What is Broadband?

The Definition of “Big” Broadband

Broadband may be one of the most misunderstood concepts in the United States today. Broadband is not so much a technology but rather is a revitalizing tool that gives towns, rural communities and underserved urban neighborhoods a chance to create job opportunities and economic growth. "Big" broadband means that our businesses have enough bandwidth to do whatever they need to do to compete in the global economy. Some businesses in the region have already begun to consider relocating because of the high cost of broadband.

Broadband Comparison Diagram

Broadband is Just Like Roads

There are many similarities between community road systems and broadband, which can be thought of as a digital road system. Both are used to support and facilitate commerce both within the community and to connect the community to other regions. Like physical roads, broadband has become a business essential and an economic development issue. Communities without good roads were not competitive economically during the Manufacturing Economy of the twentieth century, and communities without good digital road systems are not going to be competitive in the Knowledge Economy of the twenty-first century.

Current broadband policy is like asking Fedex, UPS, and Airborne to each build their own roads to customers. If road-building was left entirely to the private sector, most homes and many businesses would not have paved road access at all, because there would not be enough business to an average home to justify the expense of building a private road. Yet that is exactly how we are managing telecom right now: each firm that wants to sell services must finance and build an entirely private infrastructure to each customer. Naturally, some customers do not justify the expense, especially in rural areas.

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