I was looking at the advertisement and my eyes locked onto the colorful message boasting “Lightning Fast Internet Connectivity!”

As I contemplated the power of that statement, I thought about the general use of such bold statements throughout all types of marketing and advertising embellishments; words like Awesome, Incredible, All New, Revolutionary, State-of-the-Art and on and on they go. Boastful, self aggrandizing, and mostly meaningless.

So, I got to thinking about what it really meant to be Lightning Fast. How would I do that?

Let’s suppose I first determined the components of the equation. I would want to research the actual speed of lightning. I would want to determine the average or, at least, a better than average speed of a good Internet connection and, as a basis for comparison, wrap the results in a comparison to the speed of light! Easy!

And then I would need to express those speeds in a common format. Is it miles-per-hour, feet per second, meters per second…what should it be? As it turned out in my research, most measurements within the scientific community tend to center on the meter as a standard form. So, meters it would be.

Let’s use whole numbers and throw out the decimals just to keep things simple in round numbers.

How fast is the Speed of Light? 186,000 miles per second. How many meters in a mile? 1,609 meters

Therefore,[186,000 miles/sec x 1,609 meters/mile] = approx 300 Million meters /sec

How fast is the speed of average Internet connectivity? Upon some very interesting research, I found that while we can presume that the Internet travels at near the speed of light, the reality is that digital information such as Internet Packets (the actual data that we send to one another) operates at approximately 2/3 the speed of light.

Therefore, the speed of Internet Connectivity is [.667 x 300 Million meters/sec] = approx 200 Million meters/sec

Now, how fast is Lightning? Here, again, with a little research I found that Lightning (particularly the return stroke, ie., the electrical current that creates the flash) travels about 1/3 the speed of light…

Therefore, [.333 x 300 Million meters/sec] = approx 100 Million meters per second.

So, what do we have here?

  • Speed of Light = 300 Million meters/sec
  • Speed of Internet Connectivity = 200 Million meters/sec
  • Speed of Lightning = 100 Million meters/sec
  • The Bottom Line: Lo and Behold!!! Your Lightning Fast Internet Speed is actually one-half the true speed of an average Internet connection.

    Just thought you should know, that’s all. It’s about understanding what marketers think and say. It’s about Truth in Advertising.

    Why does this matter!? I’m not sure, but I gotta tell ya…I like thinking about these things.

    What do you think? Please let me have your thoughts.

    Bill Hornbeck [2016]

    Sometimes, a conversation is worth a thousand pictures. Call Bill 703-777-6840