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Broadband 101


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With all the choices available on the market, it can be confusing for consumers to make decisions about how they access the Internet, why high speed connectivity is important and how to evaluate …

With all the choices available on the market, it can be confusing for consumers to make decisions about how they access the Internet, why high speed connectivity is important and how to evaluate service offerings. This free program will provide an overview of tools that can be used to identify providers and make decisions about service choices.

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  • ANDY (1 minute)Welcome, thank you for joining us for Connecting Communities – We have participants from our five demonstration communities as well as other communities interested in learning more about improving their level of connectivityWe have a mix of presentations and local discussions/small group activities (30 minute mark and 60 minute mark)FUNDING
  • ANDY (1 minute)Who we are
  • How Does Broadband Work?Broadband allows users to access information via the Internet using one of several high-speed transmission technologies. Transmission is digital, meaning that text, images, and sound are all transmitted as “bits” of data. The transmission technologies that make broadband possible move these bits much more quickly than traditional telephone or wireless connections, including traditional dial-up Internet access connections.Once you have a broadband connection to your home or business, devices such as computers can be attached to this broadband connection by existing electrical or telephone wiring, coaxial cable or wireless devices.
  • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)DSL is a wireline transmission technology that transmits data faster over traditional copper telephone lines already installed to homes and businesses. DSL-based broadband provides transmission speeds ranging from several hundred Kbps to millions of bits per second. The availability and speed of your DSL service may depend on the distance from your home or business to the closest telephone company facility. Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) – used primarily by residential customersSymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (SDSL) – used typically by businesses for services such as video conferencing.Cable ModemCable modem service enables cable operators to provide broadband using the same coaxial cables that deliver pictures and sound to your TV set.Fiber-Optic Cable (Fiber)Fiber optic technology converts to light electrical signals carrying data and sends the light through transparent glass fibers about the diameter of a human hair. Fiber transmits data at speeds far exceeding current DSL or cable modem speeds, typically by tens or even hundreds of Mbps. WirelessWireless broadband can be mobile or fixed. Wireless fidelity (WiFi) is a fixed, short range technology that is often used in conjunction with DSL or cable modem service to connect devices within a home or business to the Internet. Fixed wireless (WiMax)technologies using longer range directional equipment can provide broadband service in remote or sparsely populated areas where other types of broadband would be too costly to provide. Speeds are generally comparable to DSL and cable modem service speeds.Mobile wireless broadband services, such as 3G, are also becoming available from mobile telephone service providers, such as cell phone companies, and others. These services generally require a special card with a built in antenna that plugs into a user’s laptop computer. Generally, they provide lower speeds, in the range of several hundred kbps.SatelliteJust as satellites orbiting the earth provide necessary links for telephone and television service, they can also provide links for broadband services. Satellite broadband is another form of wireless broadband and is particularly useful for serving remote or sparsely populated areas.
  • If the privatized model of broadband was catapulting the U.S. ahead of the rest of the world, one could make an argument for the model we have. However, we are falling behind the rest of the world when it comes to broadband connectivity.
  • Online classes through [insert local college/university with online courses]No travel costs. No childcare costs.
  • No postage costs. No travel costs to bank. Manage your spending more quickly than waiting for a statement. Earn rewards. Set up automatic payments to make bill paying easier.
  • Find the best deal by researching your purchase online. Print out coupons before going to the grocery.
  • Avoid unnecessary trips to the doctor. Purchase over the counter medications more likely to meet your needs.
  • If you and the other person both have Internet access and use the same software (such as Skype), the calls via the computer are free! If you both have a video camera, the calls become video calls. Free! Doesn’t matter if the person is around the block or around the world.Or, reduce the number of phone calls and keep in touch via a social network such as Facebook.
  • Reduce the cost of printed photos. Only print the ones you really want printed. Keep all the others in a digital format, which is much cheaper to share and you can edit them!
  • No more scrambling around looking for the school calendar (do the kids have today off???). Check for school closings (no more standing in front of the tv waiting for your school to scroll across the screen.) Email teachers with questions.[Insert online resources provided by your local school district]Plus, access kid friendly educational websites like PBS.
  • The study examined service offerings from 13 of the largest wireline broadband providers using automated, direct measurements of broadband performance delivered to the homes of thousands of volunteers during March 2011.
  • For most participating broadband providers,actual download speeds are substantially closer to advertised speeds than wasfound in data from early 2009We also use the term “sustained speed” throughout this Report. Broadband Internet accessservice is “bursty” in nature. On a short time scale, broadband speeds or information ratesmay vary widely, at times approaching or even exceeding advertised speeds and at othertimes—due to network congestion—slowing to rates which may be well below advertisedspeeds. In this Report, to provide an estimate of long-term average broadband performance,we define sustained speed as speed averaged over a period of several seconds (note thatsustained speed does not necessarily mean that actual speed stays above the sustained speedaverage for the entire period).
  • How fast is fast? Here are some real-life average download speeds reported by PC World, Wired, and Computerworld in the most recent 2011 tests, using both smartphones and laptops (laptop speeds tend to be faster) in a range of 3G and 4G locations nationwide:
  • Broadband speed is measured in megabits per second, commonly stated as Mb or Mbps (i.e. 15Mb or 15 Mbps). Make sure you don't get confused between megabits and megabytes (which tends to be written as MB, or GB when referring to gigabytes). There are eight bits in a byte, so, if your download speed is 8 megabits per second (8Mb), then that's actually shifting 1 megabyte per second (1MB). It's an important distinction because the size of many files, including songs, photos, and movies, are described in megabytes, as are download allowances.You may also see Kb and KB - kilobits and kilobytes; there are 1,024KB in a MB, and 1,024MB in a GB - the same is true for Kb/Mb/Gb.
  • Q&A (LED BY ANDY, I’M ASSUMING SINCE WE ARE DOING THIS ON YOUR DIME) Questions related to the steps of becoming a connected community.Please complete the evaluations.
  • Transcript

    • 1. This program was brought to you by the
      “Building Community Capacity (BCCB) through Broadband” Project.
      Broadband 101: What do consumers need to know?
      October 26, 2011
      10:00 – 11:30 CST
    • 2. Housekeeping…
      • Please mute your phone when not asking a question.
      • 3. You can type your questions into the chat box, or “raise your hand” by clicking on the raised hand icon to let us know that you have a question.
      • 4. Please have your participants use the sign-in sheet that was e-mailed
      • 5. Please distribute and collect the evaluation forms that were e-mailed
    • Andy Lewis, Community and Economic Development Manager for the Building Community Capacity through Broadband (BCCB) initiative, University of Wisconsin Extension
    • 6. What is Broadband?
      Federal Communication Commission (FCC) definition:
      Any connection that downloads data at speeds greater than 4Mbps and uploads data at speeds greater than 1 Mbps
      Alternative definition:
      Connection that does not limit application (i.e. VoIP, web-based video streaming)
    • 7. Poll Question
      Do you subscribe to a broadband service at home?
    • 8. Who Has It?
    • 9. What Types of Broadband Are Available?
      Broadband can be provided over different platforms:
      Digital Subscriber Line (DSL);
      Cable Modem;
      Fiber-Optic Cable (Fiber);
      Satellite; and
    • 10. How Do We Connect in Wisconsin?
    • 11. How Does the U.S. Compare?
      Source: Ford Foundation, “Are We Wired for Change?”,
    • 12. One Size Doesn’t Fit All
    • 13. How Much Broadband Speed Do You Need?
    • 14. What’s Possible with High Speed Internet Access?
    • 15. Save Time & Money
    • 16. Online Classes
    • 17. Online Banking
    • 18. Online Shopping & Coupons
    • 19. Health Information
    • 20. Long Distance Phone Calls
    • 21. Share and Keep Digital Photos
    • 22. School Information
    • 23. Group Discussion…
      How might you use broadband at home if speed and cost were not an issue?
      Are all of these decisions based on saving time and money?
    • 24. Speeds Reported by Consumers
    • 25. Relatively High Satisfaction
    • 26. Poll Question:
      If you have broadband at home, do you know what speeds you are getting?
      I Don’t have broadband at home
      Yes, less than 4 Mbps
      Yes, 4-10 Mbps
      Yes, greater than 10 Mbps
    • 27. You Don’t Always Get What You Pay For…
      Measuring Broadband America - A Report on Consumer WirelineBroadband Performance in the U.S., FCC , March 2011
      A recent FCC survey found that 80 percent of consumers did not know what speed they purchased from their Internet Service Provider (ISP)
    • 28. Actual Speed Vs. Advertised Speed (Wired only)
    • 29. Actual Speed Vs. Advertised Speed
    • 30.
    • 31. Perhaps…but in my life time?
      "We need to change the discussion," Nation said. "(The future) might be over-the-air technologies as opposed to fiber optic.“
      - Thad Nation, Executive Director, Wired Wisconsin, Aug 28, 2011, The Leader-Telegram
    • 32. It’s not an either or proposition
      Virtually all communications systems depend on fiber. That includes mobile broadband.
      The fastest mobile broadband networks are currently delivering 1 to 17 Mbps compared to 1-10 Gbps connections provided by fiber networks (more on that later….)
    • 33. How fast is mobile broadband -- really?
      “AT&T is lying about 4G. Shamelessly,"'sSaschaSegan writes, after AT&T's 4G phones prove slower than its 3G phones in tests.
      "If I see another press release from T-Mobile with the words 'theoretical peak download speeds,' I think I might jump out the nearest window," Laptop Magazine's Mark Spoonauer declares
    • 34. Neil Weinberg, Forbes:
      “…AT&T’s wireless coverage is still God-awful. So it really burned my britches to wake up this morning and discover that Ma Bell, or what’s left of it, has with a wave of its marketing wand rebranded its cell network fourth generation.”
    • 35. Is Bigger Always Better?
      • Ranked last in the J.D. Powers customer service ranking (Aug 2011)
      • 36. Was rated the worst carrier in terms of consumer satisfaction by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (May 2011)
      • 37. Rated as the worst carrier by Consumer Reports (Dec., 2010)
    • Here are some real-life average mobile download speeds reported by PC World, Wired, and Computerworld
      AT&T: 1.1 to 2.5 Mbps
      Clearwire Clear: 2.2 Mbps
      Sprint: 1.5 to 4.4 Mbps
      T-Mobile: 2.3 to 8.9 Mbps
      Verizon: 1 to 17 Mbps
    • 38. Average Home Wired Broadband Speeds
      Averaged 3 Mbps in the U.S. in 2010
      Although about half of wired customers get speeds of 4 to 25 Mbps
      Source: Speed Matters,
    • 39. Units of Measurement - Megabits and megabytes
      • Broadband speed is measured in megabits per second, commonly stated as Mb or Mbps (i.e. 4 Mb or 4Mbps)
      • 40. The size of many files, including songs, photos, and movies, are most often described in megabytes
      • 41. There are eight bits in a byte. If your download speed is 8megabits per second (8Mbps), then that's actually moving 1 megabyte per second (1MB).
      • 42. 1 megabit = 1,000,000 bits = 1000 kilobits
    • 43. FCC Speed Test On my Droid
    • 44. How Much is .29 Mbps?
    • 45. Start the Jeopardy Theme Song Music….
    • 46. What if I had a 10Mbps 10G Connection?
    • 47. Faster Than a Speeding Bullet
    • 48. FCC Speed Test On my Droid
      12:30 P.M., 10-11-11 2:35 P.M., 10-11-11
    • 49. FCC Speed Test
    • 50. How Much Does it Cost?
    • 51. Where to find Broadband Providers in your Area?
    • 52. We Need….
      Mobile Networks
      High Capacity “wired” Broadband Networks
    • 53. CAN’s
    • 54. “WHAT DO YOU
      WiscNet STRATEGIC PLAN 2016
    • 55. Check out our video case studies profiling best practices in broadband!
    • 56. Questions?
    • 57. This program was brought to you by the “Building Community Capacity (BCCB) through Broadband” Project.For more information:Andy Lewis, Community and Economic Development Manager, Office of Broadband Sustainability, University of Wisconsin Extension,, 608-890-4254
    • 58. To view this and other webinars on the topic of Broadband: program will be archived at: