What is Broadband?
The definition of broadband, or high-speed Internet access, is constantly changing and being challenged. The term is typically used to describe Internet service that is faster than traditional dial-up Internet access. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration currently defines broadband as speeds that move data at a rate of 768 Kilobits per second (Kbps) downstream and 200 Kbps upstream. Broadband comes in different speeds and types.
How is broadband different from dial-up service?
- Provides higher-speed of data transmission — more content can fit in the “pipeline”
- Provides access to the highest quality Internet services— video, streaming media, VoIP (Internet phone), online business applications and interactive services
- Broadband is always on — does not block phone lines, no need to reconnect to the network
- Less delay when downloading or sending files
How will this impact the day-to-day lives of Missourians?
Capacity, choice and speed are some of the obvious benefits of expanded broadband. What may not be as obvious is the potential that comes about when technology opens the door to opportunity. While rural America has often struggled to gain access to the highest level of education, healthcare, retail and other services, the ability to connect people and ideas at the speed of light changes everything. Other benefits include:
- Economic Development – Broadband can provide access to regional, national and worldwide markets, enhancing the opportunities for current businesses, while providing the infrastructure to attract entrepreneurs, knowledge workers, and technology-based companies that would have not otherwise considered locating in particular areas of the state nor this region of the country.
- Education – All levels of the education continuum, including primary, secondary, postsecondary home-schooling and continuing education programs, stand to gain incredible opportunities. High speed connectivity offers the promise of remote class instruction, shared course offerings and teachers and administrators networking with peers. Broadband can overcome geographical and financial barriers to provide access to a wide range of educational and cultural opportunities.
- Healthcare – Telemedicine and telehealth have the potential to revolutionize health care in rural America by allowing rural providers and patients the opportunity of access to specialists, retrieval of health records, improved emergency response, reduced transportation costs, the offering of new alternatives for home health and e-visits and connecting health professionals to their patients in real time — facilitating provisions of the highest quality of medical care to currently unserved and underserved populations.