About Broadband

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Understanding Broadband

Broadband commonly refers to high-speed internet access that is “always on” and is faster than the traditional dial-up access. Connection types like dial-up requires a telephone line to connect and is not always connected.

Fixed broadband sends data through physical wires and cables and connects networks to the internet. Mobile broadband connects home or business devices via a short-range wireless connection, like Wi-Fi or mobile, to the internet.

Broadband is provided by a company or an internet service provider (ISP), examples of ISPs are Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, and there are many more.


Broadband Access

As mentioned, there are fixed broadband that is permanent or stationary, like the cable and satellite depicted below or there is mobile internet networks provided by smartphone or mobile phone provide networks like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile that allow for on-the-go use and connectivity from one location to another.

Internet Speed

High-speed internet access is important because internet speed is the volume of information that can be transferred at a given time between the internet and your device. Everything that we do online requires an exchange of information whether it’s health care, telework, virtual school, streaming videos, social media, or online shopping.

State of the Nation: Connectivity


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been studying the national performance of broadband service in the United States to improve the availability of information about broadband service since 2011. In addition, the FCC collects Form 477 broadband service reports from providers that reports deployment data at the 2010 census block level. FCC’s visualization is helpful; however, their calculations used to create the graphs treats every location as having service, which over-estimates broadband coverage.

Even with this overestimation, data from other sources, including the Pew Research Center and the U.S. Census Bureau have found similar deficiencies in rural populations, households with lower incomes, or have a Black or Hispanic householder.
Cost and smartphone capabilities remain the most important reasons non-broadband users do not subscribe according to a 2021 Pew Research survey.

Percentage of Households with a Broadband Subscription

Michael Martin, U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey Reports – Computer and Internet Use in the United States: 2018 (April 2021), 9.


Digital Equity

With technology and the internet constantly evolving and becoming more integrated into our society, equal access to digital resources can eliminate gaps in our digital and social infrastructure that prevent people and communities from participating in society. In fact, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act creates the State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program to promote digital equity, support inclusion activities and help build capacity to help citizens adopt broadband.