Internet speed question

So, my parents have Xfinity cable, internet and phone (for $237 a month after all takes and fees. Going up to $247 next month). They are thinking about cutting out cable and maybe the landline.

When they called Xfinity to get prices for internet and maybe phone without cable, they were told that the 200Mbps internet they have currently is not enough for them. The guy on the phone said they really need 400Mbps.

I call BS on that. From what I read, streaming HD video requires 5Mbps to 10Mbps. So, two TV’s requires 20Mbps. Other than that, just surfing the web on two laptops and smartphones. The 50Mbps plan that I am on seems to be good for what they need (although when they called, the guy said that 100Mbps is the minimum speed that offer, even though I have 50Mbps).

What do you think? 100Mbps (or 50Mbps if they offer it) should be plenty, right?

P.S. Xfinity is the only option for internet speeds over 5Mbps in our area.

I have streaming video and VOIP phone on a 15Mbps DSL account. Works fine for me.

I might have a problem if I was trying to run 3 or more video streams at the same time, but 2 is no problem.

50 Mbps would be plenty.

I got along just fine on Centurylink DSL at 7mbps for a good long while. Granted, I’m a single person but I stream a LOT while also surfing on my laptop. I went ahead and upgraded to Centurylink gigabit fiber when it came available and I have my price locked in at $65/month forever so long as I keep it on autopay. Xfinity is a bunch of ripoff artists and I know this empirically, having been a customer service rep for Spectrum in the same town as the major Xfinity call center–all the movement of agents was from Xfinity to Spectrum and every one of those agents hated Xfinity with a purple passion due to the completely unrealistic expectations for upselling they had to deal with. So yeah, good luck!

We have three adults and two children all watching Netflix, Disney+, YouTube simultaneously on a 100Mbps connection with no problems at all. I can’t imagine why any typical internet user needs any more than 100, sure faster download speeds are nice, but your parents will be fine on the 200 they have or less.

$237 per MONTH? That’s insane. Are these the prices in the US? I pay that for a full year - albeit only getting 50Mbps. But that seems quite fast to me.

400Mbps is way way more than they will need. As you say, you can stream TV in full HD with probably less than 10Mbps.

The $237 a month is for Internet, cable and phone. That’s the package deal. And yes, we know Xfinity is ripoff artists.

I expect that you could cut that in half, even with a Netfix, Hulu, Youtube TV and VOIP subscriptions.

You have it. I have 60Mbps now, and it’s fast enough for a couple 4k streams plus some casual surfing. HD is no problem.

It’s also good to keep the lowest amount you are comfortable with because the data caps don’t usually scale. The more bandwidth you have, the more likely you are to use it. Sites may scale up to try and fit. I find it funny that the data caps actually provide a perverse incentive for buying a lower tier.

As for the lowest tier? They might be telling the truth, as what is offered often varies by specific area. It’s also possible that your tier is being grandfathered in, and is no longer offered. I know my old DSL tier is no longer offered: everyone gets the same max tier now, and the specific area (like how far away you are from the ISP) dictates how fast you can go.

I have a ‘measly’ 80 Mbps from Xfinity (may they rot in Nurgle’s pustulent hands for all eternity) and regularly have had 3 people playing MMOs while streaming a movie in HD for background noise at the same time.

They lie. They are paid to do it. One issue though, it may not make much difference in price - Xfinity is famous for raising costs as you cut services. Sometime dropping a service causes the loss of the bundle discount to the point of zero gain.

That being said, they could probably keep the phones, go with say, 100 Mbps and cut cable and still come out ahead, and pick up SlingTV + maybe Hulu for a variety of streaming entertainment.

Huh. While I don’t doubt that Xfinity rips people off, my experience with them hasn’t been bad. A few years ago I started with their 200 Mbps service (internet only) for $105 per month (believe me, this was a big improvement in speed, price, and service from CenturyLink). Since then, they have doubled the speed and dropped the price to $80. And I could bump the speed to 600 for $5 month more. I suppose their pricing varies quite a bit regionally. But here they seem to be phasing out the slower plans and offering higher speeds at reasonable cost.

So for the OP, I suggest just staying with the speed you have, and hope they they might bump the speed and/or drop the cost sometime in the future.

Raw speed is only one of the metrics to use in judging how much is enough. Latency is another big one, as well as the reliability of the link. For video, you need to have low latency and low packet loss…those are more important than the speed. There is also total usage, as some ISPs charge you if you go over a certain threshold…usually 5GB, though it varies.

That said, I agree with you…it’s BS. The person is trying to upsell them big time. I would say that assuming the latency and packet loss is acceptable, 50mb/s is plenty fast enough for most people who are just planning to stream some video from a few devices. If your folks are big-time gamers constantly downloading the latest game or huge patch and planning to stream from several different devices at the same time, then make sure they ask about total usage and get a plan that accounts for that.

5GB?? That’s can’t be right. That’s 2-5 hours of Netflix.

Anyway, limits aside, 100 Mbs is plenty – that’s what I have, and I’m on video calls while two people are streaming netflix or HBO max or whatever at the same time.

I don’t have any 4K streaming, though – not sure how big of a difference that makes.

I think that’s the basic package level for Xfinity. At least that’s what I seem to recall. I have unlimited so I don’t know what they are selling these days as the base package. I know you can upgrade your total usage, and that’s why I’d be asking about that rather than just the speed.

I can’t find any packages from Xfinity in my area that start at less than 1TB, but maybe it varies by area. (I don’t have Xfinity)

Not sure where you got the 5GB number from unless it’s very outdated. Comcast is currently 1.2 TB. There is no overage fee for the first time you exceed that. If you exceed it again after that though, they add 50 GB blocks at $10 each to your bill, with a $100 total overage cost limit.

Easily. Even when my kids still lived at home and were constantly downloading games and streaming movies we never had a problem with 100 Mbps.

We also never hit the 1.2 TB cap.

Since this is IMHO, I want to add that the ISP’s statements on speed requirements are just ludicrous. They are pushing people to 1 GBPS – when would you ever need that? When streaming like ten 4K things simultaneously? Are they getting ready for 8K?

Two people in my family moved to 1GBPS – they say it helps with the buffering phase. Yeah, right. What is it, a second to start a video at 100 MBPS? Some of that will be Netflix or whatever just getting ready to go.

I guess I would like it once or twice a year, when an epic game comes out with a 50 GB download, but I’m not that impatient that I can’t wait until tomorrow to start playing.

What a racket!

Gah…yeah, that’s what I meant. Not 5GB, but 5TB. Sorry about that.

If Netflix used up 5 TB in 5 hours, it would definitely be an argument for 1 Gbps service!

One thing to consider is upload speed. Xfinity hates to say what it is, usually because it is pathetically low. If going from 100 to 200 download also takes you from 5 to 10 upload, then it may be worth it.

If all that’s happening is streaming shows, browsing websites, etc., then upload speed isn’t very important. If you are doing lots of video conferencing, Facetime, work from home, some other things, then a low upload speed can be a big problem, even if downloads and streaming are fine.

I’m thinking of things like the 768kbps-up / 50Mbps-down DSL that Lumen (formerly CenturyLink, formerly Qwest, etc.) offers around here. That is good for all the streaming you want, but won’t support an HD video call.

Also, obviously check the pricing. Sometimes the pricing for a higher speed is identical or only $5 more.

It certainly does. Here in front range Colorado, I started with a 40 Mbps for $45. They’ve since repeatedly ‘upgraded’ me in both speeds and costs, proportionally. So I’m at 80 Mbps for $85 per month. So apparently I pay a bit more than you for about 20% less speed. Then again, it’s them or CenturyLink in my area, and I’d have to use their proprietary gear to use their service, which even with the expected $10/month or so savings, would take 2.5 years to pay off :roll_eyes: before I’d save anything.

Then again, they also bother me every month to get phones and/or cable with them, and promise big savings if I do, combined with “best-in-class service and coverage.” Ouch. Sorry, I must go take an aspirin, I have hurt my eyes from excessive eyerolls.