This is a collection of learning courses, tools and resources for the broadband industry.
Corning’s Community Broadband University to share insights, trends, and strategies needed to position your FTTH deployment for success. We’ve started with the topics we deemed most critical in the early planning phases for your network but will continue to generate additional educational content that addresses all stages of network deployment and operations. Topics include Business Planning, Network Basics, Project Planning, Funding, Architecture, Network Design, Materials, Construction, Operating a Network, Marketing.
Everything You Wanted To Know About Broadband (But Were Afraid To Ask) - This one- pager prepared by the Benton Institution for Broadband & Society covers basic concepts from defining broadband, the problem with broadband, types of access and more.
Broadband 101 Guide - This two-page guide outlines broadband basic terminology and technology is prepared by Institute for Local Self-Reliance.
Broadband 101 Workshop - This comprehensive material, prepared by David Reed, Faculty Director, Interdisciplinary Telecom Program at the University of Boulder, walks you through introductory broadband concepts to broadband uses, types and technology.
SCTE moves member companies forward through continuous training for the workforce of tomorrow and by putting leaders into the conversations that matter.
The Society for Broadband Professionals aims to raise the standard of broadband engineering in the telecommunications industry. The Society provides a forum for the exchange of technical information and experience through formal publications and lectures as well as social interaction between members.
CNet Training - CNet Training, formerly CableNet Training Services Limited, has been designing and delivering professional network infrastructure training programs since 1996.
Fiber U - The Fiber Optic Association - This is a free learning website offered by the Fiber Optic Association that provides online self-study courses, tutorials, textbooks, videos and links to help you learn about fiber optics and premises cabling.
Light Brigade delivers fiber optics knowledge and skills training globally. Based out of Kent, WA, our network of veteran instructors are able to train students to reach a number of industry-recognized certification standards.
NCTI is a highly collaborative organization recognized for its expertise to produce and deliver quality content and innovative solutions to enrich learning and strengthen teams and organizations.
The Fiber School is one of the largest, most diverse fiber optic training programs in the USA with over 70 courses in more than a dozen countries around the world.
Mississauga Training Consultants is a leader in industrial skills training and certification for fiber optic installers, network cabling systems inspection, and other industry specializations in the electrical and communications industry. Instructors are fully qualified as certified Fiber Optic Specialists.
PTT helps telecommunications and ICT companies get the best from their technical staff through online training solutions. PTT's online telecommunications courses allow telecoms professionals to keep pace with advances in communications technology with minimum disruption to their key roles.
CommScope’s broadband access and FTTx training courses are designed with those who plan, design, install and maintain service provider fixed access networks. Covering topics such as outside OSP fiber, PON distribution and drop cable, installation in residential and multi-dwelling environments; Broadband and FTTx courses cover both commercial and residential applications for multiple system operators (MSOs), service providers and individual FTTx network operators.
Access Charge: A fee charged subscribers or other telephone companies by a local exchange carrier for the use of its local exchange networks.
Analog Signal: A signaling method that uses continuous changes in the amplitude or frequency of a radio transmission to convey information.
Backbone: The Internet is really a network of networks, and the large trunk lines that connect them are referred to as the “backbone.” It can also be thought of as being like the highway system: the interstate highways are the backbones that connect regions that have highway networks of their own.
Backhaul or middle mile: The section of the network that connects the last mile portion of the network to the service provider’s core network, where the services such as broadband, TV, and phone service originate from.
Bandwidth: The capacity of a telecom line to carry signals. The necessary bandwidth is the amount of spectrum required to transmit the signal without distortion or loss of information. FCC rules require suppression of the signal outside the band to prevent interference.
Bits and bytes: A bit is the basic unit of information in computing. The name comes from “binary digit,” and each bit has one value, either 1 or 0, or on and off. It usually takes eight bits to represent one character of text; a group of eight bits makes a byte. Data file sizes are measured in bytes while data speed is measured in bits.
Broadband: a shorthand term for any high-speed Internet access that is faster than dial-up and, unlike dial-up, is always on. Over the years, as what we use the Internet for has demanded a larger capacity for moving data, different entities have set speed definitions for broadband, implying that an Internet-access service shouldn’t be called “broadband” or “high-speed” unless it meets a certain speed level.
Cable or cable modem: The common terms for cable Internet access, which uses the cable TV infrastructure to provide Internet access services (similar to the way DSL uses the phone network infrastructure). Coax is the short term for coaxial cable, the type of cable used in cable TV infrastructure.
Calling Party Pays: A billing method in which a wireless phone caller pays only for making calls and not for receiving them. The standard American billing system requires wireless phone customers to pay for all calls made and received on a wireless phone.
Commercial Leased Access: Manner through which independent video producers can access cable capacity for a fee.
Common Carrier: In the telecommunications arena, the term used to describe a telephone company.
Communications Act of 1934: Signed into law by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Communications Act of 1934 created a unified regulatory system for communications. Among other things, it created the Federal Communications Commission, which replaced the Federal Radio Commission, and took over the regulation of interstate telephone services from the Interstate Commerce Commission. The central principle of the act was that a comprehensive nationwide communications system “with adequate facilities at reasonable charges” was good for the country.
Community Antenna Television (CATV): A service through which subscribers pay to have local television stations and additional programs brought into their homes from an antenna via a coaxial cable.
Connect America Fund: The Connect America Fund was unveiled in 2011 as part of the Universal Service Fund, redesigned to help fund Internet infrastructure in the nation’s high-cost areas. CAF put a new emphasis on Internet service.
Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program: A part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, this fund is overseen by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). This $285 million grant program is not infrastructure related but rather it can be used for: the purchase of broadband internet access, eligible/related equipment and devices support adoption of broadband, digital literacy programs to hire and train information technology personnel
Content provider: A business or coop that doesn’t provide the Internet access but provides things to do on the Internet. Netflix and Google are good examples.
Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds: This fund can be used for COVID-related economic recovery activities including broadband needs. Broadband funding will be focused primarily on last-mile infrastructure investments. However, assistance to households facing negative economic impacts due to COVID-19 is also an eligible use, including internet access or digital literacy assistance.
Cramming: A practice in which customers are billed for enhanced features such as voice mail, caller-ID and call-waiting that they have not ordered.
Data packets: Data is sent over the Internet as packets. One file is divided into many packets when it is sent, then reassembled into one file again at its destination. Using packets allows data to travel much faster since the individual packets are smaller than the original file and can travel separately over different routes before reassembling. Think small cars in traffic compared to semis.
Dial Around: Long distance services that require consumers to dial a long-distance provider’s access code (or "10-10" number) before dialing a long-distance number to bypass or "dial around" the consumer’s chosen long-distance carrier in order to get a better rate.
Digital Television (DTV): A new technology for transmitting and receiving broadcast television signals. DTV provides clearer resolution and improved sound quality.
Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS/DISH): A high-powered satellite that transmits or retransmits signals which are intended for direct reception by the public. The signal is transmitted to a small earth station or dish (usually the size of an 18-inch pizza pan) mounted on homes or other buildings.
DSL: Digital Subscriber Line. A group of technologies used to transmit data over telephone lines. DSL made high-speed Internet access possible for ordinary consumers without having to do a great deal of rewiring. “ADSL” stands for asymmetric digital subscriber line, meaning the data travels downstream and upstream at different rates. It is the most common form of DSL, and according to Wikipedia, as of 2012 DSL was still the most common technology for broadband access in the world.
Emergency Broadband Benefit Program provides support for broadband services and certain devices to help low-income households stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides up to a $50 a month discount on service and associated equipment, up to $75 a month for households on Tribal lands, and a one-time discount on a laptop, tablet, or desk top computer of up to $100 for qualifying low-income households.
Federal Communications Commission: The FCC was created by the Communications Act of 1934 and today regulates “interstate communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.”
Fiber, DSL, cable/coax, wifi, wireless: The different types of materials over which data travels. Sometimes referred to as the “media” or “technology” used in the physical infrastructure of broadband.
Fiber: A fiber optic cable is made up of bundles of hair-thin strands of very pure glass or plastic. Data passes over them in the form of light pulses created by lasers. Because of the purity of the glass or plastic, data can travel much farther and faster on fiber than on copper wires with much less loss of data.
Frequency Modulation (FM): A signaling method that varies the carrier frequency in proportion to the amplitude of the modulating signal.
FTTH/FTTP : Using fiber to replace all or part of the “last mile” portion of a provider’s network (home/premises/curb/node). In fiber to the home, the network is made up of fiber all the way from the provider’s core network to the wall of the house or business. (Although fiber to the home—FTTH—is the common term, fiber to the premises is also used to include both homes and businesses.) Fiber to the curb means fiber has been run down the street past premises, but not up to the building, which is still connected by copper. Fiber to the node means fiber has been run to the network connection point in a neighborhood and no farther. As the connection points fan out, the expense of replacement increases.
High Definition Television (HDTV): An improved television system that provides approximately twice the vertical and horizontal resolution of existing television standards. It also provides audio quality approaching that of compact discs.
ILECs and CLECs: Incumbent local exchange carriers and competitive local exchange carriers. Before the Telecommunications Act of 1996, telephone companies operated as legal monopolies in defined territories of service, called exchanges. After the 1996 act and its emphasis on competition, these carriers became incumbent local exchange carriers in their operating territories. At the same time competing local exchange carriers were allowed to enter any territory, build their own infrastructure, and offer services. A large part of communications regulations and the way communications companies operate in Minnesota is still influenced by these territories. For example, ILECs were and still are required to be the carrier of last resort (COLR) within their own exchanges, providing phone service to everyone regardless of cost of operation.
Instructional Television Fixed Service (ITFS): A service provided by one or more fixed microwave stations operated by an educational organization and used to transmit instructional information to fixed locations.
Interactive Video Data Service (IVDS): A communication system, operating over a short distance, allows nearly instantaneous two-way responses by using a hand-held device at a fixed location. Viewer participation in game shows, distance learning and e-mail on computer networks are examples.
Internet Protocol: The computer language that allows all the above-mentioned technologies to speak to each other. Before the invention of Internet protocol (IP), telephone networks could only transfer data on other telephone networks, cable networks on other cable networks and so on. IP makes the transfer of data technology-neutral, allowing networks everywhere to transfer data anywhere.
ISP or provider: Internet service provider, an entity that provides access to the Internet and the services available there; who a customer buys Internet service from. In Minnesota, ISPs come in several forms, including privately owned commercial businesses, telephone cooperatives, electric cooperatives, stand-alone Internet service coops, and municipal providers.
Land Mobile Service: A public or private radio service providing two-way communication, paging and radio signaling on land.
Landline: Traditional wired phone service.
Last mile: The term that describes the last link connecting the provider’s network to the customer’s premises, either a house or a business. The last mile is the most expensive part of the network to build or upgrade because of the number of units involved. One fiber cable may be trenched down a street, but there may be twenty houses on the street that need to be connected. Upgrading the copper cable connection between each house and the fiber in the street would be the last mile. This last link can also be the reason customers often don’t receive the level of Internet speed advertised by their provider. Since data travels more slowly on copper compared to fiber, when the data hits the copper, it slows down.
Low Power FM Radio (LPFM): A broadcast service that permits the licensing of 50-100 watt FM radio stations within a service radius of up to 3.5 miles and 1-10 watt FM radio stations within a service radius of 1 to 2 miles.
Low Power Television (LPTV): A broadcast service that permits program origination, subscription service, or both via low-powered television translators. LPTV service includes the existing translator service and operates on a secondary basis to regular television stations. The transmitter output is limited to 1,000 watts for normal VHF stations and 100 watts when a VHF operation is on an allocated channel.
Mobile: Mobile wireless Internet, accessed via smartphones. Data is transferred between cell phone towers, which are connected to the service provider by fiber.
Must-Carry (Retransmission): A 1992 Cable Act term requiring a cable system to carry signals of both commercial and noncommercial television broadcast stations that are "local" to the area served by the cable system.
National Telecommunications and Information Administration: An agency of the federal Department of Commerce, the NTIA serves as advisor to the President on the impact of telecommunications policies on the nation’s economic and technological advancement and on the telecommunications industry itself.
Network: Any connection of two or more computers that enables them to communicate. Networks may include transmission devices, servers, cables, routers and satellites. The phone network is the total infrastructure for transmitting phone messages.
Number Portability: A term used to describe the capability of individuals, businesses and organizations to retain their existing telephone number(s) –– and the same quality of service –– when switching to a new local service provider.
Open Video Systems: An alternative method to provide cable-like video service to subscribers.
Peering and transit agreements: Agreements that govern moving one entity’s data traffic over another entity’s network. With peering agreements, network owners allow each others’ traffic to move over their networks at no cost or in some kind of cost-sharing arrangement. With transit agreements, the entity that wants to move the data (it may be an ISP or a content provider like Netflix) must pay the network owner to use their network. (Here’s a good explanation and illustration of how peering and transit agreements work.) If a provider moves its own customers’ data on its own network (e.g., sending an email to someone served by the same provider), there are no fees. If two entities don’t have an agreement, the data may have to travel farther around on networks they do have agreements with, which can also slow traffic down.
Prescribed Interexchange Charge (PICC): The charge the local exchange company assesses the long distance company when a consumer picks it as his or her long distance carrier.
ReConnect program: Overseen by USDA Rural Development which defines e-Connectivity as providing increased productivity, improved operations, enhanced healthcare (tele-health) options, education (remote learning) opportunities, and competitive entrepreneurship
Roaming: The use of a wireless phone outside of the "home" service area defined by a service provider. Higher per-minute rates are usually charged for calls made or received while roaming. Long distance rates and a daily access fee may also apply.
Rural Utility Service: A division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Utility Service grew out of the Depression-era Rural Electrification Administration. Its mission is to help provide public utilities—water and sewer, electrification, and telecommunications—to rural areas through public-private partnerships providing loans and grants. RUS is one of three agencies that make up USDA Rural Development (including Rural Business-Cooperative Service and Rural Housing Service).
Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999 (SHVIA): An Act modifying the Satellite Home Viewer Act of 1988, SHVIA permits satellite companies to provide local broadcast TV signals to all subscribers who reside in the local TV station’s market. SHVIA also permits satellite companies to provide "distant" network broadcast stations to eligible satellite subscribers.
Satellite Master Antenna Television (SMATV): A satellite dish system used to deliver signals to multiple dwelling units (e.g., apartment buildings and trailer parks).
Satellite: Internet service provided via satellite. Satellite can be the only option for remote residents, but it is generally considered slow, less reliable and more expensive than other options if and when they are available.
Scanner: A radio receiver that moves across a wide range of radio frequencies and allows audiences to listen to any of the frequencies.
Service Plan: The rate plan you select when choosing a wireless phone service. A service plan typically consists of a monthly base rate for access to the system and a fixed amount of minutes per month.
Slamming: The term used to describe what occurs when a customer’s long distance service is switched from one long distance company to another without the customer’s permission. Such unauthorized switching violates FCC rules.
Spectrum: The range of electromagnetic radio frequencies used in the transmission of sound, data and television.
Subscriber Line Charge (SLC): A monthly fee paid by telephone subscribers that is used to compensate the local telephone company for part of the cost of installation and maintenance of the telephone wire, poles and other facilities that link your home to the telephone network. These wires, poles and other facilities are referred to as the "local loop." The SLC is one component of access charges.
Symmetric, asymmetric: Whether the up and down speeds match. A rate of 10 Mbps down/10 Mbps up would be symmetric, while a speed of 10/1 would be asymmetric.
Tariff: The documents filed by a carrier describing their services and the payments to be charged for such services.
Telecommunications Act of 1996: Changes in technology, court decisions, and changes in federal policy led to the first major overhaul of telecommunications law in sixty years. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 brought many significant changes to the industry in the name of competition, including the breakup of AT&T’s near monopoly on long-distance service. It created the Universal Service Fund and the E-rate program for schools and libraries, but it also created some confusion by creating distinctions between “telecommunications service” and “information service.”
Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS): A free service that enables persons with TTYs, individuals who use sign language and people who have speech disabilities to use telephone services by having a third party transmit and translate the call.
Tier 1, 2, 3: Classification indicating the size of a service provider. Tier 1 providers are the largest, such as AT&T, CenturyLink, Zayo, and Verizon, with network systems that span the globe. They can generally send data anywhere without having to pay transit fees, either because they own the network or they have peering agreements with other networks. A Tier 2 network “peers” with many networks, but also has to pay some transit fees. A Tier 3 service provider must pay transit fees to access the Internet.
TTY: A type of machine that allows people with hearing or speech disabilities to communicate over the phone using a keyboard and a viewing screen. It is sometimes called a TDD.
Unbundling: The term used to describe the access provided by local exchange carriers so that other service providers can buy or lease portions of its network elements, such as interconnection loops, to serve subscribers.
Universal Service Fund: A central principle of the Communications Act of 1934 was that all Americans should have access to a basic level of telecommunications service—universal service—and many policies were enacted to carryout that goal. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 created the Universal Service Fund, a pool of money collected from telecommunications companies and used for building and maintaining telecommunications infrastructure and services in high-cost areas. Four programs are supported by the Fund: the High-Cost Program, Lifeline Program, Rural Health Care Program, and Schools and Libraries Program.Telecommunications companies may charge a Universal Service Fund fee back to customers to help recover some of their contribution to the program.
Upload and download: The direction of the data between the end user and the service provider. Something moving “upstream” or “uploading” is moving from the end user’s computer or device to the service provider, while data moving “downstream” or “downloading” is moving from the service provider to the end user. When referring to speed, “10 down” means data is moving downstream to the end user at a rate of 10 megabits per second or Mbps, while “1 up” means data is moving at a rate of 1 Mbps up from the end user. Downstream is important in applications like streaming video, while upstream is important for end users who need to send large files somewhere, for instance, to a customer or to a hospital.
Very High Frequency (VHF): The part of the radio spectrum from 30 to 300 megahertz, which includes TV Channels 2-13, the FM broadcast band and some marine, aviation and land mobile services.
Video description: An audio narration for television viewers who are blind or visually disabled, which consists of verbal descriptions of key visual elements in a television program, such as settings and actions not reflected in dialog. Narrations are inserted into the program’s natural pauses, and are typically provided through the Secondary Audio Programming channel.
Wi-Fi: A technology that produces a wireless local area network allowing a computer or other device to connect to the Internet wirelessly. Equipment in the device communicates with the Wi-Fi router, which is connected to the network with some type of physical cable or wire. Depending on the system’s power, the area can be as small as a room or cover several square miles. Examples include the Wi-Fi router in a home, a hotspot at a coffee shop, or citywide wifi networks. Wi-Fi is a trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance, an organization that certifies equipment for interoperability. A generic term is “wireless local area network.”
Wireless: A short name for fixed wireless (as opposed to mobile wireless). Fixed wireless technology transmits data between two fixed antennas using radio waves, including microwaves. Unlike Wi-Fi, the radio beams are often kept narrow to keep up the strength of the signal. Antennas are preferably set up high on buildings since line of sight is necessary.
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF): This fund will disburse up to $20.4 billion over 10 years to bring fixed broadband and voice service to millions of unserved homes and small businesses in rural America. $9.23 billion was awarded in Phase I. Pending final applications, as much as $11.17 billion could be available in Phase II.