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What is Broadband and why is it important?

Broadband is simply a word used to identify a high-speed connection to the Internet. Whether you are using a computer (desktop or laptop), a smartphone or tablet, your device will send and receive data via a connection to Internet. Broadband speeds are much faster than dial-up where the user connects via a standard telephone modem that dials a number in order to connect.

The FCC’s initial designation of minimum broadband speed was 4 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload.┬áThis week, the FCC changed the designation of minimum broadband to 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. The designation Mbps = millions of bits per second (1 bit = 1/8 of a character, symbol or number).

Most telephone companies currently have DSL plans that range from 4-6 Mbps download speed and 1-1.5 Mbps upload speed. Many cable television companies have Internet plans that range in speed from 25-60 Mbps download speed and 3-6 Mbps upload speed. Google has invested in bringing fiber-optic Internet service to certain metro areas, as has AT&T and some cable companies. These networks provide up to 1Gbps (billions of bits per second), which is amazingly fast.

Shifting trends in Internet use and future bandwidth demands that the “Internet of Things” (IoT – I’ll address this in a future post) will present, makes this change by the FCC both timely and necessary. Old standards will not provide even minimum bandwidth requirements, let alone a viable Internet experience. Now that the FCC has updated their definition boadband, the carriers must come in line with the new spec.