Originally Posted by Ken H
Most cable systems Internet bandwidth is not affected by other users in the neighborhood. If you're paying for a specific speed tier and are not getting it, call and have them fix the problem.
Unless there is a technical problem in the area you are living in, forget about how the system works and simply look at the speed and price, and make a decision on that and any other issues you feel are important like if a contract is required, and other.
Not true at all, most(if not all) cable internet is very affected by your neighbors because bandwidth is shared in a local area.
You will see drops in max speeds at peak usage times, particularly in the evenings.
How fast you get in reality really depends and can depend on where you are, signal strength, etc, so I wouldn't put much stock in the actual speeds advertised, and either ask neighbors or friends near you or do other research to see what kinds of speeds you actually could expect to get.
My cable-internet speed (Comcast) varies by maybe 5-10 mbps from a high of around 25mbps(down), generally slowing to about 15mbps during peak evening hours.
It's really difficult to say how much max you'd really be getting for an advertised 14-15mbps speed, and then how much that might slow during peak hours. If you really do get close to 15mbps as advertised, I would be pretty surprised if it dropped lower than 6mbps during heavy hours.
But also don't forget that just because it's fiber or DSL, don't assume that you will always be getting consistent speeds either. A lot of times providers still oversubscribe their infrastructure, because it's not likely that everyone will all be doing the most bandwidth heavy things all at the same time, so even on bandwidth that doesn't appear to be inherently shared in the way that neighborhood cable internet is shared, is still in effect being shared by many people. This is part of the advantage of some higher-priced business-class internet service, is not being glommed onto an oversubscribed network that can still bog down during heavy times.
Presumably you're more concerned with download speeds, cable has relatively slow upload, probably equivalent to what you'd get from ATT, etc, so if you are hosting something where upload bandwidth is more important, then obviously pay attention to those numbers, but most people are not concerned about that.
And you'll also want to know if there are other restrictions or issues, for instance Comcast has a monthly data cap, which is kind of lame.
But again, it's kind of hard to say what you'll really be getting in your particular area, which depends on many things. And then on top of that, you're really the only one who knows what you really need. A lot of people would be very satisfied with just a couple mbps, so you may not need to pay for more speed if you don't need it. If you're just an internet gamer for instance, you don't need that kind of bandwidth generally.