Federal Internet Law & Policy
An Educational Project


Dont be a FOOL; The Law is Not DIY
- Broadband
- Network Neutrality
- Classification of Internet over Broadband
- Sec. 706
- Stimulus Plan
- FCC Natl BB Plan
- Dial Up
- - Naked DSL
- - UNE
- - Net over Wireline (Info Service)
- Cable
- - Open Access
- Fiber
- Wireless
- - 3G
- - Wifi
- - WiMax
- - 700 Mhz
- Powerline
- Satellite
- Municipal Broadband
- Telecom Services
- Computer Inquiries
- Network Neutrality
- Forbearance
- Backbones
- Layers
- Interconnection
- - Negotiation
- Reciprocal Comp
- Mergers
- Federal Advisory Committees
- Universal Service
- Statistics: Broadband

Derived From: Broadband Internet Regulation and Access: Background Issues, CRS Report for Congress, Nov. 21, 2008 (copy acquired through wikileaks)

Broadband or high-speed Internet access is provided by a series of technologies that give users the ability to send and receive data at volumes and speeds far greater than Internet access over traditional telephone lines. Currently, a number of telecommunications companies are developing, installing, and marketing specific technologies and services to provide broadband access to the home. Meanwhile, the federal government — through Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) — is seeking to ensure fair competition among the players so that broadband will be available and affordable in a timely manner to all Americans who want it.

Broadband is being increasingly viewed as a vital public infrastructure, significant to the nation’s (and to individual regional, state, and local) economic growth and vitality. Broadband access, along with the content and services it enables, has the potential to transform the Internet — both what it offers and how it is used. For example, a two-way high speed connection could be used for interactive applications such as online classrooms, showrooms, or health clinics, where teacher and student (or customer and salesperson, doctor and patient) can see and hear each other through their computers. An “always on” connection could be used to monitor home security, home automation, or even patient health remotely through the Web. The high speed and high volume that broadband offers could also be used for bundled service where, for example, cable television, video on demand, voice, data, and other services are all offered over a single line. In truth, it is possible that many of the applications that will best exploit the technological capabilities of broadband, while also capturing the imagination of consumers, have yet to be developed.

Broadband Technologies

There are multiple transmission media or technologies that can be used to provide broadband access. These include cable modem, an enhanced telephone service called digital subscriber line (DSL), satellite technology, fiber, mobile or fixed wireless technologies, and others. Cable and DSL are currently the most widely used technologies for providing broadband access. Both require the modification of an existing physical infrastructure that is already connected to the home (i.e., cable television and telephone lines). Each technology has its respective advantages and disadvantages, and competes with each other based on performance, price, quality of service, geography, user friendliness, and other factors. The following sections summarize cable, DSL, and other broadband technologies.

Rights of Way

A necessary pre condition to building telecommunications is access to rights of way. The very first federal regulatory telecommunications legislation, the Post Roads Act, gave telegraph networks access to rights of way. Most of the early land grant legislation which contracted for the building of the transcontinental telegraph line and other telegraph lines were about giving access to rights of way. The National Broadband Plan Chap 6: Infrastructure (109 "government should take steps to improve utilization of existing infrastructure to ensure that network provid- ers have easier access to poles, conduits, ducts and rights-of-way.") significantly addressed access to rights of way (as well as things like "build once" policies, access to conduit, and pole attachments) as significant barriers to the deployment of broadband.

"The cost of deploying a broadband network depends significantly on the costs that service providers incur to access conduits, ducts, poles and rights-of-way on public and private lands.2 Collectively, the expense of obtaining permits and leas- ing pole attachments and rights-of-way can amount to 20% of the cost of fiber optic deployment.3" [NBP 109]

Speeches, Press Releases, Hearings

Government Papers




Press Releases


Mexico Communications Network Symposium, Albuquerque, New Mexico , November 10, 1999



Regulatory Activity



See also| Broadband Deployment Statistics |Cable News | Wireless News |
| DSL News | Fiber News | Backbone News | Power Line News | Satellite News | Dial Up | Laser | Industry | Municipalities |


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