What is Broadband?

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Broadband is a general term used to represent a wide range of telecommunications technologies and services, which utilize a faster data transmission rate than that available over the standard voice grade telephone line, which is 56 Kbps and usually less. 

Broadband is also widely referred to as “high-speed” Internet access service. 

Until 2008, the FCC’s official definition of broadband was a transport service offering a minimum data transmission rate of 200 Kbps in one direction. That year, the FCC established a set of Broadband Tiers: 

Tier 1 is characterized as “First Generation Data.” 768 Kbps is now the minimum data transmission rate for “Basic Broadband.” 

Tiers 3 through 8 reflect the range of service speeds available and expected to become available from providers. 

In its National Broadband Plan, the FCC proposed a goal that every household and business location in America should have access to affordable broadband service with actual download speeds of at least 4 million bits per second (Mbps) and actual upload speeds of at least 1 Mbps with the further recommendation that the FCC review and reset this target every four years. 

On January 29, 2015, the FCC raised the benchmark for broadband from 4 megabits per second (Mbps) down and 1 Mbps up to 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up, and it will be raised again. 

What constitutes “standard broadband” will continue to be a moving target. 

The next increase in the standard will likely be to 100 Mbps down and 12 or 25 Mbps up. 

Many different technologies are employed to deliver broadband services in Oregon including Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), Cable-Modem, wireless (mobile 3G / 4G, 5G, fixed, geostationary and low-earth-orbit satellite), and optic fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP). These service technologies range in transmission performance from 200 thousand bits per second (Kbps) up to 1 billion bits per second (Gigabits per second Gbps) and beyond. 

Broadband services in Oregon are available from a wide mix of service providers including telephone companies, cable companies, competitive access providers, fixed and mobile wireless providers, municipal and consortia providers, and satellite service providers. 

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