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Broadband internet isn’t just a buzzword. The evolution of broadband internet technology has paved the way for many of the everyday activities we take for granted. Streaming media, online shopping and gaming, video chatting, social media, and many other activities would be difficult or impossible without broadband internet. Just ask anyone who grew up in a home wired with dial-up!

So, what is broadband internet?

Broadband is a blanket term used to describe high-speed internet that is “always on and faster than traditional dial-up access,” according to the FCC. While dial-up internet has limited capacity for speed and requires users to manually “dial in,” a broadband internet connection is ready to go when you are (with more speed, to boot!) The Pew Research Center reported In 2013 that 70% of American adults had broadband internet at home, compared with just 3% in 2000. This shift has bolstered eCommerce, social media expansion, and more.

Types of broadband internet

  • Digital subscriber line (DSL) | DSL service delivers internet access via existing telephone lines, like dial-up. But unlike dial-up, a DSL connection won’t tie up your home phone line, so you can make calls and get online at the same time. Maximum DSL speeds vary based on location; the closer your home is to your provider’s central office, the faster your DSL internet will be.
  • Satellite | Satellite internet is just what it sounds like: a connection that’s beamed down from space to a hub (Network Operations Center, or NOC) here on earth, then from the hub to your home. Satellite internet is a popular choice for customers in rural areas that other internet providers are unable to service. A satellite internet connection can be prone to latency, or transmitting delays that result in a loss of speed.
  • Cable | Cable internet customers access their connection through the same infrastructure that delivers their cable TV signal. Coaxial cables outside the home work in tandem with a cable modem inside the home.
  • Fiber | Fiber-optic internet is the most recent development in broadband internet technology. A fiber internet connection transmits data in the form of beams of light along fiber-optic cables. Fiber internet infrastructure delivers a fast, reliable connection with upload speed superior to that offered by other types of internet access.

Choosing a broadband internet provider

The types of internet service available will depend on where you live. There are many types of broadband internet access and many ISPs to choose from. When choosing an internet provider, be sure to consider how much speed you need, as well as which additional home services (if any) you’d like to bundle with your internet service. Many providers offer promotional pricing for new customers who purchase TV and or phone in addition to internet. Whichever type of broadband internet you choose, you’ll be sure to get more speed and a more reliable connection than dial-up could provide!