Applications for the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program for the 2023-24 season began on September 1, 2023. To learn more, and to apply, click here: CEAP - How To Apply

Broadband Definitions

Broadband, the latest successor to dial-up, is the most used and fastest form of Internet access. Broadband service provides higher speeds of data transmission allowing more content to be carried through the transmission “pipeline.” Many of the current and newly-developing services including streaming media, VoIP, gaming, and interactive services, require the transfer of large amounts of data that may not be technically feasible with dial-up service. Thus, broadband service has become increasingly necessary to access the full range of services and opportunities that the Internet can offer.
Broadband provides Internet access through a fixed or mobile wireless connection. Fixed technology connections include DSL, cable modem, and T-1 or fiber optic, whereas mobile wireless connections mean the device can access the Internet without a wire connection. Deployment of broadband infrastructure throughout an area depends on a provider’s ability to access local rights-of-way, telephone and electric poles, and wireless-tower sites. Therefore, different methods of broadband Internet access are used according to the technical characteristics of a location.
Broadband’s fixed and mobile wireless technologies have a higher Mbps than dial-up Internet access. FTTP and cable modems have the fastest national average download speeds with a 7.7 Mbps and 5.5 Mbps, respectively. Wireless connectivity has the slowest national average download speed, but it can extend to less densely populated communities and into older buildings where wired solutions may be more expensive to deploy.
Depending on the type of online activity one requires, basic or premium connectivity may be a necessity. Wireless connectivity is sufficient for emailing, web browsing and instant messaging because each requires basic connectivity. Conversely, large data downloads; video teleconferencing, Internet Protocol TV, and streamed classroom lectures are examples of content that requires premium connectivity. Broadband’s fixed Internet technologies will provide the required connectivity for premium connectivity content.
Reliability/ Redundancy
Redundancy ensures reliability, which is essential to public safety, national security, and every business reliant on connectivity. If an Internet connection is lost, redundancy must be present, or Internet access will not be available. An organization’s downtime may be caused by an external network outage. Wireless broadband, however, may reduce an organization’s downtime because it is one of the most reliable redundancy technologies available. Businesses with mission critical operations seeking full redundancy must combine their wired connection with a fixed wireless connection to create a truly redundant network with network and path diversity.
Additionally, wireless Internet connection will enhance public safety and national security because in the case of a national disaster or an act of terror, one may have an additional source of Internet access. Therefore, with wireless connection redundancy, if one provider loses connection, there is still another connection available, thereby adding maximum reliability.5
Bandwidth (Capacity)
Bandwidth is the transmission capacity of an electronic pathway. In a digital line, it is measured in bits per second or bytes per second. In an analog or digital channel that is wrapped in a carrier frequency, bandwidth is the difference between the highest and lowest frequencies and is measured in Hertz. In more general terms, it refers to the volume of data per unit in time an Internet connection can handle.
Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is an emerging architecture that links computers in a grid and allows users to access data or processing powering. Storing photos on the web or accessing webmail are two examples of cloud computing (from Pew Internet).
Latency (Speed)
Latency measures the amount of time (usually measured in milliseconds) it takes for data packets to travel from one computer to another application or computer across a network. Latency can help describe a measure of “distance” between hosts on a network. For example, a reasonable roundtrip latency measurement between a pair of hosts from east cost to west coast may be roughly 90 milliseconds, whereas the latency between Atlanta and Philadelphia is closer to 20 milliseconds. High latency can be a problem with applications that require real-time back-and-forth communication, such as online phone calls and video conferencing.
Spectrum is the range of electromagnetic radio frequencies used to transmit sound, data, and video across the country. It is what carries voice between cell phones, television shows from broadcasters to your TV, and online information from one computer to the next, wirelessly. Because there is a finite amount of spectrum and a growing demand for it, effectively managing the available spectrum is an important priority for the FCC (from FCC web site).