I’ve always been something of an early adopter. I have, for several years now, been more than willing to adopt a high-speed Internet connection at home. And for those same several years I have been foiled by high-speed access providers, who appeared to be in something of a race to be the last to offer service in my neighborhood.

The race is over. I’ve now been using Time Warner’s RoadRunner high-speed cable service for eight weeks. And while I’ve heard a number of stories suggesting that Time Warner is a less than reliable ISP, I’m happy to report that my cable-based service has been exceptionally reliable, and speedier than even I might have expected. The only glitch thus far has been a temporary overload of the RoadRunner POP mail server… I’m not certain if that was a question of growth exceeding capacity, or whether some enterprising hacker was playing games with their services [the problem did appear rather suddenly, and its end was just as abrupt.]

Out of the box the 3Com Home Connect cable-modem offered throughput between 400 and 700 kbps. After tweaking my computer’s network stack I’ve been able to achieve throughput that tops out at nearly 2400 kbps… that’s 2.4 megabits per second, or 900 kbps better than a T1. Over the course of the day I average about 1200 kbps. Not bad. Not bad at all.

So… I’ve got broadband. Now what? Frankly there’s not a whole lot of sites that provide content geared toward the broadband user… or at least not a lot of sites with content that I’m terribly interested in. Sure, I had to spend some time at adcritic. And I found some nifty bits of microcinema at atom films.

On the whole, I’m finding that the value in a broadband connection isn’t found in browsing sites that offer bandwidth-slurping, rich media. Instead, my high-speed connection has proven far more valuable in making normal sites – ostensibly created for the mainstream, dial-up user – finally usable. No more worrying about pages with unoptimized images. No concerns about whether network latency will scramble a simple audio stream into a herky-jerky mess. And no more starting a download before I go to bed at night, hoping that it will have completed by the time I wake in the morning.

Broadband access isn’t the key to an exclusive new class of service. Instead, it’s the key to making all the services that exist today far more usable than they’ve proven to be via dial-up.

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