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Technology Types

Selecting the appropriate technology for a community-led broadband initiative is one of the most daunting yet important tasks of the entire broadband planning process.  There are numerous types of technologies to choose from, each having its own characteristics across a wide set of attributes including user data rates, usage, environmental factors, cost of system deployment, and technical issues.

In an effort to demystify some of the technology decision making process, the Technology Sub-Committee of the Broadband Roundtable created a technology matrix (60k) to provide an “attribute by attribute” comparison of the most readily available technology options.   While simplistic in nature, the matrix is intended to provide both  “technical” and “non-technical” decision makers at the local level with a similar understanding of the broadband technology landscape to promote active participation in the decision making process.
As mentioned in the section on “applications,” technology selection decisions should not be made in a vacuum.  Every attempt should be made to identify existing bandwidth needs and catalog future applications of interest (and their associated bandwidth requirements) so that only technologies offering the requisite amount of bandwidth over the long-term will be seriously considered as infrastructure options.  The “right” technology for a community will balance “current cost” and “long-term benefit” while avoiding the pitfall of building for the immediate rather than planning for the future.