What is Broadband Internet?

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The Internet experts at The FCC define broadband as “High Speed Internet access that is always on and faster than the traditional dial-up access.”A

Not too long ago, dial-up was the form of Internet service available to most Americans. It utilized a customer’s existing landline to deliver an Internet connection. The user was required to “dial on” to connect, and the resulting connection occupied the user’s phone line, which means the user could not make phone calls while online.B

Speeds were slow and limited a user’s ability to perform certain tasks online. Some people still use dial-up Internet today. Dial-up Internet is inexpensive but very outdated compared to other technologies. C

Broadband Internet, by comparison, offers higher speeds of data transmission. Thanks to these high speeds, users can stream online media like music and video. And depending on the type of connection, customers can also enjoy other bandwidth-intensive tasks, like video chatting and online gaming. D

Types of broadband Internet

Users can choose from a range of broadband Internet service options based on their location, budget and expected Internet use. The most popular broadband technologies are:

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

DSL Internet service uses existing copper phone lines to transmit data. Residential customers can use an Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) that will not disrupt the use of their telephone while they are also using their DSL Internet connection. D

An ADSL connection usually provides faster download speeds than upload speeds, which is good for customers who want to receive information, but do not plan to upload a lot of data. D

Cable Internet

Like cable TV, cable Internet utilizes the same coaxial cable infrastructure to provide service. This High Speed Internet service doesn’t require the user to dial on. Instead, it is possible to get online via any computer or web-enabled device connected to the network. A cable modem provides speeds of 1.5 Mbps or more.D

Satellite Internet

Satellite Internet uses communication satellites orbiting Earth to transmit a broadband signal to users. This type of broadband service is good for rural or remote users who would be unable to access other types of broadband, like cable or fiber. D

Fiber Internet

Fiber-optic Internet uses new advanced technology that transmits data through thin glass fibers. Fiber-optic service is offered in limited areas by telecommunications providers. However, some providers have already announced plans to expand their fiber networks. D

Fiber offers speeds “far exceeding current DSL or cable modem speeds, typically by tens or even hundreds of Mbps.” D


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This post was written by the Beacon team.

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