Anyone who thinks his 30 Mbps basic broadband package from his local service provider will cover his needs for much longer may be fooling himself. Even individuals lucky enough to have business-class speed may be disillusioned.
According to a recent study completed by trade group NL Kabal and Cable Europe, the average broadband download speed consumers will demand in a short six years will reach 165 Mbps. That is greater than five times the average speed consumers currently access, and an apt report at Geek.com figures, "We're all doomed."
Although the NL Kabal and Cable Europe study appears to deal with figures associated with broadband speeds available in Europe, customers are well aware of their connection speeds in the U.S. For the lucky few tied to Google (News - Alert) Fiber's 1 Gbps connections, they may be able to keep pace with their demand for high-definition streaming video, speedy file transfers, and video and audio chat services, but the rest of the country may suffer the whims of national ISPs that control much of the market but deliver little for consumers under their wings.
The study describes what it defines as the average "sufficient provisioned speeds" available to consumers in 2013. The study, according to ISPreview's analysis of the report, estimates that those speeds averaged 15.3 Mbps download and 1.6 Mbps upload. Furthermore, it indicates that it expects consumer demand for broadband speeds to "grow exponentially" by 2020.
In total, this exponential growth is expected to equal a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40.3 percent download and 43.9 percent upload. Geek.com continues the analysis by stating that, by 2020, households will download 8 Gb and upload 3 Gb of data every day.
Without a bold commitment on the part of ISPs—both in Europe and the U.S.—reaching those download and upload marks could remain a pipe dream. Google Fiber and similar broadband services popping up around the U.S. could help those citizens lucky enough to get in on such deals, but recent analysis of the average U.S. download speed—marked at 20.77 Mbps—hardly gives hope to anyone without that access. A similar study in the U.K., ISPreview comments, places its average download speed at 17.8 Mbps.
Of course, some people will be willing to wait out large file downloads for as long as necessary, and that pattern may continue to solidify itself as normal. Power users, though, especially people demanding quick access to various media for work and play, may find themselves attempting to bite off more than they can possibly chew.
Edited by Maurice Nagle