There are many terms that are puzzling to most people until they become more involved with the world of high-speed internet. For your convenience, we provide here a list of common terms and their meanings. Feel free to contact us at to make any suggestions or corrections. 

Use your CTRL+F keys to search for particular terms. 

In addition to the terms below, we’d like to recognize and thank The Light Brigade for providing these additional terms from their FTTx Glossary.




Downstream and upstream speeds are not comparable. DSL and cable modem technologies have lower upstream speeds than downstream speeds.


Connection between a PoP and middle mile network.


Speed at which a network can transmit data across it. Bandwidth speed determines if you can download a picture in 2 seconds or 2 minutes.


High speed data transmission with an ability to simultaneously transport multiple signals and traffic types. The medium can be coaxial cable, optical fiber, radio (wireless), or twisted copper pair.  Examples: CATV, DSL, FiOS, Wi-Fi, WiMAX, 3G, 4G, 5G, satellite. 2015 FCC definition of broadband: minimum speed of 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload.

Cable modem

Internet access over the cable TV network. Protocol is called DOCSIS. DOCSIS 1.0 offers speeds up to 38 Mbps. Subscriber speed is not dependent on distance from the cable TV equipment. Note: the newer version, DOCSIS 3.0, offers speeds up 120 Mbps and higher.


Capital Expenditure

Competitive Local Exchange (CLEC)

Telco that competes with the established telco or ILEC. Note: CLEC status provides right to use existing pole attachment agreements filed with the PSC.


Customer Provided Equipment. Equipment located at the customer’s premise connected to the provider’s network.

Customer Drop

Connects the provider’s network to the subscriber’s premise.

Demarcation Point (Demarc)

Location established in a building or house to separate customer equipment (CPE) from the provider’s network equipment.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

Internet access over copper phone lines. Maximum speed approximately 25 Mbps. Speed degrades quickly over distance, i.e. the longer the fiber loop between the DSL connection point and the subscriber, the slower the speed.


Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification. International telecommunications standard that permits the addition of high-speed data transfer to an existing cable TV (CATV) system.

Downstream/download speed

Speed at which the user’s computer can receive data from the internet.


Digital Subscriber Line. Technology that provides digital data transmission over the copper telephone network. ADSL – Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. VDSL – Very High Speed Subscriber Line.

Fiber To The Home (FTTH)/Fiber To The Premises (FTTP)

Installation and use of optical fiber from a central point directly to individual buildings such as residences, apartment buildings, and businesses to provide high-speed internet access.

Fiber-optic network

System that uses glass (or plastic) to carry light which is used to transmit information. Fiber optic technolog

G.x (

  • Supplement of FTTx broadband solutions
  • Reuse of existing buildings and home network cabling
  • Support integration of copper twisted pair, coaxial cable and power cable
  • Bandwidth: data transmission rates up to 1 Gbit/sec
  • Significantly reduces installation and operating cost

Gigabits per second (Gbps)

Measure of data speed. One gigabit = on billion bits per second.


Internet Service Provider

Last mile

Final leg of a connection between a service provider and the customer.

Make ready

Work necessary to make a pole or right-of-way available for the attachment of additional lines, wires, cables or other facilities. For example, adjustments may need to be made to exiting attachments to allow the new attachment to meet national electrical code standards. Or a taller pole may need to be installed to allow space for added attachments.

Megabits per second (Mbps)

Measure of data speed. One megabit = on million bits per second.

Middle mile

Term used to describe the network connection between the last mile and the backbone internet connection.

Multiple Dwelling Unit (MDU)

Apartment buildings. Existing leases with service providers and rewiring are barriers to FTTP entry.


Operations and Maintenance

Open access

Arrangement in which the network is open to independent service providers to offer services. Open access provides more completion from which subscribers can choose.


Operating Expenditure


 To create a parallel or duplicate network that competes with an incumbent provider.


A residence or business or parcel that has access to the network is considered to be “passed”.  It means the residence or business is eligible to subscribe to services, i.e. internet, cable, telephone.

Point of Presence (PoP)

Access point to the internet. Physical location that houses servers, routers, switches.

Pole attachment agreement

 A FCC or PSC agreement governing the attachment of lines, wires, cables or other facilities to a pole or right-of-way between the attaching entity and the pole-owning entity.


Passive Optical Network

PPP (P3)

Public Private Partnership.


Request for Information. Used to collect information about the capabilities of various suppliers.


Request for Proposal. Used to solicit bids for procurement of a commodity or service.


Downstream and upstream speeds are comparable. Fiber networks offer symmetrical downstream/upstream speeds.

Take rate

Number of accepted offers/number of contacts

Telco, Common Carrier, Local Exchange Carrier (LEC), Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC)

Provider of telecommunications services such as voice and data services.

Triple play

Three primary services – television, phone, and internet access.

Upstream/upload speed

Speed at which the user’s computer can send data to the internet.


Wave Division Multiplexing. One wavelength for downstream traffic and another for upstream traffic on a single mode fiber.