Digital Arizona Program Link to the Arizona Broadband Project Link to - The State of Arizona Official Website ASET
Drop Down Menu
Broadband 101

Need to understand
broadband better?
You've come to the right place!


  Broadband allows you to do today, what you only dreamed
  of doing just a few years ago, and all from the comfort of your home!

    Lesson 1

Physical access to Broadband is obviously the most important factor in gaining access to the Internet.

However, Broadband is delivered via different technologies, and the type of technology determines the range of speeds delivered to your computer.

Many other factors will determine the speed of your connection and more importantly, how quickly you can access information, download files, or receive e-mails.

Speed = Quality
Speed can also determine the quality of the video you are watching, or audio you are listening to.

Depending on which application you're using, the speed of your connection will often determine whether it is even possible to run the application effectively.

Q. Why do I keep getting a message that my connection isbuffering?”


Measuring the speed needed to perform specific tasks, and run certain programs

There are two different factors to consider when measuring speed.

1. Bandwidth - refers to the size of the conduit in which the data is travelling.

2. Speed - refers to the rate at which the data is travelling at.

Using that definition, you see that a larger bandwidth will permit more data to travel, which will also increase the rate at which it travels.

This does not necessarily mean that the speed of your Broadband connection will be the same as your bandwidth. Bandwidth simply refers to the size of the “pipe” in which it is travelling.


For example, let's say you're transferring a file at 128 kbps. If you start to transfer another file it will compete for the total bandwidth and slow your speed down.

If you increase your bandwidth by adding another 128kpbs ISDN line, your first file will still travel at 128kpbs, but now you can transfer both files at 128kbps without sacrificing speed.

An analogy would be a highway with a 65mph speed limit. Even if more lanes were added to handle more vehicles, the speed limit is still 65mph.

Broadband streaming speed chart

Broadband Technology and Speeds (download)

Broadband Technology

Download Speed Range


{NOTE: I WILL REVERSE ORDER The Following list}


Up to 56 Kbps

Phone Line


768 Kbps - 6 Mbps

Phone Line


400 Kbps - 2 Mbps

Wireless Satellite


50 Kbps - 1.5 Mbps


Cable Modem

4 Kbps - 25 Mbps

Coaxial Cable


up to 128 Mbps



up to 150 Mbps



up to 1 Gbps for mobile users



Read More about your Broadband Service Options here >>


Broadband Providers and "Advertised Speeds"

Broadband providers advertise speeds in ranges for this very reason. It is difficult to estimate specifically how fast a specific connection will be.

Providers know they can provide a certain amount of bandwidth to handle specific amounts of data – but they do not know precisely when this data will be travelling, or when specific demands will be placed in the network.

So, instead of promising speeds that would be impossible to continuously maintain, they offer speeds which fall within certain ranges.

Your connection speed should fall within the ranges listed for the packages offered.


The bandwidth for these offerings should not be less than the maximum speed listed. For example, you cannot have speeds of more than 15 Mbps with a bandwidth of 15 Mbps.

Some providers offer speeds “up to certain speed.” In these cases, the “up to” speed is the bandwidth, which means that the speed you will actually experience could be much lower.

Bandwidth plays an integral role in both your upload speed and your download speed.


The Difference Between Upload and Download Speed for Broadband

In essence, there is no difference between uploading data and downloading data aside from the direction of the data transfer.

Download speeds are also usually much faster than upload speeds, because most Internet users retrieve data from the Internet – not transmit data and files to the Internet.


Providers generally advertise the speed of the data in the fastest direction, which is usually the download speed.

If you are a user who uploads large files or other high-volume information over the Internet, you might shop for faster upload speeds.

Units of Measurement - megabits and megabytes

Broadband speed is measured in megabits per second, commonly stated as Mb or Mbps (i.e. 15Mb or 15 Mbps).

There are eight bits in a byte, so, if your download speed is 8 megabits per second (8Mb), then that's actually sending 1 megabyte per second (1MB).

Make sure you don't get confused between megabits and megabytes (which tends to be written as MB, or GB when referring to gigabytes).


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.

download speeds chart

By its very definition, Broadband is a high speed Internet connection - which is also always on.

Dial-up access, on the other hand, requires the user to initiate a 56 Kbps connection to the Internet.


The FCC raised the minimum speed of Broadband to 4 Mbps downstream, and 1 Mbps upstream.

This is now the standard for a minimum "Broadband" connection.

The FCC set out an ambitious goal in the National Broadband Plan

The 100 squared initiative proposes to make
100 Mbps Broadband
available to 100 million people by 2020.




Our Mission:

To promote and facilitate broadband access through public-private cooperation – to provide all Arizona citizens and businesses the means to utilize high volume digital information and services at a reasonable cost – to create economic opportunity and improve quality of life for every person, organization, and community throughout Arizona.

   - Digital Arizona Program

Contact Us at Arizona Broadband
Website Design by - A Designing Woman
©2014  Digital Arizona Program