affect browsing speed. Sometimes a voice call will be a bit choppy, but that's to be expected (everyone we call is back in the US, sometimes the Australia-USA connection is congested; we could have a 200mb/s connection and still have issues in that case).

It's pretty similar to speed and cost back in Tennessee; if I remember it was just over $60/mo for about 6mb/s.

Nudelkopf

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #26 on: February 25, 2013, 02:59:58 AM »
Ours is capped, but I dint think we ever actually reach it to be honest. Anywhere else I've lived hasn't even been able to get broadband. The best telstra could offer us was about 1gb a month mobile stick thing for about $60 a month. With stupidly slow speeds and it'd drop out all the time. So if you leave a big city, internet in Australia sucks balls.

Spork

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #27 on: February 25, 2013, 11:08:55 AM »
This thread just makes me sad.

On a good day I get 800k down -- with a 6GB a month cap.  Attempts to attain such speeds for more than about 5 minutes results in slower and slower speeds.  Rural internet sucks.

Richard3

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #28 on: February 25, 2013, 04:46:30 PM »
If I kill a Norwegian and eat his iphone - his because killing a Norwegian woman would be a waste :) - do I get 5 Mbs Internet?

My usage is similar to yours, and I have survived quite happily on <1 Mbps connections. The only time I notice it is when using a remote desktop.

unplugged

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #29 on: February 25, 2013, 06:27:34 PM »
This thread also makes me sad......$42 a month for dial up speeds called DSL.... Darn you WIND!@#$%^
I was told the only way I would ever be able to watch youtube videos regularly or to use Netflix with WS was to move.

Nudelkopf

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #30 on: February 25, 2013, 09:09:01 PM »
I'm not exactly sure how the cell phone plans are over in Australia but I looked up virgin mobile and another company... Their rates were $30 (I couldn't tell if it was Australian dollars but I'd assume so >.>) for 1gb of data. I don't know how fast their network is, but for that price have you looked into using a tethered cell phone for your home internet?
Do you mean like just using a mobile phone? That's pretty shitty.. I'd rather pay 60$ and be able to use a proper computer. I'm sure some people get by, but I'm slightly more connected to the internet than a 21yo should be.

Sparky

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #31 on: February 25, 2013, 10:35:22 PM »
Another person who would be happy with 5Mbit at home. We are limited to just Shaw Cable (living in a small town in Alberta) at my home for internet services, and keep raising the prices without actually raising the service quality. It's getting to the point where its cheaper and fast just to your cell phone for data than using land line.


Left

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #32 on: February 26, 2013, 12:34:44 AM »
Do you mean like just using a mobile phone? That's pretty shitty.. I'd rather pay 60$ and be able to use a proper computer. I'm sure some people get by, but I'm slightly more connected to the internet than a 21yo should be.
I mean tether the phone to a computer, wired or wirelessly, then you can work on computer and use phone's data plan. I do that with my sprint phone once in a while

Ozstache

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #33 on: February 26, 2013, 01:56:46 AM »
Do you mean like just using a mobile phone? That's pretty shitty.. I'd rather pay 60$ and be able to use a proper computer. I'm sure some people get by, but I'm slightly more connected to the internet than a 21yo should be.
I mean tether the phone to a computer, wired or wirelessly, then you can work on computer and use phone's data plan. I do that with my sprint phone once in a while

I do that with my mobile phone quite often. In fact, I've used it tethered to my laptop daily while away on vacation for the last two weeks, saving heaps on the ridiculous short term internet access rates charge by hotels (well at least here in Australia). Both my wife and I have 2.25GB per month we can use and we are seriously considering dropping our ADSL connection because it is "enough" for us really.

Nudelkopf

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #34 on: February 26, 2013, 02:15:11 AM »
Oh, that's cool! I didn't know you could do that! :-)

Spork

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #35 on: February 26, 2013, 08:14:11 AM »
... but try it first at your house!  Have a friend bring one over that's on the same cell plan you'd use.

When I bitch about my 800k that dwindles to nothing... That is a cellular connection.  I don't tether, but have a dedicated cellular dongle attached to a small router.

Actual speed will vary by cell phone company/location/length of connection.  When mine gets really bad, I can "hangup" and redial and get better speeds for a short period of time.  I'm pretty sure they slow things down according to amount of bandwidth and number of tcp sessions.

Spork

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #36 on: February 26, 2013, 08:54:53 AM »
hm, wait you how do you guys use just 2.25gb/month with computer? I mean, I use around 500mb-1gb/day :S yeah, I like to stream video lol... but point being, you guys have it rough with data caps :S yeah not very mustachian... but with all the cable cutting advice, it pretty much assumes you have internet data caps high enough (or unlimited) to replace cable with things like streaming movies

my cap is 6gb.  This is a household of 2 adults.  We do no real video streaming.  Sure, there are a handful of 1 minute cute cat vids here and there, but no netflix stream.  We both don't have enough bandwidth to support a stream AND we would hit a cap if we did.  I actually have to watch it to make sure we don't go over (and I have some automated stuff that pulls my usage and graphs it).

We come very close to hitting our cap just with normal surfing.  But, we're both somewhat geeky.  Software updates alone can take quite a chunk.

Alex in Virginia

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #37 on: April 08, 2013, 08:17:49 PM »
Thanks to this great discussion, I became sold on the idea of going for a cheaper internet access plan from Comcast, my provider.

So, today I switched from a 12 mbps plan to a 6 mbps plan.  I'll save $15 a month, $180 a year.  Like it's already been said, every dollar counts!

Thanks, all!

Alex in Virginia

PolarBeer

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Re: Internet speeds - Can I live with 5Mbit/s?
« Reply #38 on: April 24, 2013, 05:39:30 PM »
I was planning to give you an update since I stopped paying for the internet service on April 1. But it turns out they forgot to adjust my speed(!). Still got a solid 20Mbit/s and no bill (it would have arrived in mid march normally).

I had mentally prepared myself for the downgrade and there's practically no chance I will upgrade and pay again if/when I do get the 5Mbit/s profile.

Thanks for the inspiration, I just improved my savings quite a bit and got a nice added bonus for now as well. :D