IPVM | IPVMU Certified | 06/30/16 04:59pm
One ISP has a clever commercial regarding this:
They claim to offer 'balanced' connections that provide equal Upload vs. Download rates.
Verizon FiOS and other fiber-based services seem to have moved to symmetrical bandwidth. I've got 75 up/75 down and based on Speedtests, it seems to be accurate.
The cable companies could make speeds more symmetrical, as DOCSIS 3.0 clearly allows it. But in the quest for ever-greater speeds, they seem to be ignoring it. It's better marketing to say 300 MEG DOWNLOADS and add "Sorry, your upload is only 10 Mb/s" as a footnote, I guess.
For CATV ISP's everything is a tradeoff of frequencies.
I haven't kept up with CATV systems in the last several years, about 8 years ago a high-end system would be roughly 1.2Ghz (meaning that the highest frequency it could carry was 1.2Ghz), IIRC.
Within the bandwidth that the system is designed and certified for, the cable company can carve out frequencies for regular channels, pay-per-view, data download, and data upload. It's all a trade-off.
I would suspect modern cable plants can support much higher frequencies (and thereby throughput) today, but older systems may still be limited.
In order to accommodate higher upload speeds, something has to give: downstream speed, PPV channels, etc. For most consumers the upstream demands have been low, so the cable company can "steal" some bandwidth there to enable higher download speeds, or provide more PPV channels, or 5 extra HBO's.