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Everyone wants good internet speed. But what's considered good is relative to each household and its internet needs. 50 Mbps for downloads may be fast internet speed for some. Others, however, may opt for multi-gig plans with speeds as high as 2,000 or 5,000 Mbps.

It’s therefore logical to wonder how much internet speed do you need for online activities that you routinely perform. What is a good internet speed for your household? How can you determine if you’re getting adequately fast internet?

In this article, we will try our best to help you learn about how fast an internet connection you must have. Plus, we will guide you about how to determine the speed you require, by taking into consideration key factors such as the number of connected devices in your household, and the type of activities members of your family routinely conduct. So, let’s get started!

Find the Internet Plan Right for You in 4 Steps

  1. Take a speed test, so you know what speed you’re getting right now
  2. Calculate the speed you need based on the number of devices that connect to your home network
  3. Run a ZIP search and browse plans available in your area
  4. Speak to professionals, get recommendations, choose, and place your order.

What Is a Good Internet Speed?

In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) set the benchmark for the minimum internet speed of a broadband connection at 25 Mbps for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads. However, in 2022, FCC proposed raising the minimum internet speed metric to 100 Mbps for downloads and 20 Mbps for uploads.

If there are just a couple of internet user at home, and you indulge in online activities like casual surfing, shopping, scrolling social media feeds, and watching Netflix, FCC’s minimum recommendation for broadband speed—which is 25 Mbps—would be enough for you.

But with more than a couple of devices commonly connecting to in-home Wi-Fi networks and the nature of routine online activities becoming more and more demanding, a good internet speed, nowadays, is one that offers downloads in the 100 Mbps range or above. As for the upload speed, it must be around 10 Mbps or higher. Interestingly, the average download speed in the U.S. hovered around the 100 Mbps figure in 2022―98.4 Mbps to be precise, according to Statista.

Upload Speed vs Download Speed

  • Upload speeds tell you how fast your internet connection can transfer data from your device to the destination server over the internet.
  • Download speeds tell you how quickly your internet connection can retrieve data from a server to your device.

Why Is Internet Speed Important?

From the user viewpoint, internet speed is a concern because it plays a major role in the efficient completion of any task—and in turn, affects productivity levels.

Let’s make it clearer by using a simple daily life example. You could boil water on a stove with low gas pressure, but having a higher gas pressure helps you boil the same amount of water quicker, and get the job done in lesser time. Now, hold that thought there, and link it with the speed of an internet connection. If you want to stream a one-hour show, you could do so at a slow speed—content will surely download, but you would have to put up with that endless buffering loop. While at a faster speed, you could enjoy a seamless video stream and have a worthwhile online experience.

internet speed

So, yes speed is definitely the one main aspect, which is of great significance in how your internet experience pans out―and it also acts as the most obvious gauge that helps evaluate how good or bad the performance of an internet connection is.

With that said, remember the internet speed is linked with other core aspects such as the bandwidth and latency, which in turn are entwined with the type of the connection.

What Factors Determine Internet Speed

Connection Type

Connection Type

The connection or service type is the base-line factor when it comes to determining what kind of internet speed you can expect. For instance, fiber optic, coaxial, and twisted copper, cables―all bring their inherent characteristics to the table, which in turn affect the performance of the internet connection, inclusive of the speed.



This is the maximum capacity of a communication network to transfer data from one end to another in one second. Think of it as a highway. The more lanes there are, the greater the number of cars that can pass through any point in one second. Fiber optic cables have the capacity to accommodate a lot more “lanes’ than other cable types.



This is how long it takes for a bit of data to travel across the network from one endpoint to another, and come back. Measured in milliseconds, latency is caused mostly by distance and network congestion. Latency should preferably be under 150 ms. Fiber optic cables allow data to travel not only a lot faster but much farther, relative to other types of cables.

So you see, essentially, it is the connection type that determines how fast the internet speed could be. The type of cables utilized tell how fast a data transfer rate, and how low a latency you can expect.

Fiber optic cables are known to have the most capacity and support the most bandwidth, they use light pulses to transfer data, and allow data to travel over long distances without degradation―reason why a fiber optic connection supports multiple devices at the same time, and delivers top internet speeds with ultra-low latency, resulting in an impeccable online experience.

It is therefore important to know how many devices you will be running on the connection, and what type of applications you’ll be using the internet for. If you have a fair idea of that, you can opt for the right service type that is likely to deliver the speed you’re looking for, as well as get you the best value for your money.

Let’s now take a look at what is good internet speed for you.

Determine Your Ideal Internet Speed

The best download and upload speeds for you depend on the nature of your online activities. If you work from home, often stream high-resolution videos, and routinely play online games, you'll probably need more internet speed than someone who casually surfs the Web, scrolls social media platforms, and relies on a cable TV subscription for entertainment.

Different activities demand different internet capabilities, and it is reasonable that you only pay for what your unique set of needs requires. Take a look at this table to get some perspective:

Activity Minimum Speed (for a single user) Recommended Speed (for a single user)
Email 1 Mbps 1 Mbps
Web browsing/Streaming music 1-3 Mbps 5 Mbps
Social Media/SD streaming 3 Mbps 10 Mbps
Video calls/HD Streaming 5 Mbps 25 Mbps
Online gaming 5 Mbps 100 Mbps
4K streaming 25 Mbps 50 Mbps

Another critical factor to consider in your search for a good internet speed is the number of users and devices connected to your network at a time. Your household size may be 2 persons, but it could be hosting 6 to 7 devices—smart TVs, laptops, gaming consoles, and more. If you consistently use these devices, then you will have to ensure your internet connection offers sufficient bandwidth to meet your need for speed.

What Is Considered Fast Internet?

Download speeds of 100 Mbps and higher are considered fast as they can handle most online activities, such as learning remotely, HD streaming, and online gaming, on multiple devices. That's the real, tested, internet speed of 100 Mbps or up, not the advertised plan speed of 100 Mbps. If your internet plan mentions max speeds up to 100 Mbps, chances are the actual/experienced speeds will be lower, particularly if you connect multiple devices over a Wi-Fi connection.

For the fastest internet connection, go for a plan that advertises gigabit speeds―940 Mbps or higher.

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What Is a Fast Upload Speed?

When it comes to upload speeds, 10 Mbps or higher is generally considered fast. It is adequate for handling daily uploading activities for the standard user – inclusive of telecommuters―while upstream speeds in excess of 10 Mbps are a pure delight for all online gamers.

As you can see, in the case of upload speeds too, the ideal benchmark for multi-device usage is higher than the FCC standard of 3 Mbps. Yet with 3 Mbps, a single modest uploader may not face any hiccups. You must, therefore, assess what is the extent of your uploading activity and how many users would engage at any given time. This evaluation will tell you what upload speed you must look for.

Estimated Time to Upload a Short Video

Here’s how long it would take to upload a 0.5 GB short video at various speeds.

1 Mbps → 1:09:54

3 Mbps → 0:23:18

5 Mbps → 0:13:58

10 Mbps → 0:06:59

30 Mbps → 0:02:19

50 Mbps → 0:01:23

100 Mbps → 0:00:41

500 Mbps → 0:00:08

Estimated Time to Download a Video

Here’s how long it would take to download a 4 GB file at various speeds.

1 Mbps → 9:32:39

10 Mbps → 0:57:15

25 Mbps → 0:02:19

50 Mbps → 0:22:54

100 Mbps → 0:05:43

200 Mbps → 0:02:51

400 Mbps → 0:01:25

1000 Mbps → 0:00:34

How to Get Fast Internet?

With the introduction of fiber optic technology, much has altered in the world of internet service providers (ISPs). With light signals transferring data at ultra-fast speeds via a fiber-optic line, what you get is the fastest internet possible—a connection that is hard to beat.

  • In the U.S. most countrywide ISPs are providing 100% fiber-optic internet to subscribers in select regions.
  • These internet connections deliver symmetrical speeds i.e. download and upload speeds are the same.
  • Speeds go as high as 1000 Mbps, although the likes of Ziply Fiber and AT&T are also giving out a 5000 Mbps fast residential connection where possible.
  • The only downside of a pure fiber-optic connection is its limited availability, and to an extent the cost involved. Albeit, the cost factor is now more in line with cable internet than was the case a few years ago.

The fastest internet speeds are not only available over a pure fiber-optic connection, but you can get speeds as high as 1000 Mbps for downloads from cable providers.

  • Spectrum, Mediacom Cable, Cox Communications, Astound Broadband powered by Wave, Xfinity from Comcast, and more internet providers have upgraded their existing coaxial cable systems and now use Fiber to the Loop.
  • For the most part, data transfer occurs over fiber optic lines, and it is only in the figurative “last mile” that coaxial cable lines are used to deliver download speeds comparable to a fiber internet connection.
  • Such fiber-powered cable broadband connections are currently the favorite choice of millions in the U.S. because they bring the fastest speeds and are easily accessible.
  • The downside, however, is low upload speeds. For example, with 1 gigabit for downloads, you may get upload speeds ranging from 35 to 50 Mbps only.

With pure fiber optic as well as hybrid fiber-coaxial internet connections, you can enjoy the best speed for streaming with absolutely zero hindrances—and you can browse and download at the best internet speed regardless of the number of connected devices.

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What is Slow Internet Speed?

FCC has set the minimum download speed standard at 25 Mbps because it allows comfortable access to the internet for routine modern-day applications. You can set up a decent Wi-Fi network too; and connect more than one internet-enabled device—the nature of usage and number of connected devices will however remain limited. If however you have a big family and many devices to connect, 25 Mbps download speeds would prove slow—since it is basically a minimum recommendation by the FCC.

Slow Internet

Yet again, we circle back to the fact that your usage is key to defining what slow internet speeds are. For some 25 Mbps would be fast, and for others slow. As we said earlier, you must know what you need the internet for, and how many users would connect to the network.

Technically speaking, from the FCC viewpoint, anything less than 25 Mbps would be deemed slow internet!

Which Types of Connection Deliver Slow Internet Speeds?

Many residential and commercial places in remote rural areas are still forced to use types of internet connection that are more likely to be slower i.e. dial-up internet and traditional DSL.

  • The speed delivered by a dial-up internet connection is so slow you can never visit websites that use Flash. Moreover, downloading files also means a long wait because of the slow internet speed. The approximate rate, at which data transfer occurs over a dial-up connection barely surpasses 56 Kbps.
  • Similarly, a DSL (Digital-Subscriber-Line) connection is also considered an excellent option for rural areas because of competitive prices and widespread availability. While some DSL providers are capable of delivering an internet speed that meets the low end of cable and fiber-optic connections, most households have access to DSL internet speeds that would not even qualify as broadband internet—25/3 Mbps.

Take the Internet Speed Test

Are you still not sure what internet speed you need to stream your Netflix favorites so that you don’t find yourself staring at the buffering loop on the screen? Don’t worry! It is not easy to determine the exact internet speed you need for a specific activity. But you can sure get a good approximation based on a few factors.

  • First of all, we’d recommend you use an internet speed testing tool to determine if you are getting the same speed as you have been promised by your ISP.
  • If the speed test gives you a reading close to the speed you expect, then you need to upgrade to a higher speed tier, because the issue is not with the connection, rather the usage level.
  • And in this case, we would suggest you take a look at the usage of the internet in your household—see how many devices are connected simultaneously and what kind of online activities are conducted in general. For better accuracy you can use a speed calculator.
  • Armed with this information, you can discover the internet speed you need for your home. And, once you know what speed range you must look for to fulfill your needs, you can check out internet service providers operating in your area, browse through their plans and packages, and pick the one that perfectly matches your internet connection requirements!

Concluding Words

The world of the internet is all about good speed. Now that you know the factors which distinguish slow and fast internet speeds, you can make a wise decision. Always remember one simple rule: the faster, the better.

If you have taken our internet speed test, and calculated the speed you require, you’ll be quite clear about what you need. All you then need to do is call at 1-855-349-9328 to learn about the fast internet speed plans from providers serving your neighborhood, and place your order. Take our word, you won’t feel disappointed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the average internet speed in the U.S.?

According to the FCC’s latest 2023 data, almost 92.2% of American households have access to internet speeds of 100 Mbps. Of course, this average keeps changing, and it may not reflect your internet experience.

What’s a fast download speed?

Download speeds of 100 Mbps can be considered fast for the average American home with standard internet usage.

What is a good internet speed for web surfing?

A typical web page may require a minimum speed of 1 Mbps to load. For a smooth web surfing experience, we’d recommend a speed of 5 Mbps for a single user.

What is Mbps?

Mbps stands for megabits per second. It is used to measure bandwidth and denotes the maximum data transfer rate of an internet connection. So, if you’ve a plan that delivers download speed up to 100 Mbps, it means this connection can transfer 100 megabits (12.5 MB) of data per second.