What's Broadband Internet and Why Is it Important?

What's Broadband Internet and Why Is it Important?

If you're reading this article then you obviously know what the internet is, and it's very likely that you have heard the phrase “broadband internet.” Many times we get familiar with a term or phrase, but don't quite understand its meaning. It's very likely that broadband falls into this category.
When choosing an internet provider, you may want to consider your options. Broadband internet isn’t offered by everyone but is a great option. Learn more here!

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the definition of broadband is “high speed internet access that is always on and faster than the traditional dial-up.”

Speed and Convenience Is Everything

Do you remember dial-up? It’s the type of internet that most Americans had that required a phone line in order to receive internet connection. This obviously meant that the phone line was not usable at the same time as internet and don’t even think about streaming the latest season of Stranger Things on Netflix.

The connection, while felt normal at the time, would be painstakingly slow in today’s world. Dial-up is still remarkably available in some areas and there are people out there who opt to use it because of its cheaper price point. The downside is that it’s extremely outdated.

As already stated, broadband means high speeds. However, that doesn’t mean that broadband is an all-encompassing term. In fact there are multiple types of broadband connections and they’re not all the same. There are four main options of broadband and they all differ on price and availability.

Other Internet Options

The first is a Digital Subscriber Line, also known as DSL. This connection uses an additional phone line, but doesn’t tie up your existing line, so you can use your phone and internet simultaneously.

Cable Internet does not require any dial-in and instead uses a technology similar to cable tv – hence the name.

Satellite Internet, which gets its broadband signal from the satellites orbiting earth, is the slowest option for broadband.

Fiber-optic Internet is unfortunately not easily available in all areas of the country, but offers extremely fast connections from transmitting data through glass fibers. Many providers are discovering ways they can broaden their availability.

Again, dial-up is the cheaper option, but has many limitations. Broadband is quick, but a little more expensive, ranging from $100-$500 more expensive. For most people though, the pros outweigh the con of paying more.

Benefits of Broadband Internet

Broadband connections allow you to operate multiple functionalities on a device at one time. For example, it’s easy to surf the web and stream music, which would not be possible with dial-up, or at least it would an infuriating experience.

You can also engage in computer gaming, which you can’t do with a slower connection. With broadband, you can literally access the internet in a matter of seconds and a phone line isn’t required.

Something to consider when choosing a type of broadband is the bandwidth. Take cable broadband internet for example; if the connection itself cannot be relied on, you won’t be able to reap its benefits. A cable connection’s performance is based on bandwidth, how many devices are using the connection, and the latency of your network. Latency essentially means delays. When comparing your options, you’ll want to focus on connections that are described as low latency. When the latency becomes too high, the connection becomes overcrowded with data - much like a bottleneck. This is caused by a high number of users/devices on the one connection.

What You Need to Know About Broadband

There has been a recent push for broadband internet across the country and across many different industries. It has become a priority for some to make this accessible to all areas of the country. For reference, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology states that, “broadband is important for rural health care providers interested in meaningfully using electronic health records, as many of the capabilities of health IT, such as telehealth and electronic exchange of health care information, require broadband capability.”

Think about it, internet access is prevalent is our daily lives. You’re using it right now to read this article! Education, health, public safety, government, private businesses, etc. benefit from broadband. The conveniences and efficiencies alone that it allows is a big advantage.

Broadband Is the Right Choice for You

Broadband is important because almost every person could benefit from its services. It’s easy to reject change, but the world of technology is advancing rather quickly and communities and businesses that do not make an effort to keep up could be left behind by their citizens and competition.