Broadband 101

In the U.S. National Broadband Plan of 2009, broadband was defined as “Internet access that is always on and faster than the traditional dial-up access.”

Perhaps more important than the definition implies, broadband provides access to technological opportunities and experiences not available with dial-up. Broadband service is increasingly necessary to access the full range of services and opportunities that the Internet offers, including streaming media, Voice over IP (VoIP), video conferencing and the transfer of large data files. It’s what enables an elementary school student in Fruita to see an exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science without leaving their desk or a speech therapist to provide services to several different school districts across hundreds of miles without getting in the car.

For end-users in rural areas, access to broadband means the ability to keep pace with peers in areas where access to information afforded by high-speed connectivity may be taken for granted. Broadband access allows all citizens to participate more fully in the global economy and puts everyone on even footing when it comes to access to educational and employment opportunities.

Broadband Benefits 

  • Education
  • Libraries
  • Government
  • Healthcare
  • Public Safety
  • Economic
  • Education

    Viewed through the lens of education, the 2010 US Chamber of Commerce study found that, “broadband-enabled technologies are redefining traditional notions of education and are leading to the development of a new, learner-centric education paradigm.” Specifically, it found that broadband technologies:

    • Improve teacher instruction and speed student learning.
    • Encourage education innovation.
    • Broaden professional development opportunities for both teachers and adult learners.
    • Enhance access to distance learning programs.
    • Provide for more individualized learning based on individual student needs.
    • Enable a range of administrative efficiencies, and
    • Facilitate the collection of meaningful performance data to track student progress.

    Learn more about EAGLE‑Net and educational institutions »

  • Libraries

    Many libraries are using technology to further the experience for their patrons.  A 2010 US Chamber of Commerce study notes the benefits of this to be:

    • Encourage education innovation.
    • Broaden professional development opportunities for adult learners.
    • Enhance access to distance learning programs.
    • Enable a range of administrative efficiencies

    Learn more about EAGLE‑Net and libraries »

  • Municipal and County Governments

    Governments at the local level which are provided access to broadband will be able to provide benefits to residents more efficiently and effectively. More specifically, as detailed in the National Broadband Plan, benefits include:

    • Streamlining complex government processes and delivering services online to citizens quickly and efficiently.
    • Embracing cost-saving platforms and infrastructure that also increase productivity.
    • Partnering with ISPs to make sure America’s communications networks are strong and secure.
    • Allowing state and local governments to leverage the buying power of (the EAGLE‑Net consortium) to get lower service prices for telecommunication services and infrastructure.

    Learn more about EAGLE‑Net and governments »

  • Healthcare Providers

    Broadband’s impact on improving healthcare is addressed in the National Broadband Plan, which promises improvements including:

    • Improving care quality, safety, efficiency and reducing disparities.
    • Engaging patients and families in managing their health.
    • Enhancing care coordination.
    • Improving population and public health.
    • Ensuring adequate privacy and security of health information.

    Learn more about EAGLE‑Net and healthcare institutions »

  • Public Safety

    The National Broadband Plan envisions the benefits of a cutting-edge public safety communications system using broadband technologies to include:

    • Allowing first responders anywhere in the nation to send and receive critical voice, video and data to save lives, reduce injuries and prevent acts of crime and terror.
    • Ensuring all Americans can access emergency services quickly and send and receive vital information, regardless of how it is transmitted.
    • Revolutionizing the way Americans are notified about emergencies and disasters so they receive information vital to their safety.
    • Reducing threats to e-commerce and other Internet-based applications by ensuring the security of the nation’s broadband networks.
  • Economic Development

    In terms of community economic development, the relationship between broadband availability and economic growth cannot be overstated.

    A study, “Measuring Broadband’s Economic Impact,” conducted by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) finds, “Broadband enhances economic activity, helping to promote job creation both in terms of the total number of jobs and the number of establishments in communities with broadband.”