Glossary of Terms
The term for the 3rd generation wireless telecommunications standards usually with network speeds of less than 1 Mbps.
The term for 4th generation wireless telecommunications standards usually with network speeds greater than 1 Mbps.
The term for emerging 5th generation wireless telecommunications standards usually associated with network speeds of up to 1 Gbps or more.
A connection in which the maximum transfer rate is different for download and upload speeds.
A major high-speed transmission line that strategically links smaller high-speed internet networks across the globe.
The portion of a broadband network in which the local access or end user point is linked to the main internet network. Also referred to as “middle mile.”
The capability of telecommunications and internet networks to transmit data and signals.
The base unit of information in computing. For our purposes, also the base unit of measuring network speeds. A single piece of information is equal to 1 bit. Network speeds tend to be measured by bits per second—using kilo (1,000), mega (1,000,000), and giga (1,000,000,000). A bit is a part of byte; they are not synonyms. Bit is generally abbreviated with a lowercase b.
The term broadband commonly refers to high-speed internet access that is always on and faster than traditional dial-up access. Broadband includes several high-speed transmission technologies, such as fiber, wireless, satellite, digital subscriber line, and cable. For the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), broadband capability requires consumers to have access to actual download speeds of at least 25 Mbps and actual upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps.
The use of broadband in places where it is available, measured as the percentage of households that use broadband in such areas.
Cable television companies have offered internet access via their cable system for more than a decade. The network architecture uses a loop that connects each subscriber in a given neighborhood, meaning they all share one big connection to the internet.
A telecommunication company’s building where consumers’ phone lines are attached to equipment that connects a consumer to other consumers in that central office or other central offices across the globe.
Schools, libraries, medical and health care providers, public safety entities, institutes of higher education and other community support organizations that provide outreach, access, equipment, and support services to facilitate greater use of broadband service by the entire population and local governments.
A reinforced tube through which cabling runs. Conduit is useful both to protect fiber-optic cables in the ground and because one can place the conduit underground when convenient and later "pull" the fiber cabling through the conduit.
Fiber that is in place but not being used for broadband services. (“non-lit” fiber, also see “Lit Fiber”).
The gap between those of a populace that have access to the internet and other communications technologies and those that have limited or no access.
Recognizes that digital access and skills are now required for full participation in many aspects of society and the economy. Digital Equity links Digital Inclusion to social justice and highlights that a lack of access and/or skills can further isolate individuals and communities from a broad range of opportunities.
Implies that individuals and communities have access to robust broadband connections; internet-enabled devices that meet their needs; and the skills to explore, create, and collaborate in the digital world.
The ability to leverage current technologies, such as smartphones and laptops, and internet access to perform research, create content, and interact with the world.
A form of technology that utilizes a two-wire copper telephone line to allow users to simultaneously connect to and operate the internet and the telephone network without disrupting either connection.
The government’s use of web-based and information technology resources to connect with citizens and provide online services and resources.
A flexible hair-thin glass or plastic strand that is capable of transmitting large amounts of data at high transfer rates as pulses or waves of light.
The delivery and connection of fiber optics directly to a home or building.
High-speed data transmission to homes and businesses using technologies such as T1, cable, DSL, fiber, and fixed wireless. Excludes mobile broadband and non-terrestrial services.
The use of wireless devices/systems in connecting two fixed locations, such as offices or homes. The connections occur through the air, rather than through fiber, resulting in a less expensive alternative to a fiber connection.
The technology and process of connecting the end customer’s home or business to the local network provider.
An active fiber optic cable capable of transmitting data.
A group of connected network devices that are on a high-speed connection and typically within the same building or location.
A 4G wireless broadband technology that provides speeds up to 100 Mbps download and 30 Mbps upload.
The connection between a local network, also called a “last mile” connection, and the backbone internet network. Also referred to as “backhaul.”
A type of internet connection designed for use “on-the-go” with seamless connectivity from one geographic location to the next.
The hardware and software components of a network that provide network connectivity and allow the network to function.
Networks that offer wholesale access to network infrastructure or services provided on fair and reasonable terms with some degree of transparency and nondiscrimination.
The particular place or facility where local internet service providers connect to other networks. Distance from the Point of Presence can affect service availability and pricing.
A facility that is open to the public and provides broadband access, education, support, and training relevant to community needs. PCC locations include, but are not limited to, community colleges, libraries, schools, youth centers, employment service centers, and centers in public housing developments, among many others, that provide broadband access to the general public or specific vulnerable populations, such as low-income, unemployed, older adults, children, minorities and people with disabilities.
ROW are legal rights to pass through property owned by another. ROW are frequently used to secure access to land for digging trenches, deploying fiber, constructing towers and deploying equipment on existing towers and utility poles.
The entire area within which a service provider either offers or intends to offer broadband service.
A conceptual tool used to organize and map the physical phenomena of electromagnetic waves. These waves propagate through space at different radio frequencies, and the set of all possible frequencies is called the electromagnetic spectrum.
Includes regulated and unregulated services offered to customers for the transmission of 2-way interactive communication and associated usage. A telecommunication service is not a public utility service (from the Michigan Telecommunications Act).
The use of high-speed, high-capacity internet to support long-distance health care services, patient and provider education, and enhanced health care administration.
A technology that allows users to send and receive voice calls using an internet connection instead of a phone line.
A technology that uses radio transmissions to enable electronic devices to connect to a wireless local area network (LAN).
A wireless technology through which wireless internet access is provided with a significantly larger range than regular Wi-Fi. WiMAX can provide broadband service up to 30 miles.
An ISP that provides service through a wireless network.