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Definition: broadband


(1) A type of transmission that uses frequency division multiplexing (see FDM).

(2) High-speed transmission. Broadband commonly refers to Internet access via a variety of high-speed wired and wireless networks, including cable, DSL, FiOS, Wi-Fi, 4G, 5G and satellite, all of which are faster than earlier analog dial-up by a huge magnitude.

A Formal Definition
Broadband always referred to a higher-speed connection, but the threshold varied with the times. Years ago, the widely deployed 1.5 Mbps T1 line was considered broadband speed. In 2015, the FCC redefined the minimum as 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up, updating the 2010 rating of 4 and 1 Mbps. However, based on the revised definition, more than 50 million rural Americans did not have access to broadband speeds that year.

Public vs. Private
The broadband term is sometimes used to contrast a public provider with a private network. For example, the phrase "broadband works for regular traffic in our branches, but we use private lines for our mission critical business." See wireless broadband, T1, cable modem and DSL.