Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
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Broadband is delivered by two groups of technologies: wired and wireless. These speeds may be delivered to the end user in a variety of formats, including fiber optic, co-axial cable infrastructure, DSL, fixed wireless access (FWA), cellular or satellite.

diagram showing connections different technologies
  • Fiber optics transmit data through hair-sized glass fibers at speeds exceeding other broadband technologies. While fast, the high cost of infrastructure limits its availability.
  • Cable internet enables cable operators to provide broadband using the same coaxial cables and modem that deliver pictures and sound to a user’s television.
  • Digital subscriber line (DSL) is a wireline transmission technology that transmits data over traditional copper telephone lines.
  • Wireless broadband can be mobile or fixed. It connects a home or business to the internet using a radio link between the customer’s location and the service provider’s facility. Topography and manmade structures can prevent availability to some wireless networks.
  • Satellite broadband is another form of wireless broadband and is useful for serving remote or sparsely populated areas, but slower than other technologies.
  • Broadband over powerline (BPL) is an emerging technology that uses low- and medium-voltage power distribution networks to deliver broadband via existing electrical connections and outlets. BPL is available in very limited areas.

Source: FCC

Any data that comes to your home or business computer must use the broadband network, whether it comes from another home computer for email or video conferencing or a large data center server that provides for online shopping, streaming or web browsing. The same is true for anything you send or upload.

But what is a broadband network?

Backbone or first mile: In this analogy, the backbone is the Interstate Highway System. The backbone includes connections between large cities, major towns and major data centers.

Middle mile: Middle mile is analogous to state and county roads. It links smaller towns and neighborhoods between cities. Having a middle-mile connection nearby is necessary to enable last-mile connections.

Last mile: Last mile is akin to local roads. It is the connection that goes to every house, business and apartment. Depending on data needs, last mile can be provided through a number of technologies explained above.

diagram of network design

For a more detailed description, download the Texas Broadband Plan, 2022 (PDF).

The Texas Comptroller’s flagship publication, Fiscal Notes, has reported on Texas’ Digital Divide and Broadband Expansion in Texas.

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