Broadband allows people more affordable and efficient access to basic amenities such as education, health care, public safety and government services by:
- Affording people opportunities to participate in online learning and distance education
- Giving entrepreneurs and small- and home-based business owners opportunities to compete with large corporations
- Increasing the productivity and efficiency of businesses that use the internet for their operations
- Connecting patients in remote areas to health care services
- Making government services more readily available to residents
- Saving companies and organizations money by letting employees telework
- Allowing friends and families to stay in touch with one another
Why Speed Matters
Broadband speed is important because it allows for faster transmission (uploading and downloading) of data. As data is transmitted digitally, text, images and sound are all translated into “bits” of data.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines basic broadband as transmission speeds of at least 25 Mbps (megabits per second) – or 25 million bits per second – downstream (from the internet to the user’s computer) and 3 Mbps upstream (from the user’s computer to the internet).
In January 2015, the FCC increased the recommended availability target speed threshold to 25 Mbps (download)/3Mbps (upload) from 4 Mbps (download)/1 Mbps (upload). Slower services, such as dial-up, run at 56 Kbps and cannot transmit data as quickly.
Broadband is accessed through various high-speed transmission technologies that allow these bits to move faster.