Contention Ratio (or over subscription ratio) is the number of users sharing the same data capacity. The lower the contention ratio the higher the quality of service. A 50:1 contention ratio means that up to 50 broadband customers are sharing the same bandwidth at any one time.
A contention ratio is used in both fixed and mobile broadband wireless access. The use of a contention ratio makes the quality and speed of a broadband connection dependent on the number of users online at any given time. Business broadband services will often have much lower contention ratios to enable the internet server provider (ISP) to give business users a more consistent quality of service. The average contention ratio for a home user internet access connection is 50:1 and 20:1 for a business connection.