Once upon a time, not too long ago, actually, perhaps 12 years ago or so, I got my first 1 Mbit/s ADSL line at home. 1 Mbit/s in the downlink direction, mind you, and a few hundred kilobit/s in the uplink direction. But it was fast, really fast, compared to my previous modem and ISDN connections and besides email, accessing information on the web designed for modem speeds was the main use.
Fast forward to today and I argue that especially for a family that same speed of 1 Mbit/s I had then in the downlink direction is by far insufficient in the uplink direction today. A single Skype video connection already saturates a 1 Mbit/s uplink easily leaving little room for uplink communication of other family members without compromsing video quality. Accessing files stored at home remotely is also very limited with such an uplink. In other words, I am quite happy that I have a VDSL line at home with a 5 Mbit/s uplink that I could easily upgrade to 10 Mbit/s if I wanted to. However, I am still amazed that in some places, people get 20 Mbit/s ADSL lines with just 1 Mbit/s in the uplink direction.
At first I thought this was network operator policy driven (yes, always assume the worst) but the ADSL entry in Wikipedia reveals that even for ADSL2+ (without the Annex M published in 2008), only 1 MBit/s uplink speeds were defined. And even with Annex M, uplink speeds only reach 3.3 Mbit/s at best. In other words, many will feel the consequences in the next couple of years as their offspring uses the network ever more. Welcome to the uplink bottleneck!