Broadband Internet access, often shortened to just "broadband", is a high data rate connection to the internet— typically contrasted with dial-up access using a 56k modem.
Dial-up modems are limited to a bitrate of less than 56 kbit/s (kilobits per second) and require the dedicated use of a telephone line — whereas broadband technologies supply more than double this rate and generally without disrupting telephone use.
Although various minimum bandwidths have been used in definitions of broadband, ranging up from 64 kbit/s up to 4.0 Mbit/s, the 2006 OECD report is typical by defining broadband as having download data transfer rates equal to or faster than 256 kbit/s, while the United States (US) Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as of 2010, defines "Basic Broadband" as data transmission speeds of at least 4 megabits per second (Mbps), or 4,000,000 bits per second, downstream (from the Internet to the user’s computer) and 1 Mbit/s upstream (from the user’s computer to the Internet). The trend is to raise the threshold of the broadband definition as the marketplace rolls out faster services.
Data rates are defined in terms of maximum download because several common consumer broadband technologies such as ADSL are "asymmetric"—supporting much slower maximum upload data rate than download.
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