Broadband Legislation in Nebraska

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    Broadband Legislation in Nebraska

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    National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Grant Programs

    NTIA administers grant programs that further the deployment and use of broadband and other technologies in America, laying the groundwork for sustainable economic growth; improved education, public safety, and health care; and the advancement of other national priorities.

    NTIA manages three broadband grant programs funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021:

    • Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program: A $980 million program directed to tribal governments to be used for broadband deployment on tribal lands, as well as for telehealth, distance learning, broadband affordability, and digital inclusion.
    • Broadband Infrastructure Program: A $288 million broadband deployment program directed to partnerships between a state, or one or more political subdivisions of a state, and providers of fixed broadband service to support broadband infrastructure deployment to areas lacking broadband, especially rural areas.

    Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program: A $268 million grant program directed to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) for the purchase of broadband internet access service and eligible equipment or to hire and train information technology personnel.

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    Frequently Asked Questions:

    What is the difference between the “kinds” of internet (cable, fiber, wireless, etc.)?

    Satellite internet: Your provider sends a fiber internet signal to a satellite in space. The internet signal then comes to you and is captured by your satellite dish. Your dish is connected to your modem, which connects your computer to the internet signal. The process reverses back to your provider, and there you have it.

    Satellite internet is subject to high latency, so the speeds aren’t always what they seem. Other internet types use better infrastructures to get you more reliable speeds.

     

    Cable internet: Cable internet service uses the same coaxial cable network as cable television to provide your home with internet. Your internet service provider sends a data signal through the coaxial cable, or coax cable, into your home—specifically, to your modem.

    The modem then uses an Ethernet cable to connect to your computer or router, which is what gives you access to high-speed internet. If you choose to use a router, you can then broadcast a Wi-Fi signal throughout your home. Your provider transmits data between servers using this coaxial cable, and since TV itself takes up only a small portion of the cable’s bandwidth, it leaves room for internet service to work within the same network.

    These cable networks stretch all across the country, and there are even undersea cables that reach between water-separated areas. Plus, cable internet can spread speeds evenly among individual users. It also means that if you pay more, you have access to more bandwidth, which means faster speeds.

    Cable download speeds range anywhere from 1 Mbps to 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps). The national average is around 100 Mbps. Upload speeds aren’t quite the same, though, usually ranging from 1 Mbps to 50 Mbps.

     

    Fixed Wireless internet: Fixed wireless to the home (FWTTH) internet is an internet option that connects one location, like a farm or a house, to the internet via radio waves through a wireless internet service provider (WISP). Even though the name mentions “wireless,” WISPs do not include satellite or cell phone service providers. Though you don’t need a phone or cable line for fixed wireless internet, you will need an antenna. The antennas that are attached to your home (or near your home). These antennas beam your internet signal from your computer to a fixed location: usually a fixed wireless hub attached to a tower. Still, you’ll want to make sure your antenna has a clear line of sight to the tower. Any hills, trees, buildings, or other objects can cause problems with your signal.

    Because fixed wireless antennas are attached to land-based towers that are typically about 10 miles from your home, you’ll get a lot less lag, or latency, with this kind of connection than with satellite internet. That short distance between your fixed wireless antenna and the tower means you’ll probably see latency that matches what you’d get with DSL internet.

     

    DSL internet: Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) brings a connection into your home through telephone lines and allows the household to use the Internet and make telephone calls at the same time. It works because the DSL system separates the telephone signals into three bands of frequencies. The lowest band allows for telephone calls, while the other two bands take care of uploading and downloading online activity. Cable companies provide a cable modem for their Internet customers. DSL companies provide a similar piece of hardware called a DSL transceiver.

    Today’s DSL is likely ADSL, which was an improvement to the initial technology. But more than that, there is now ADSL+2, described as “an extension to ADSL broadband technology” that boosts download speeds significantly. ADSL2+ has taken the capability of DSL from 7.1 Mbps to up to as much as 15 Mbps downstream or downloading speed, which is what matters to most people.

     

    Fiber-optic internet: fiber-optic internet lines transfer data using modulated light instead of electricity. That gives them much higher bandwidth capacity since they’re not bound by the physical limitations of electricity conducting through metal.

    There are three types of fiber internet—and not all are made equal.

    Fiber to the home or premises (FTTH or FTTP) means your fiber internet connection goes straight into your home. If your home isn’t already set up to receive a fiber connection, you may need your ISP to drill holes or even dig nearby. This is the holy grail of fiber connections.

     

    Fiber to the curb (FTTC) means your fiber connection goes to the nearest pole or utility box—not an actual concrete curb. After that, coaxial cables will send signals from the “curb” to your home. This means your connection is made up of part fiber-optic cables, part copper wires.

     

    Fiber to the node or neighborhood (FTTN) provides a fiber connection to hundreds of customers within a one-mile radius of the node. The remaining connection from the node to your home is often a DSL line that uses existing telephone or cable lines[1].

     

    [1] For FTTN the farther you live from the node, the longer the DSL line needs to be to reach your house—and the longer the line, the more attenuation and distortion you get, causing slower internet.

    What kind of speed is associated with the “kinds” of internet and how much do I need?

    Well, it depends on several factors. First, how many devices are connected to the internet in your home (televisions, thermostats, lights, appliances, phones, computers, tablets, watches, sprinklers, etc.)? Second, what do you use your internet for (streaming, gaming, conference calls, email, banking, education, telehealth, etc.)?

    Lastly, most internet service providers (ISP) advertise maximum available download speeds; however, you also need to consider available upload speeds available.

    Upload speed: determines how fast you can send, or upload, data from your computer or device to the internet. This includes uploading files, such as pictures and videos to social media or homework assignments, but upload speeds are also essential to video conferencing, VOIP calling and online gaming. Slow or unstable upload speeds are often the cause of awkward frozen screens and broken audio when using apps like Skype or Zoom.

    Download speed: affects picture and sound quality when streaming a show on your TV, your upload speeds affect how others see and hear you on the other end of your video conference or online game.

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