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Broadband refers to any high-speed Internet connection, such as cable or DSL.
Broadband operates from 10 to 1,000s of times faster than a dial-up connection, enabling the speedy transfer of large amounts of data. Downloading a typical song takes a few seconds versus perhaps ten minutes with dial-up; e-mailing digital photos is almost instantaneous.
Also See: Get Connected: All About Broadband
Frequently Asked Questions
Which broadband service is better for me?
That depends on where you live and what type of services are available in your area. In most cases, cable broadband is faster than DSL (provided by the telephone company); however, in some cities your telephone company may offer a fiber-optics network, which is currently around 6-10 times faster than the fastest cable connections. If you live in a rural area, chances are fiber optics won’t be an option, so you will need to see what is offered by both your local cable and phone companies; and if neither of those are available, you can also consider satellite Internet. Given the increasing speed of mobile data networks, your cell phone carrier may also offer a reliable solution, though they are often more limiting in terms of data allowances.
What equipment do I need to use broadband?
If you are using residential broadband, such as cable or DSL, you will need a modem suitable to that technology. Cable modems are available from most computer stores or can be rented from your cable company. If you choose to purchase your own modem, make sure it is compatible with the service and speed you are subscribing to. DSL modems are normally provided by your telephone company. For mobile broadband, you can either use your existing phone and set it up as a Wi-Fi hotspot to allow other devices to share the Internet connection (provided your phone is hotspot capable and your data plan permits it), or you can purchase a mobile hotspot device directly from your provider. For other personal services or dedicated business broadband solutions, such as T1 and T3 lines, check with your Internet Service Provider for specific requirements.
Is broadband more expensive than dial-up?
Broadband prices vary considerably based on the type of service you’re subscribing to and the speed you are purchasing. Cable and DSL providers commonly offer low-end packages starting at around $15. These are often somewhere in the range of 1.5 Mbps, but compared to the 56 Kbps you get with dial-up for close to the same price, it’s well worth it, even if you have to spend a couple of extra dollars a month. Higher speed packages usually go for around $50, but super high speed can go for $100 or more. For general web browser, the budget plan should work fine, but if you plan on streaming videos and music, you may want to consider one of the more expensive plans. If you do plan on steaming media, dial-up is probably out of the question.