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  Toronto Gets Residential Fibre Optic Networking  
Posted 2006-11-22 by Tony Walsh
Yesterday I received a sales brochure from Bell Sympatico (my ISP) informing me that residential fibre optic internet connectivity is available in my area (after having been launched last summer). I first subscribed to high-speed internet access (DSL) in 1998, and currently subscribe to Sympatico's highest-speed DSL service, which runs me about $50 CAD monthly before taxes. For this price, I get ample transfer speeds, bandwidth and extremely rare service interruptions. Now, for $70 monthly, I could get 10Mbps download speeds and 50GB of bandwidth. But I won't. There's nothing wrong with my current service, which I believe gets me something like 3Mbps (it might be more, but the point is the speed isn't an issue). I am a hardcore gamer, but I'm not limited by my current connection--getting fibre optic isn't going to improve my situation much, considering most games aren't built to output unlimited bandwidth.

So why would anyone subscribe to "Sympatico Optimax?" Bell thinks you'll need that kind of speed to (and I quote):
  • Download a full-length movie at high speed and upload photos – at the same time.
  • Download CD- and DVD-quality music and videos.
  • Play high bandwidth video games online with improved response time.
The first two points are a bit silly. If you're downloading up to 50GB of movies and music each month, you are likely pirating rather than spending thousands of dollars per month at the iTunes store. The third point, as I mentioned, just isn't all that applicable. Today's games aren't putting out the kind of bandwidth that would require a fibre optic connection. The biggest two selling features aren't even mentioned in Bell's literature: Tell me if I have a dedicated IP address (DSL customers have dynamic IPs), and tell me what my upload speed is. Then maybe we can talk.
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