Broadband Glossary

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ADSL: See Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line
Always-on: Term refers to a connection that, unlike dial-up Internet connections, maintains a continuous connection
he network
nchor institution:
See Community Anchor Institution Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL): DSL service with a larger portion of the capacity devoted to downstream communications, less to upstream (asymmetric means “uneven”)

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Bandwidth: The rate at which data are transmitted in a given amount of time; usually measured in bits per second, kilobits per second (kbps), and megabits per second (Mbps)

IP: See Broadband Initiatives Program Bit: A single unit of data, either a one or a zero. In the world of broadband, bits are used to refer to the amount
ransmitted data. A kilobit (kb) is approximately 1,000 bits. A megabit (Mb) is approximately 1,000,000 bits
See Broadband over Powerline
See Broadband Passive Optical Network Broadband: A descriptive term for evolving digital technologies that provide consumers with integrated access to voice, high-speed data service, video-demand services, and interactive delivery services (e.g., , Cable Internet) Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP): A Federal funding program created as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, administered by the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), and designed to pro
funding for broadband infrastructure development in rural America Broadband over Powerline (BPL): A theoretical technology that would provide broadband service over existing electric
ower lines Broadband Passive Optical Network (BPON): BPON is a FTTP network architecture t
allows one optical fiber to serve multiple premises, usually at data transmission rates around 622 Mbps downstream Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP): A Federal funding program created as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and designed to provide funding for broadband infrastructure
lopment, public computing centers, and sustainability programs in underserved and unserved America BTOP: See Broadband Technology Opportunities Program
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able Internet:
The use of a coaxial cable television line to deliver “always on” broadband Internet service
See Community Anchor Institution
See Competitive Access Provider Cellular: A mobile communications system that uses a combination of radio transmission and conventional telephone sw
ing to permit telephone communications to and from mobile users within a specified area Central Office (CO): A circuit switch where the phone lines in a geographical area come together, usually housed in
all building
See Competitive Local Exchange Carrier
See Central Office Coaxial Cable: A type of cable that can carry large amounts of bandwidth over long distances. Cable TV and cable Internet service both utilize this technology Community Anchor Institution (CAI): A community-based organization that provides services to and support for the gen
public; usually a non-profit and/or government agency; examples include schools, libraries, and hospitals Competitive Access Provider (CAP): A Company that provides network links between the customer and the < a href="#Interexchange Carrier">Interexchange Carrier or even directly to the Internet Service Pro
r (ISP)
. Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC): A telecommunications company in competition with other, pre-established carriers, usually an ILEC

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See Deaf and Disabled Telephone Program Deaf and Disabled Telephone Program (DDTP): A public program that provides benefits, including specialized equipment
qualified disabled customers in California
A technology that provides customers with access to the Internet over an existing telephone line
igital Subscriber Line (DSL):
The use of a copper telephone line to deliver “always on” broadband Internet service Downstream: Direction of data flow from the Internet to a computer (e.g., Surfing the net, receiving e-mail, downloa
a file) DSL: See Digital Subscriber Line

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E-Rate: A Federal program that provides subsidies for voice and data lines to qualified schools, libraries, hospitals, community-based organizations, and other qualified institutions. The subsidy is based on a percentage designated by the "#Federal Communications Commission">FCC
See Ethernet Optical Network Ethernet: A local area network (LAN) form of network architecture that is used to Ethernet Optical Network (EON): The use of Ethernet LAN packets runni
ver a fiber network
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See Fourth Generation
See Federal Communications Commission Federal Communications Commission (FCC): A Federal regulatory agency that is responsible for regulating VoIP, among other things Fiber to the Neighborhood (FTTN): A hybrid network architecture involving the connection of optical fiber from the c
er network that terminates in a neighborhood cabinet, which converts the signal from optical to electrical Fiber to the Premises (FTTP): A fiber optic system that connects directly from the carrier network to the user’s pre
s Fourth Generation (4G): A generation of standards of wireless technology, wideband mobile services, and applications
ering users faster access to the Web than 3G (third generation) standards.
See Fiber to the Neighborhood
See Fiber to the Premises
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See Gigabit per Second Gigabit per Second (Gbps): A measure of how fast data can be transmitted equal to 1,000,000,000 bits<
per second
Gigabyte-Capable Passive Optical Network (GPON): GPON uses a different, faster approach (up to 2.5 Gbps in current products) than BPON Global Positioning System (GPS): A system using satellite technology that allows an equipped user to know exactly wh
he is anywhere on earth by identifying his current latitude and longitude coordinates
See Gigabyte-Capable Passive Optical Network GPS: See Global Positioning System

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See Hybrid Fiber Coaxial Network Hybrid Fiber Coaxial Network (HFC): An outside plant distribution cabling concept employing both fiber optic and coa
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See Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC): An ILEC is a telephone carrier that existed at the time when AT&T was divided into the Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs); the term often refers gen
ally to a telephone carrier Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN): An alternative method to simultaneously carry voice, data, and other tra
using the switched telephone network Interexchange Carrier (IXC): U.S. legal and regulatory term for a telecommunications company providing inter-ocal Access and Transport Area">LATA voice communication between telephone exchanges Internet Protocol-Virtual Private Network (IP-VPN): A software-defined network offering the appearance, functionalit
nd usefulness of a dedicated private network Internet Service Provider (ISP): A company providing Internet access to consumers and businesses, acting as a bridge between customer (end-user) and infrastructure owners for dial-up, cable modem, DSL, fiber, or other Internet connection servi

See Internet Protocol-Virtual Private Network
See Integrated Services Digital Network
See Internet Service Provider IXC: See Interexchange Carrier
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See Kilobit per Second Kilobit per Second (kbps): A measure of how fast data can be transmitted equal to 1,000 bits per seco

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See Local Area Network Last Mile Project: A broadband infrastructure project that builds connections from a middle mile network or ISP to the end user; generally refers to a last mile project funded through the BIP or B

See Local Access and Transport Area Local Access and Transport Area (LATA): Term representing a specific area of the U.S. defined prior to the division
T&T into the (RBOCs) or added later for wireline regulation Local Area Network (LAN): A geographically localized network consisting of both hardware and software that can link
stations within a building or multiple sites with a single wireless Internet connection Local Loop: A generic term for the connection between the customer’s premises (home, office, etc.) and the ISP's central office. Historically, this has been a wired connection; however, wireless options
increasingly available for local loop capacity
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See Metropolitan Area Network
See Megabit per Second Megabit per Second (Mbps): A measure of how fast data can be transmitted equal to 1,000,000 bits
second. Metropolitan Area Network (MAN): A high-speed data network operating intra-city that links multiple locations with a
pus, city or LATA. A MAN typically extends as far as 50 kilometers. Middle Mile Project: A broadband infrastructure project that builds connections from the core network to the ISP; generally refers to a middle mile project funded through the BIP or BTOP. Return to top


See National Telecommunications and Information Administration National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA): An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce that focuses on national telecommunications policies and is resoponsible for administering the BTOP

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See Regional Bell Operating Company
egional Bell Operating Company (RBOC):
Telephone company created as a division of AT&T and known as a “Baby Bell” Rights-of-Way: Legal rights of passage over a piece land owned by another. Carriers and ISPs must obtain rights-of-way to dig trenches or plant poles for cable systems, and to place wireless antennae. Rural Area: An area designated as “rural,” as opposed to “suburban” or “urban,” generally relying on U.S. Census Bureau or other government definitions of “rural;” rural areas are often considered to be those areas at a specific distance from
metropolitan area and/or with a low maximum population density (i.e., number of people per square mile)
See Rural Utilities Service Rural Utilities Service (RUS): A division of the United States Department of Agriculture that promotes universal service in unserved and underserved rural areas of the country with grants, loans, and financing; agency responsible for administering the BIP.

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See Second Generation Second Generation (2G): A generation of standards of wireless technology, wideband mobile services, and applications
t preceded 3G (third generation)
See Synchronous Optical Network Streaming: A Netscape innovation that downloads low bit text data first, then the higher bit graphics, thereby allow
users to read the text of an Internet document first, while the entire file loads. Subscribership: Subscribership is the number of customers who have subscribed to (i.e., paid for) a particular telec
nications service. Switched Network: A domestic telecommunications network usually accessed by telephones, key telephone systems, priva
ranch exchange trunks, and data arrangements. Synchronous Optical Network (SONNET): A family of fiber-optic transmission rates.

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See Third Generation
See Trunk Level 1
See Trunk Level 3 Third Generation (3G): A generation of standards of wireless technology, wideband mobile services, and applications offering users faster access to the Web than 2G (second generation) standards but slower acces
an 4G (fourth generation) standards. Trunk Level 1 (T-1): A digital transmission link with a total signaling speed of 1.544 Mbps. It is a standard for di
l transmission in North America. Trunk Level 3 (T-3): A digital transmission link equal to 28 T-1 lines, or 44.736 Mbps.

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Ubiquitous: Everywhere at all times; in technology, this refers to technology that is available 24 hours a day, 7 da
week, 365 days a year
See Unbundled Network Elements Unbundled Network Elements (UNE): Leased portions of a carrier’s (typically an ILEC’s) network used by another carrier to provide service to customers. Underserved Area: A region that has less access to broadband than the federally accepted guidelines for being “serve

niversal Service:
The idea of providing every home in the United States with basic telephone service. Universal Service Fund (USF): Federally-created fund that supports the policy goal of u
rsal service
; administered by the USAC Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC): A non-profit company, independent of the U.S. Government, which adm
ters the Universal Service Fund (USF)
nserved Area:
An area that lacks access to broadband
Direction of data flow from your computer to the Internet (e.g., sending e-mail, uploading a file).
See Universal Service Administrative Company USF: See Universal Service Fund

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See Very High Data Rate Digital Subscriber Line Very High Data Rate Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL): A developing technology that employs an asymmetric form of ADSL,
h projected speeds of up to 155 Mbps. Video on Demand: A service that allows users to remotely choose a movie from a digital library and be able to pause,
t-forward, or even rewind their selection. Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN): A network of computers that behave as if they are connected to the same wire even
ugh they actually may be physically located on different segments of a LAN.
See Virtual Local Area Network Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP): A new technology that employs a data network (such as a broadband connection) t
ansmit voice conversations.
See Voice over Internet Protocol Return to top