“Broadband” refers to a high-speed communications network connecting users in homes and businesses to remote resources such as data centers, the Internet, television, and telephone services. We all use one, probably every day, every time we access the Internet or make a call with our smart phone.
The “band” refers to a channel, like a “radio band”; think of it as a kind of digital road. “Broad” suggests large or fast or substantial in capacity. The word has been applied to data networks to distinguish high capacity networks from older networks reached through dial-up modems (the word itself is borrowed from old radio systems that divided their frequency spectrum into bands, as we see for example in FM radio). The FCC defines “broadband” now as 25 mbps downstream (from the network to you), 3 mbps upstream (the other way). The downstream speed can support three simultaneous HD video channels. However, speeds are going up, irresistibly.
“Broadband” does not define the kind of communication links inside the network. A broadband network may be fashioned from legacy telephone lines, legacy cable television lines, new fiber optics lines, satellite links, or mobile network links, the last two using the air as medium. In our region 65% of broadband networks use legacy cable television lines. While fiber optics lines exist everywhere in Connecticut for “back-haul” connections from a local network to the Internet, we have no fiber optics system in Connecticut yet for residential broadband connections. We are sadly unique in that sense. Fiber broadband is the future.