All broadband services that are displayed in the LinkWISCONSIN maps meet the minimum Federal Communications Commission (FCC) definition for the rate or speed of data transmission: 768 Kilobits per second (Kbps) download speed (from the Internet to your computer) and at least 200 Kbps upload (from your computer to the Internet).
The terms used for the rate of data transmission can be quite confusing. As a brief summary:
- The prefix 'kilo' means thousand. One Kbps equals 1000 bits per second (bps). Kbps (capital 'K') is also sometimes written as 'kbps.' Both terms carry the same meaning.
- 'Mega' means one million. 'One megabit per second (Mbps) equals 1000 Kbps--or one million bps.
- 'Giga' means one billion. One gigabit per second (Gbps) equals 1000 Mbps--or one million Kbps--or one billion bps.
- Transmission rates are typically referred to in 'bits' per second, rather than 'bytes' per second (Bps), and the terms kilobyte, megabyte, and gigabyte are generally only used when referring to amount of disk space.
It is possibly better understood in terms of which computer applications can be used at various speeds. Actual speeds required for activities, such as photo sharing, streaming audio/video, online gaming, telemedicine and other bandwidth intensive services are difficult to estimate. The nature of Internet technology itself and the demands (bandwidth requirements) of the various applications consumers use the Internet for are ever changing.
The following provides an overview of each speed tier's potential capabilities in today's marketplace:
- 768 Kbps - 1536 Kbps: generally considered sufficient for basic Internet applications, including e-mail, light web surfing, sharing of lower resolution pictures and the ability to make/receive phone calls through Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) applications. The FCC definition of broadband 'starts at' 768 Kbps upstream. Speeds below this level are not considered broadband in today's marketplace. (This speed tier is the equivalent of 768 Kbps to 1.5 Mbps.)
- 1536 Kbps - 3072 Kbps: generally considered a quality broadband service speed range. Enables a more robust web surfing experience (few noticeable delays), the sharing of larger files (in a timely fashion), and reasonable quality Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) and streaming audio/video. (This speed tier is the equivalent of 1.5 Mbps to 3.0 Mbps.)
- 3072 Kbps - 6144 Kbps: generally considered a strong broadband service speed range in today's market. This level may only be available via technologies, such as cable, fiber, BPL and the latest generation wireless services. It is typically sufficient for good quality two-way video streaming and IPTV, large file transfers (in a timely manner), a high-quality web surfing experience and online gaming. (This speed tier is the equivalent of 3.0 Mbps to 6.0 Mbps.)
- 6144 Kbps - 10240 Kbps: considered a very strong/fast service speed in today's market. Enables commercial-grade file transmission, a very robust web surfing experience, high-quality video/audio streaming for education and telemedicine applications, and robust online gaming. (This speed tier is the equivalent of 6.0 Mbps to 10.0 Mbps.)
- 10240 Kbps - 25600 Kbps: a very high-end consumer or commercial grade service in today's broadband market. Provides for very high quality (high definition) streaming audio/video experience, very fast file transfer capability, multi-player gaming and other high-bandwidth applications. (This speed tier is the equivalent of 10.0 Mbps to 25.0 Mbps.)
Click here to test your speed.