What is Broadband?

Broadband refers to high-speed Internet access and advanced telecommunications services for homes, commercial establishments, government, schools, and community anchor institutions. In New York State, broadband service is primarily delivered via cable modem, fiber-optic cable, digital subscriber line (DSL), or through mobile wireless (3G/4G/LTE). In fact, many service providers use a combination of wireline and wireless technologies to provide hybrid broadband service to their customers.

Wireline Technologies

  • Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) is the “Gold Standard” in broadband technology. FTTP is the most expensive to deploy, but can deliver consistently high speeds reaching 1 Gigabit (1,000 Mbps) and higher.

  • Cable Modem uses coaxial cable connection to deliver broadband with download speeds ranging from 6 Megabits (Mbps) to over 50 Mbps. Bandwidth is managed through shared connections. Therefore, although broadband is widely available throughout New York State, advertised speeds may not always be maintained during peak usage times.

  • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) uses copper telephone lines to deliver broadband with download speeds generally under 10 Mbps. Aging networks can degrade service over time, which can decrease speeds delivered to the home.

  • Broadband Over Power Lines (BPL) uses existing electric wiring along with fiber to deliver broadband through electric outlets. Requires special equipment installed at the home. Limited availability in New York State.

Wireless Technologies

  • Fixed Wireless / WiMax uses a combination of a fiber backbone and wireless towers to deliver broadband at speeds comparable to DSL. Can be quickly deployed at lower costs with a wide reach. Many plans have data usage caps.

  • Mobile Broadband is a combination of cellular and data service generally for use on mobile devices. Typically complements wireline connections, but some companies provide home broadband service delivered over mobile broadband networks. Many plans have caps that limit usage.

  • White Space is a new and emerging technology that uses the empty fragments of TV spectrum scattered between frequencies. Less expensive to deploy in areas without a lot of existing infrastructure, with the ability to travel through physical obstacles, such as trees and mountains, without diminished signal. The FCC requires networks to follow strict requirements not to interfere with existing broadcasts.

  • Satellite is a two-way transmission of Internet data passed between satellite and a dish placed at the home. Because data traverses long distances, latency delays can occur. Most plans have data caps, but satellite broadband is 100% available in New York State.