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Turns Out Only About Half of the U.S. Can Actually Stream Video From Netflix

the internet is serious business

If there’s an inherent bias in blogging, it’s that the blogger and their audience, are necessarily in a place that has a steady internet connection. Don’t got an internet connection? You’re way less likely to blog, read a blog, comment on a blog, or get into the ideas that regularly sweep the internet. The internet idea that’s probably most relevant to this particular news item?

That the world is ready for streaming, a la carte television to become the default way that folks get their cable subscriptions delivered to them.

This week the FCC released their eigth Broadband Progress Report, on the state of broadband internet service in the U.S., and they’ve collected some pretty interesting info. While broadband internet is available in 96% of American households, only 60% of Americans actually subscribe to the service. And of those 60%, only a minority of them actually get download speeds as high as 4 megabits per second, the minimum required speed for actual broadband as defined by the FCC. Most households are getting along with 768 kilobits a second. It’s hard to say whether this is because of subscriber preference, or because, well, many cable companies don’t exactly work very hard to guarantee that the speed they advertise is the speed you get.

As Livescience points out, the bare minimum download speed for Netflix videos is 500 kbps, and that’s for particularly poor quality video. Now, I can’t wait for the day when I can sign up for a television service that allows a la carte purchases of shows rather than bundles of channels, but at the same time, I couldn’t fault Netflix for their price increase when literally every company they need to deal with to remain solvent would rather they be out of business. If streaming internet video is simply not an option for the majority of Americans, the day of streaming access to popular television on a show by show basis may be further off than we’d like, and there may be some hurdles in the way that have nothing to do with big entertainment companies concerns over piracy or ad revenue.

(via Live Science.)

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