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The term broadband commonly refers to high-speed Internet access.  Broadband can be simply defined as a fast connection to the internet that is always on.  It allows a user to send emails, surf the web, download images and music, watch videos, join a web conference, and much more. 


Access is gained through one of the following methods:

  • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
  • Cable Modem
  • Fiber
  • Wireless
  • Satellite
  • Broadband over Powerlines (BPL)

Private investment has made broadband available to 90 percent of the U.S. population.  In fact, the providers of broadband have invested over $120 billion in the past several years to make certain that content providers, application creators, and users of those services have the widest possible choices of the best possible internet experiences.

Broadband access is faster than dial-up and different in the following ways:

  • Broadband service provides higher speed of data transmission—Allows more content to be carried through the transmission “pipeline.”
  • Broadband provides access to the highest quality Internet services—streaming media, VoIP (Internet phone), gaming, and interactive services. Many of these current and newly developing services require the transfer of large amounts of data which may not be technically feasible with dial-up service. Therefore, broadband service may be increasingly necessary to access the full range of services and opportunities that the Internet can offer.
  • Broadband is always on—Does not block phone lines and no need to reconnect to network after logging off.
  • Less delay in transmission of content when using broadband.

Among the many advantages of broadband are the ability to access a wide range of resources, services, and products which include, but are not limited to:

Education, Culture, & Entertainment

  • Broadband can overcome geographical and financial barriers to provide access to a wide range of educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities and resources.

Telehealth & Telemedicine

  • Broadband can facilitate provision of medical care to unserved and underserved populations through remote diagnosis, treatment, monitoring, and consultations with specialists.

Economic Development/E-Commerce

  • Broadband can promote economic development and revitalization through electronic commerce (e-commerce) by:
    • Creating new jobs and attracting new industries.
    • Providing access to regional, national, and worldwide markets.

Electronic Government (E-Government)

  • Electronic government can help streamline people’s interaction with government agencies, and provide information about government policies, procedures, benefits, and programs.

Public Safety and Homeland Security

  • Broadband can help protect the public by facilitating and promoting public safety information and procedures, including, but not limited to:
    • Early warning/public alert systems and disaster preparation programs.
    • Remote security monitoring and real time security background checks.
    • Backup systems for public safety communications networks.

Broadband Communications Services

  • Broadband provides access to new telecommunications technologies such as Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) allowing voice communication using the Internet.

Communications Services for People With Disabilities

  • Broadband permits users of Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) to use Video Relay Services (VRS) to communicate more easily, quickly, and expressively with voice telephone users.

New uses for broadband are being developed every day and the companies which provide the broadband access are working every day to insure the bandwidth and speeds are available to handle these new applications.