What is Broadband?

Understanding Internet Access


Broadband commonly refers to high-speed internet access that is on at all times and much faster than outdated internet access tools such as dial-up. Broadband is considered an “always-on” connection type as it is truly on 24/7 and can be accessed at any time. Compared to the dial-up, where dial-up requires a telephone line to connect to and is not always connected.

What is the difference between Fixed Broadband and Mobile Broadband?

Broadband is accessed in two different ways. The first way, is using a physical wire and cables to connect the networks to the internet. This way is fixed broadband.

The other way is by using a short-range wireless technology, like mobile 5G. This is the way that most mobile devices use to connect to the internet.

Each connection way is capable of providing high-speed internet to you but each differs in its own way. To learn more about comparing Fixed & Mobile Broadband, please view the graphic below.

What is my internet speed and what does it mean?

Internet speed all depends on the service provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) To find out what your connection speed is, use the tool below to find out.

Now that you know your internet speed, see how it compares to the internet standards in the graphic below.

How Broadband gets to your home?

Broadband service is delivered through multiple technologies. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) typically provide fixed broadband services and mobile network carriers typically provide mobile broadband services. The way in which broadband is accessed is different depending on the broadband technology being used. Below are some of the technologies that deliver broadband to homes and businesses.

Investment in broadband considers not only where infrastructure is needed to expand the fixed or mobile networks, but also where or how users need financial and technical support in accessing the service once it is made available.

Why is it so Important to have High-Speed Internet?

The internet has become a critical part of our everyday life.

The internet gives us the opportunity to become digital citizens and connect with one another virtually. The internet gives us access to information at our fingertips and gets it to us fast!

Without the internet, we lose a way to communicate with each other. Without the internet, a lot of us can’t do our job which is why Beaver County is adamant about bringing broadband internet to many unserved homes in the area.

Common Internet Terms & Meanings


The term broadband commonly refers to high-speed internet access that is always on and faster than traditional DSL or dial-up access. Broadband is delivered through multiple technologies, like fiber optic cables, fixed antenna, satellite, mobile, and cable modem.


A system that connects two or more computing devices for transmitting or sharing information.


The ability to link to and communicate with other computer systems, electronic devices, software, or the internet.


Megabits per second are units of measurement that generally refers to upload and download speeds to measure the file size of data transferred per second over a channel and are used to show how fast a network or internet connection is.

Upload Speed

The rate that data or information is transferred from a user’s computer or device to the internet.

Download Speed

The rate that data or information can be received by a user’s computer or device from the internet.


The volume of information that can be sent over a connection in a measured amount of time.

Mesh Network

Technology to provide seamless wireless via multiple mesh nodes, or Wi-Fi extenders, that work together to route data to and from users.

Small Cell Technology

Wireless transmitters and receivers (pizza-box sized) designed to provide network coverage to smaller areas. It strengthens coverage and data transfer speeds where devices might otherwise compete for bandwidth. 5G is built on small cell technology.

Digital Equity

A goal to ensure that everyone has equal access to technology tools, computers, and the internet and has the knowledge and skills to use them effectively.


Locations that have access to high-speed internet as it is currently defined by the FCC is 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload.


Locations where internet service is at or above the FCC threshold but with no access to wired broadband service at speeds 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload, this can lead to slow or unreliable service.


Locations with no access to wired internet service at speeds that meet the FCC threshold of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload, meaning the internet connection is slow and unreliable or nonexistent.

Connectivity Opportunity Areas

Locations that are unserved and underserved with poor mobile and fixed broadband service speeds.

Digital Navigator

Digital navigators are trained staff who work with residents on digital literacy including home connectivity and how to search for or apply for jobs and critical services.

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