“Think you can”™t get high-speed Internet in your neck of the woods? Xplornet brings high-speed to places “big-city Internet service”? just won”™t go. Right here. Right now.”
Xplornet is better than dial-up. But it is not a big-city Internet service.
I have lived with Xplornet since last September. And there are two modes of operation as part of the so-called high-speed Internet service: burst mode and sustained mode. If you download to any great degree, the best you can hope for is 1 megabit down on the Xtreme service. Although the marketing materials claim up to 5 megabits down, that is only true for burst mode. The first 6 to 8 Megabytes of data will stream down at speed but then a throttle manager kicks in and your downloads will be gated. In over a year of service I have never seen the sustained download rates exceed the average of 115 Kilobytes per second on larger file transfers. 115 translates to just under 1 megabit.
I was able to reach a level 2 technician at Xplornet to confirm that the 1 megabit sustained download was “appropriate”. Xplornet offers less expensive packages. For example, they also offer a 1.5 megabit service. But, exactly like the 5 megabit service, that one also gets throttled down. In my opinion, the stated service levels from Xplornet are misleading and more should be done to regulate this industry to ensure that consumers can make informed decisions.
What does this mean in practical terms?
- A recent software update for my Mac — 500 Megabyte download — took almost three hours to come down.
- A 10-song album off iTunes took twenty minutes to come down.
- A Pro Tools software upgrade — about 1 GB — took over seven hours to come down.
- A candidate mix — about 7 Megabytes — took over ten minutes to send (uploads are typically much slower on Xplornet).
If my web activities were basic email and website browsing, the service would be fine. But I am a very active technology user and I am frequently downloading software, transferring audio mixes, uploading photos and bringing down music purchases.
For that profile of user, there is currently no alternative for “high-speed” residential services where we live. Perhaps one day.
If you are considering Xplornet, keep in mind that the service is not a high-speed residential broadband service. If, like me, you have limited choice, it is fine for light web activities. If, like me, you are active on the web and you have a family that is also active on the web, the service will be very, very slow.