Part of the idea that cable modems will get slower with more and more people in the 'hood using them is true, part isn't. Back around 4-6 years ago, when cable modems first started becomming a bit more mainstream, one of the big knocks against them - as the SWBell commercial points out - is that the more people in your neighborhood that used them, the slower overall they got. Typically this was true because the infrastructure that the cable companies were using to deliver intenet access was(and still is in many areas) very outdated. Most of the infrastructure(the physical wires, cables, switches, etc) in place when the cable modem explosion hit 4-6 years ago was equipment that had been deployed in the early-mid 80's when the cable tv boon hit. Cable companies tried to push too much data across this somewhat primitive infrastructure, and the result was poor service and slow download times as the number of people using it increased. So that explains part of the perception that cable modems are slow(we'll get to more in a bit). DSL on the otherhand uses plain old telephone wires(more or less for the sake of this discussion :) to give you service to your ISP. Here is my big thing with DSL: They'll promise you 'Near t-1 speed to the ISP!!' and that is right on the money. You will always have that near t-1 speed to your ISP no matter how many of your neighbors get the service and download pr0n mpegs.. They'll get t-1 speeds to the ISP as well. It sounds great untill you've got 50 people(on the low end) with DSL at 'near t-1 speeds' connecting to an ISP that only has one t-1 to the internet to start with. So while you're getting t-1 speed from your computer to the ISP you get DSL from, you only can connect/download as fast as the highest amount of bandwidth your ISP has. If your ISP has a t-1 line, the maximum you can download at is t-1 speed(around 1.5Mps). Now if your neighbor next door, or even a person on the other side of town, also has DSL and is trying to download at the same time you are from the same ISP, you're going to have to share bandwidth. Not bandwidth between you or them and the ISP, but between the ISP and the internet. Now, most any decent DSL ISP would have more than a t-1 connection of course. But even with a pretty large t-3 connection(45Mps) to the internet, it can get crowded (and slow!) in a hurry. So the real question is, "Whats worse?" Sharing bandwith between you and the ISP(cable modems), or sharing it from the ISP to the internet(DSL connections)? Naturally, the less you have to share is better, which is why DSL providers have enjoyed a lot of success in the last 2 years - they've capitalized on the mistakes that cable companies were making, and the slow speeds that typically provided. Now, this brings us back to the whole infrastructure issue. The cable companies aren't stupid. They've been seeing cable modem users move to DSL because of some of the slowness issues. They've also seen eroding market share in the TV space because people are/were moving to satellitte's(sp?) for digital TV. So they've responded over the last 1.5 years by spending a shitload of money on their infrastrucutre to kill two birds with one stone. Time Warner cable for one(and I won't even go into the possibilites of their merger with AOL for the sake of message length :) has been out there like a banshee laying down high speed networks to pump both digital quality TV and internet access to the home. Here in Wisconsin is a good example of what they're doing nationwide: Laying down the biggest fatest pipes between their offices and the homes to pump as many services as they can to you. They've been putting down fiber optic ATM(asynchronis transer mode) networks(oshkosh, where i live is a great example of this) for the last 2 years in order to get all these services to the home user. These ATM networks are capable of 155Mps(and will have the power to scale higher with better compression technology) and towns are split into nodes of seperate 155Mps networks. Milwaukee for example, has about 50 of these nodes that lay independant of eachother.(Joe across town downloading porn wont affect your speed. your immediate neighbors will though). These networks then all converge to a central point where it connects to the internet.(this would typically be considered the ISP for a dsl customer). Again, in Oshkosh and Milwaukee for example, they have massive bandwith to the internet. I've been told they have between an OC-12(622Mps) and OC-48(2.5Gps - giga) connection in areas like chicago/LA. So to sum up this rather long winded email ;) Yes, cable modems are affected by your neighbors. So are DSL customers. In the future, its all going to be about who has the most bandwidth and best infrastructure to offer its customers. DSL is stuck using POTS(plain old telephone system), which as regular modems have proved over the last 15 years, can only be streched so far. The cable companies like AOL/Time Warner are in much better position IMHO to provide quality service to their customers in the future. Although you'll never really see breakneck speeds with a cable modem(or DSL or analog modems) between 6pm and 10pm, it most definently is not a passing fad - and IMHO, will be the one that wins in the end.. Again, sorry for the long assed email, just get off tangents sometimes and can't stop :) .djc. Jason Elliot Burk wrote: > > in reference to cable modems: i've had a couple people ask me whether > they should get them. > > now, i'm no guru, but i've always heard (i even have an .mpg of a > southwestern bell commercial denouncing them) that cable modems will get > slower and slower as more people get on the cable modem train...of > course they're selling DSL service which isn't available in my friend's > respective area just yet...but the question remains: are cable modems > here to stay or is it a passing fad?