Two (New) Questions to Ask about Internet Service

I’ve written several times over the years about the importance of checking internet service availability when buyers are evaluating homes to purchase. A good conversation today spurred two new things for me to advice my buyer clients to ask:

  • There’s internet here, but what’s the data cap?
  • How many devices do you currently use in your home, and how much data do you use each month?

This month, with three people in my house, we’ve used 302 Gigs. Last month, 786GB. Xfinity’s data cap is 1.2TB. It’s 10am, and just my wife and I are home, and there are 10 devices on my network. I’m awfully curious as to usage of my clients with 3 kids at home … particularly when we were in pandemic lockdown and everyone was zooming everywhere.

I’m posting this as much for you as for me; now I have a much better chance of remembering to advise my buyer clients to check and verify these data points, and for my seller clients in questionable internet service areas to note up front the maximum upload and download speeds.

Crossing fingers that the 2021 Infrastructure Bill will bring broad back to more, if not all.

“Neither precise details of the broadband section nor the text of the whole bill has been released yet. The White House said in a related statement that a $65 billion investment for broadband, out of $550 billion in new spending, would ensure that “every American has access to reliable high-speed internet,” comparing it to the electrification of the country a century ago.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, part of the Commerce Department, published a comprehensive interactive online map last month. The document shows how poorer, more rural and tribal areas generally don’t have affordable broadband access.

The Federal Communications Commission defines broadband as a download speed of 25 megabits per second and an upload speed of 3 Mbps. While 25 Mbps is generally sufficient for most uses, when such a connection is shared via a wireless connection and transmitted to multiple people using different devices, real-world speeds — particularly when videoconferencing is involved — are often slower and insufficient.

A draft copy of the 68-page broadband section of the infrastructure bill obtained by NBC News would establish a de facto minimum standard of 100 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up, and it would require that internet service providers have an eye toward even higher speeds, most likely through fiber optic service. In addition, it would require the federal government to establish a single website where consumers could determine whether they are eligible for low-cost broadband.”

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