What is Broadband
The term broadband commonly refers to high-speed Internet access. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines broadband service as data transmission speeds exceeding 200 kilobits per second (Kbps), or 200-000-bits per second, in at least one direction: downstream (from the Internet to the user's computer) or upstream (from the user's computer to the Internet).
Broadband Vs. Dial-Up Service
- 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, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), 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. It does not block phone lines and there is no need to reconnect to the network after logging off.
- Less delay in transmission of content when using broadband.
Importance of Broadband
Broadband can provide you with the technical capability to access a wide range of resources, services, and products that can enhance your life in a variety of ways. These resources, services, and products include, but are not limited to:
- Education, Culture, and Entertainment: Broadband can overcome geographical and financial barriers to provide access to a wide range of educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities and resources.
- Telehealth and 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.
Broadband in Rural Areas
Because of relatively low population density, topographical barriers, and greater geographical distances, broadband service may be more difficult to obtain in some rural areas. In attempting to address these challenges, some rural communities have found it helpful to develop a strategic plan for broadband deployment that includes creating a comprehensive business proposal to broadband providers. Such a plan, for example, could demonstrate to broadband providers that deployment is a sound business decision that would benefit both the providers and the community.
This strategic planning process may include, but is not limited to, the following elements and strategies:
- Educating the community about the potential benefits of broadband service.
- Creating partnerships among community organizations and institutions that might benefit from broadband deployment.
- Systematic assessment and prioritization of the community's needs for broadband service.
- Aggregating (consolidating) demand within the community to make service profitable for broadband providers. Participants may include, but are not limited to, individual consumers, businesses, educational institutions, health care facilities, and government agencies.
- Identifying an anchor tenant with adequate demand to spur infrastructure investment in broadband.