SALT LAKE CITY — How fast is 10-gigabyte internet service?
Well, you could download a 4K movie (roughly four times larger than a 1080p movie or around 35 gigabytes) in less than 30 seconds.
Or, you could stream around 1,700 movies simultaneously.
Really, it's service so fast that an average user (or family of users) would likely never approach anything close to maxing it out, no matter what they were streaming, gaming or running.
And, it's now a service speed option for any resident on UTOPIA's network, which includes around 80,000 households in 11 Utah cities.
"It's essentially the fastest internet service speed you can get in the U.S.," said UTOPIA Fiber Executive Director Roger Timmerman. "There are a couple of other companies offering it in the country, but we're proud to join the group of the fastest fiber providers."
He said the initial pricing of the service, coming in around $200-250 per month, is also the lowest in the country for that level of service speed.
Timmerman said while at the moment it's likely more bandwidth than most customers could ever utilize, there are applications on the horizon that could make this fast connectivity more relevant and useful.
"You probably don't need to look any further than the (Consumer Electronics Show) that's going on right now to see where we might be headed," Timmerman said. "This is a connection that would support 8K video streaming and the upcoming hi-resolution virtual reality applications that companies like HTC are showcasing."
Timmerman said the expanding bandwidth "hunger" of new applications and the growing realm of wired home appliances and devices, the so-called Internet of Things, could make 10-gig residential service seem a lot less indulgent than it sounds right now.
Xmission founder/CEO Pete Ashdown, whose company is one of the first two service providers available to UTOPIA customers to offer access to the super-service, said it's hard to imagine a need for 10 gigs to a residential customer, but sometimes it's not about "need."
"It’s kind of like the Lamborghini of bandwidth," Ashdown said. "It's a very powerful engine, but you need the highly tuned car to go with it."
For customers who want to jump on board with the new service speed, Ashdown said they'll need to spring for some additional equipment to fully utilize the connectivity, which can get pricey fast.
"Most consumer hardware cannot even handle a gigabit (one-tenth of the new UTOPIA offering)," Ashdown said. "When you're talking 10 gigs, it can get expensive."
Ashdown noted there were likely a few users, such as network administrators for example, who may want to test equipment from home for whom the 10 gigs would be a more practical consideration. But he, like Timmerman, acknowledged it's hard to anticipate what future consumer applications may require and that, after staring Xmission with a T1 line (that operates at around 1.5 mBps) and seeing what current usage needs are, he'd hesitate to say pshaw the future utility of 10-gig service speeds.15 comments on this story
For some European countries, their vision of the future includes a potential need for ultra-high speed internet connectivity and, to that end, Finnish company Nokia is partnering with Starman, a Baltic States internet provider, in a project to wire Estonian residential customers for 10-gig service. Tech website ZDNet published a story earlier this month that highlighted the project and noted that the new service would accommodate Estonian customers utilizing a single connection point to cover the big three needs of voice, broadband internet and television with enough bandwidth allowance to "future-proof" how those needs may evolve.