Broadband more appropriately refers to any internet type that isn’t a dial-up connection. Essentially, broadband’s debut marks the age at which most of us moved on from the days of modems that tied up our phone lines to dial into internet provider companies like AOL. And what an age that was (we still hear the screeching modem sounds in our dreams).
Today, broadband internet generally includes any “always on” cable, DSL, fiber-optic, and even high-speed satellite internet connection. But not every plan operates at truly high speeds. So to compare internet providers, we decided to use the FCC’s 2015 guidelines on broadband internet speeds, which set the minimum at a 25 Mbps downstream.6
Most small to midsize businesses can operate well at 25 Mbps or more. Of course, as speeds get faster, even this current definition will start to seem slow. And the FCC may change its mind on minimum broadband standards. We’ll update you as necessary.
High-speed broadband internet connections encompass plans from a variety of service providers and connection types. Depending on your area, you may have access to several of these or just one.
- Cable: This connection uses the same modems and coaxial cables that deliver cable TV, so cable internet is widely available in most well-populated areas.
- Digital subscriber line (DSL): These may be sent via phone lines, but DSL connections are faster and more reliable than the phone-based dial-up internet of yesteryear.
- Fiber: Fiber-optic networks beam light through glass or plastic bundles of wires—each wire the size of a human hair— and these connections offer some of the fastest internet speeds on the planet.
- Satellite: For rural businesses without access to land-based broadband, satellite internet is like an internet angel sent to earth by planet-orbiting stations.
- Wireless: Whether through hotspots, cellular signals, or fixed radio towers, wireless internet provides options for remote and traveling businesses.
Learn more about the difference between internet types with our detailed comparison.