Personal Computing: The Need for Speed on the Internet

January 1999
by Reid Goldsborough

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Virtually everybody wants faster Internet access. A new study by the Yankee Group, a market research firm based in Boston, Massachusetts, revealed that 84% of those online feel a need for more speed. Web sites laden with graphics and other special effects can slow even a screaming new PC down to a crawl. The problem is a short supply of “bandwidth.” Most business and home users are limited by the amount of data that conventional phone lines and modems can transmit. The following are some of the current solutions that offer greater capacity.

Access via Cable or a DSL Line I’ve been using the @Home cable Internet service (, available from Comcast, TCI and Cox in the US and Canada, for nearly a year now, and it makes connecting to most Web sites nearly as fast as using software programs that reside on your own computer’s hard disk or your company’s network fileserver. Download speeds typically range from 1.5 to 3 megabits (million bits) per second, which is up to 65 times faster than today’s speediest conventional modems. Cable Internet access typically costs about twice the $19.95 per month fee of conventional Internet access. Comcast charges an installation fee of $149 plus $39.95 per month for Comcast cable TV customers or $49.95 per month otherwise. Along with the cable Internet service provided by cable TV companies, the other major technology battling over the digital future is the digital subscriber line (DSL) se…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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