How much internet speed do you need? 73% of us have no clue

A new survey from Allconnect adds that two in five Americans don't even know what speed they're paying for.

Ry Crist Senior Editor / Reviews - Labs
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
Expertise Smart home technology and wireless connectivity Credentials
  • 10 years product testing experience with the CNET Home team
Ry Crist
2 min read
Laptop Internet Speed Test
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Plenty of people wonder how much internet speed they actually need at home -- now a new survey suggests that a lot of us don't even know what speed we're actually paying for, either.

Released earlier this week, the report on internet know-how comes from Allconnect, a partner site of CNET under parent company Red Ventures. Among the key findings: 73% of respondents said they didn't know how much internet speed they really needed at home, while 36% of respondents -- nearly two in five -- couldn't say what speed they were paying for, to begin with.

Still, a majority of respondents expressed satisfaction with the speed of their connection -- 66% overall and, interestingly, 80% among respondents who didn't know how fast their own connection was.

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"This was a surprising finding," the report reads, noting that internet providers are notorious poor performers by most customer satisfaction metrics. "This leads us to believe that the problem is not with the broadband connections themselves, but the billing and customer service issues that come along with them."

As for your internet connection, and the question of how fast it should be, the FCC defines the term "broadband" as anything with download speeds above 25 megabits per second and upload speeds above 3Mbps, but that's a very slow standard, particularly for homes with multiple internet users, or for anyone who needs to videoconference regularly for work or for school. There's bipartisan support for raising that standard to 100Mbps for both downloads and uploads -- ideally, you'd want a connection at least as fast as that, but those sorts of speeds still aren't universally available

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Allconnect's study was conducted by the market research firm YouGov from May 14 to 17, with a total sample size of 1,214 adult respondents in the US.