The internet began in a slow turtle crawl back in the 1990s. 56K internet wasn’t just slow. It tied up phone lines and kicked up quite a fuss of static when it connected. Those days are the dark ages of internet use, and if recent reports of 5 Gbps networks are any indication, they’re as far behind us as the 1990s themselves. It’s straight speed from here on out.
Cable and fiber optic internet are both capable of producing speeds of about 1 Gbps, something that wouldn’t be unusual to see in a business network setup these days. Household internet speeds lag far behind that, averaging just 143 Mbps. Even those speeds are out of the question in rural areas in America which struggle to get any cable or fiber network options at all.
Still, the revolution continues, and multiple internet providers including wireless providers are devising technologies and plans that will make even multigig internet an affordable reality for most American households. The fact that the technology exists at all is already a staggering thought given the slower ISP speeds of the past. To grab a gig of speed, you would need 1,000 Mbps internet, in general terms. The prohibitive price point of this kind of internet has left most American households stuck back in the 50, 100, or at most 200 Mbps range.
Who’s Leading the Way?
Current internet multigig pioneers include:
- Verizon Fios
- Google Fiber
With such a long list of multigig providers, what’s the mysterious reason for most providers offering plans that fall in the 1 single gig or less range? It’s simple. Extremely fast multigig internet remains scarily pricey to the average household. For example, Xfinity Gigabit Pro plans start at $300 total and only go up to 3 Gbps, still not the max 5 Gbps some services offer. To many households struggling just to keep up with gas and food price increases, this can seem as far away as fantasy island.
How Much Does Multi Gig Internet Speed Really Cost?
Xfinity is on the higher end of the price spectrum, but you’ll still see some intimidating multigig internet prices across the board. AT&T has a 5 Gbps upload and download speed plan under the banner of AT7T Fiber 5000. At $180 a month, it’s not as much as Xfinity’s plan, but you have to remember that prices just start at $180. They also go up much, much higher, and the closer you get to 5 Gbps, the closer you are to having to bail out of multigig internet altogether because of the price point. Many businesses have taken advantage of these speeds because businesses tend to make money from their internet connections. Tech companies especially want and need to have the quickest internet speeds.
Google Fiber 2 gig internet is set at $100 a month for a starting price, and it can go much higher depending on your needs. Ziply Fiber 2 starts at $120, and their Ziply Fiber 5 gig plan goes all the way to $300. Pricing here is obviously the big reason that people are shying away from the services. Compared to what the average household internet user needs, the price of 5 gigs just isn’t worth it yet.
For now, businesses are the primary customers for multigig fiber optic services. As the services become more affordable to maintain, possibly with new technologies on the horizon, the average household user may at some point see a lightning fast 5 Gbps internet service become the more affordable norm. As we’ve seen in the past 20+ years, technology moves at speeds the average human isn’t really equipped to comprehend. We went from dial-up, to DSL, to cable, to fiber optic internet in such a short span of time that it’s amazing to look back on it all.