For some time, I have had an internet connection via optical fibre, with the fibre actually ending right by my desk, feeding into the optical modem. It has worked very reliably up to now – but then again, we didn’t have a cyclone. I assume the many free-hanging optical cables would be put to a real test with one.
Anyway, recently, shortly after it became available, I upgraded to a 100 Mbit/s connection, up from 30 Mbit/s. Same optical fibre connection, of course, but a new modem under my desk. As you would expect, local connections on the island always make use of the full bandwidth, no surprise here.
More interesting are the overseas connections. I was surprised to find that even from the middle of the Indian Ocean, through underseas cables, and the many network devices of all providers involved in the connection chain from my desk to the overseas destination, some connections to European or US servers come close to the maximum of 100 Mbit/s, and most of them are around 60 to 80 Mbit/s. Also, you never know if the server actually is able to dish out all the bits that the connection itself could transport.
Of course, the experience is also depending on the type of contents and the related network protocols involved. The physical distance and the ensuing network latency simply take their tolls, as already explained.
Can’t beat the laws of physics.