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Montana's State Broadband Website

Montana's State Broadband Website

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Montana Broadband

Connecting Across the Big Sky

Montana Broadband

Connecting Across the Big Sky

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Access to the world through broadband helps to allow local governments, educational institutions, emergency services, tribal communities, private businesses and citizens to create and disseminate information, education, literature, forms, policies, and business at a rate of speed and level that could not otherwise be achieved. Broadband - once considered a convenience - is now increasingly looked at as an essential medium for delivering these services.

What is considered "High Speed" ?

computer showing Skype video call

Skype video call

High speed internet allows large amounts of data to move quickly over the web for a reliable, seamless, real-time experience. Immediate business-to-business interactions, instant inventory updates, voice and video communications, and data management, are all examples of what you can do with high speed internet. By using broadband, people can interact with each other all over the world.

In general, broadband refers to telecommunication in which a wide band of frequencies is available to transmit information. Because a wide band of frequencies is available, information can be multiplexed and sent on many different frequencies or channels within the band concurrently, allowing more information to be transmitted in a given amount of time (much as more lanes on a highway allow more cars to travel on it at the same time).

Broadband is often measured in terms of bits per second. Typically, you see either Kbps (Kilobits per second) or Mbps (Megabits per second) describing the "speed" of a broadband connection.

As an example, to stream (watch) a movie on Netflix, Netflix recommends 700 Kbps minimum, and at least 2.4 Mbps for DVD-quality video. For Skype calls (video calls using a computer) the Skype minimum required speed is 1.2Mbps.

graph comparing bitrates of connection speeds

comparing data bitrates (speeds)

How do people access broadband?

People access broadband by a number of methods, but they are typically either "wired" or "wireless." Examples of "wired" service are: Cable Lines, Telephone Lines, and Fiber.

fiber-optic cable strands

fiber-optic cable strands

Wireless service can be broken down to fixed wireless and mobile or cellular wireless. Fixed wireless usually means that you receive your signal over-the-air, but to a fixed or static location, such as an antenna mounted on your roof. Mobile or Cellular wireless usually refers to cellular phones or other handheld devices that are by definition "mobile" and can travel easily from place to place.

typical cell phone

cell phone

Why is Broadband Important?

Broadband is a foundation for economic growth, job creation, and a better way of life. It is enabling entire new industries and unlocking vast new possibilities for existing ones. It is changing how we educate children, deliver health care, manage energy, ensure public safety, engage government, and access, organize and disseminate knowledge. Broadband networks create value for consumers and businesses when they are used in conjunction with broadband-capable devices to deliver useful applications and content.

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