Broadband and Wireless 101

Broadband is another term used for bandwidth — or the amount of data that can be sent through a connection — to access high-speed Internet. The more bandwidth, the more information a user can send or receive at any given time.

What is Broadband?

Broadband is internet access that allows users to connect with the digital services they need in our ever-changing world. Broadband is an evolving technology; truly high-speed broadband supports speeds of at least 100 Mbps service today and will evolve to Gigabit-per-second (Gbps) service over the next decade.


Broadband service can be provided by satellites orbiting the earth. Service can be compromised by line of sight obstructions and latency, the delay or time it takes to send information from one point to another.

Fixed Wireless

Fixed wireless broadband service refers to service provided between towers and customers using radio waves. These are primarily found in rural areas.

Mobile Broadband

Mobile broadband is high-speed internet access for on-the-go access. Connectivity comes wirelessly through a mobile network.


Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) is broadband delivered over a mixed network of fiber and copper phone lines.


Cable is provided by a cable company over mixed coaxial and fiber optic networks.


Fiber Optic Service uses glass fibers to carry data across distances. Some fiber comes directly to the house and some fiber transports data to the community for broader internet.

Why is Broadband Important?

Broadband allows citizens more affordable and efficient access to basic amenities such as education, healthcare, public safety and government services by:

Affording citizens the opportunity to participate in online learning and distance education

Giving entrepreneurs and small and home-based business owners the opportunity to compete alongside large corporations

Increasing the productivity and efficiency of businesses who utilize the Internet for their operations

Connecting patients in remote areas to healthcare services

Making government services more readily available to citizens

Saving companies and organizations money by letting employees telework

Allowing friends and families to stay in touch with one another

Informational Resources

View more resources about broadband, the digital divide, and regional, statewide, and national initiatives.

Informational Resources >

Take the Speed Test

There are major issues in broadband delivery concerning where broadband is available and what the actual speeds are delivered by providers. Take the speed test to learn more about the capabilities of your speed and to contribute your speed data to further improve broadband in your community.

Take the Speed Test >