Broadband Internet Connections

High-speed internet technology definitions and examples to help you when choosing a broadband technology.

Factors that effect broadband internet choices:

  • Location- urban or rural area
  • Internet access packages- bundles with other services, often TV or home phone home.
  • Price
  • Availability


A satellite orbiting the earth can be used to for multiple telecommunications purposes including internet, television and phone services. Satellite internet providers such as HughNet and Dish Network are able to provide broadband internet access throughout the country.

Satellite broadband is particularly useful for serving rural, remote or sparsely populated areas, where no other infrastructure is in place for cable, fiber or DSL connection.

The factors that effect Satellite internet speed are:

  • Service package purchased
  • line of sight with the orbiting satellite
  • weather

Speeds of 500 Kbps on upload and 80 Kbps on download are typical. Although speeds are 10 times faster than dial-up internet service, they will likely be slower than DSL or cable Internet access.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

It is common to see DSL described as wireline. This transmission technology transmits data over traditional copper telephone lines. It is likely that telephone lines capable of transmitting DSL are already installed to homes and businesses, which makes DSL relatively abundant.

Speeds can range from several hundred Kbps to millions of bits per second (Mbps). Speed will typically be faster the closer the home or business is to the telephone company providing DSL service.

Types of DSL

  • Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
  • Symmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (SDSL)
  • High data rate Digital Subscriber Line (HDSL)
  • Very High data rate Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL).

Cable Modem

Cable modem service uses the same coaxial cable used to deliver TV service from a cable operator to transmit internet to and from a home or business.

Cable broadband can achieve speeds greater than 1.5 Mbps.

This type of internet access does not affect your TV service and is comparable in speed and performance to DSL.

Fiber (FiOS)

FiOS internet technology is the fastest service available and has the highest bandwidth. Using light to transmit data through transparent glass fibers, about the diameter of a human hair, Fiber can achieve speeds far greater than any DSL or cable modem service.

Speeds will mostly vary due to the package purchased and the service providers configuration.

Many businesses take advantage of FiOS’s extra bandwidth by implementing Voice over IP (VoIP) and video services.

Unlike DSL or even cable, which leverage existing infrastructure to provide internet access, FiOS infrastructure generally needs to be installed in new service areas at the cost of telecommunication providers. As such, it is not widely available. It’s more likely you will have access to fiber if you live in a large metropolitan area.