I have worked in rural telecommunications since December of 1998. In those days, the internet was in its infancy, and we were excited that we had two T1s, one for redundancy, to connect us to the WWW. You can look it up, but I'll just put it here, "A T1 connection bundles together 24 64-kbps (DS0) time-division multiplexed (TDM) channels over 4-wire copper circuit. This creates a total bandwidth of 1.544 mbps. ("  Important to note,  at this time, most customers were connecting via dial-up modem, at 33.6 kbit/s (that would grow to a max of 56 kbit/s).

We added T1s until it was more cost-effective to purchase DS3s, at a whopping " 44.736 Mbit/s (45 Mb)"  (

Then, and this lasted for quite a bit, an upgrade to an OC3! Certainly this WWW  thing will be happy with that...I mean, it's "155.52 Mbit/s (payload: 148.608 Mbit/s; overhead: 6.912 Mbit/s ( Certainly we can grow our new shiny (now much  maligned) ADSL network on that!

No, the WWW thing was not happy with that. And ADSL, quickly aged out in favor of Fiber To The Home (FTTH). And VDSL, somewhat, its distance limitations make it challenging for rural use - currently, smarter people than I are working on methods to get more bandwidth out of copper.

Gigabit ethernet circuits (the next upgrade) turned into multiple gigabit ethernet circuits, and the demand for bandwidth continues to grow. Currently, from the data I have observed (often in real-time while troubleshooting customer's connections) the average customer will be happy with their service if you can provide a symmetrical (upstream and downstream rates are the same [not DSL*]) service of 25 mbps. Of course, that won't last long.

The current push by the FCC to "increase the national fixed broadband standard to 100 megabits per second for download and 20 megabits per second for upload," is an indication of how quickly broadband use is growing. The FCC "previously set the broadband standard at 25/3 Mbps in 2015 and has not updated it since,"  Source:  Though the data I am seeing today indicates that  25/3 is sufficient for  most households -  at the rate we are going (pun not intended)  we will outgrow that soon. Also, with the growth of cloud backup, video surveillance, smart devices, etc. - the 3 Mbps upload capacity is not enough for some households, and a lot of businesses.

These are exciting times for broadband infrastructure in the USA!

Last updated: 10.23.2023
Comment by "mpk," on May 1st, 2013 at 8:20 PM, yes it's "old," but it is still my favorite for explaining DSL issues to customers.

"If you try to download data, when the outbound pipe is full, then the outbound ACK (or acknowledge) packets can't get to the host you're downloading from in a timely manner. Since your ACKs don't get to that host, the remote server slows the packets it sends to you and the inbound pipe to a crawl as well. 

A fix would be to slow your outbound traffic. How to do that would depend on the type of upload you're doing. ...

You may want to schedule the uploads for sleep time, or when you're at work. (Time shift the uploads.)"