A CDE Definition
A high-speed connection to the Internet via cable, DSL, satellite or FiOS. In the U.S. in 2009, Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner and Verizon together had more than 45 million broadband Internet subscribers. See broadband.
(1) High-speed transmission. Broadband commonly refers to Internet access via a variety of high-speed wired and wireless networks, including cable, DSL, FiOS, Wi-Fi, WiMAX, 3G, 4G and satellite, all of which are faster than earlier analog dial-up by a huge magnitude.
A Formal Definition
In 2015, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) redefined the minimum broadband speed as 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up, updating the 2010 rating of 4 and 1 Mbps. The term always referred to a higher-speed connection, but the threshold varied with the times. Years ago, the widely deployed 1.5 Mbps T1 line was considered broadband speed. However, based on the 2015 definition, more than 50 million rural Americans did not have access to broadband speeds.
Public Vs. Private
The broadband term is sometimes used to contrast a public provider with a private network. For example, the phrase "broadband works for regular traffic in our branches, but we use private lines for our mission critical business." See broadband router, wireless broadband, T1, cable modem and DSL.
(2) Transmitting data by modulating a carrier wave in order to differentiate it from other signals in the air or in a wire. For example, frequency division multiplexing (see FDM) is used to carry hundreds of channels of digital TV in a single coaxial cable. In this context, broadband is used in contrast with "baseband," which refers to data that have not been modulated or multiplexed (see baseband and TDM). However, in most cases, the term "broadband" means high-speed transmission as in definition #1 above.
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