Let me ask you a question. Your sister is looking for an internet service that suits her needs. She has 3 kids, they all have smart-phones that hook up to wi-fi, they play XBOX360 and PS3 online. They have laptops, and they stream Netflix to 2 TV's in the house. Occasionally, they will stream the 2 TV's at the same time.
Let me ask you, what speed tier would you suggest to your sister?
Would you seriously advise her to get a 300Mbps connection? and let her waste her money? I wouldnt even suggest the 50 Mbps!
2 TV;s streaming Netflix at the same time, 10 Mbps , XBOX and PS3 going concurrently, add another whopping 2 Mbps. Assuming people are using the laptops and smartphones to facebook. (Ha.) I'll even throw in another 10 Mbps, which isnt even real world. "25 Mbps my dear sister."
The bottom line is speed increases are great. Of course they are required for the future... but Comcast coming out with a 300Mbps to match FiOS is nothing but a marketing gimmick. Wasnt it supposed to be 305 Mbps?? Verizon can, and probably will come out with like 500Mpbs to gloat that theyre the fastest. Honestly, they should just come out with a new PON to match, even surpass Google, but seriously, just for bragging rights?
Just yesterday I was reinstalling Borderlands Game of the Year from Steam when I got a text alert about a baseball game I was interested in. I went to MLB.com and started the NexDef HD stream of the game. My 50 Mbps connection was being fully utilized. That's just one person.
Now with these HD capable game consoles having the ability to stream content, they pull way over 1-2 Mbps. And if you only have 2-5 Mbps upload, you can cripple your network much easier if you don't have any headroom.
This is now, these speeds are realistically capable of being useful and even necessary. Although, if you aren't in a region that has FiOS and a competing cable company, you might not have the local infrastructure in place to really take advantage of this type of performance.