GREENSBURG – There’s an old saying that “slow and steady wins the race.” Those words of wisdom may be true about a lot of things, but internet speed is not likely one of them.

At a time when homes have multiple devices connected to the internet and so much of our daily activity is internet-driven, slow and steady can mean frustrating and exasperating.

Working for an internet provider, one of the most common things I overhear customers inquire about is internet speed. Customers often ask what kind of speeds they need in order to perform certain tasks. The answer usually depends on such things as how many users are in the household, and what kinds of tasks are being performed.

When recommending an internet speed, it’s important for the provider to understand your needs, but it’s also important for the consumer to know some terminology. For example, “Mbps” stands for megabits per second. This is the amount of data that can be processed in a given amount of time. A “Gig,” or “gigabit,” is the equivalent of 1000Mbps (in other words, it’s fast!).

With these definitions in mind, below are some general guidelines to help you choose an internet speed that suits your needs.

If you are:

Downloading a 4-minute song: This task takes 3 seconds at 10Mbps. At 100 Mbps, it will take .3 seconds. At a Gig, you’ll need just .03 seconds.

Downloading a 5-minute video: At 10Mbps this will take 26 seconds. You’ll need 2.5 seconds at 100 Mbps. It will take just .2 seconds at a Gig.

Downloading a 9-hour audiobook: In 1.5 minutes you can handle this job if you’re getting 10Mbps. At 100Mbps, it will take 9.2 seconds, and less than a second at a Gig.

Downloading a 45-minute TV show in HD: This will take about 9 minutes at a 10Mbps speed. Faster speeds make a difference, as it takes 50 seconds at 100Mbps, and about 5 seconds at a Gig.

Downloading a 2-hour movie in HD: This process goes from 60 minutes at 10Mbps to about 5 minutes at 100 Mbps. At a Gig, it will take just 25 seconds.

Downloading 100 hi-resolution photos: At 50Mbps, this process takes about 55 seconds. At 250 Mbps, it will take around 11 seconds. At a Gig, it can be done in about 3 seconds.

Downloading 100 songs: If you’ve got a minute, you can get this done at a speed of 50Mbps. In 250Mbps, you’ll need about 12 seconds. At a Gig, you’ll be done in 3 seconds.

The moral of the story is that speed does matter, at least when it comes to the internet. The quickest speeds are typically found in areas where fiber is available. These quicker speeds can make the difference between waiting for your movie to download and actually watching the show.

To learn more about speed recommendations the Federal Communications Commission offers some suggestions at

To learn more about fiber speeds from ETC, visit


Jenni Hanna works for ETC. She may be contacted via this publication at

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