The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

February 7, 2013

Delivering broadband to Ottumwa a priority

(Continued)

OTTUMWA — What is broadband?

The FCC is working on an “official” definition of “broadband.” Their current, unofficial definition keeps changing.

Though there are more factors than speed to determine what broadband is, it generally has to do with how fast you can get stuff to come from the Internet to your computer

Using a dialup service — the kind you can hear dialing, buzzing and clicking when you first get on the Internet, “downloading” a TV show so you can watch it later might take 28 minutes.

According to providers, downloading the same show onto your computer using broadband takes 30 seconds.

By the numbers: Dialup may have a “speed” of 0.2 megabytes of information per second. Over the past year or two, the FCC has defined “broadband” as a download speed exceeding 4 megabytes of information per second. A locally hired consultant says 10 mbps is the new definition for broadband.

If you do have broadband, the FCC says, you should also be able to send information, like messages, photos or videos, to other computer users by “uploading” at 1 megabyte per second.

At one time, half a megabyte per second was considered blazingly fast. Now, the FCC says, 4 mbps is “fast.” In Ottumwa, Mediacom recently started offering 105 mbps.

In general, the FCC states, broadband is a “high-speed telecommunications capability that enables users to originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics and video telecommunications.”

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