Rural Broadband FAQs |

Charles County, Maryland

Rural Broadband FAQs

Rural Broadband FAQs

Q: What is broadband?

A: The term broadband commonly refers to high-speed Internet access.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines "high-speed" as a minimum of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) for download and 3 Mbps for upload. 

Q: What are download and upload speeds? How do I find my speeds?

A: The download speed measures how long it takes to transfer data from the Internet to your computer. The upload speed measures how long it takes to transfer data from your computer to the Internet. Most online activity consists of downloads, such as loading web pages or streaming videos, and most connections are designed to download much faster than they upload. You can find your speeds at

Q: What is an ISP?

A: An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is the industry term for a company that can provide homes and businesses access to the Internet, typically from a computer. 

Q: What is a franchise agreement?

A: Cable franchise agreements are legal agreements between a local government and a cable company. They allow the cable company to construct, install, maintain, and operate a cable system on County-owned rights-of-way. In exchange, the cable company will provide cable service to the residents of the County. For more information on the franchise agreements for Charles County, please visit

Q: What is a public-private partnership?

A: A public-private partnership is a cooperative arrangement between two or more entities in the public and private sectors.

Q: What is DSL?

A: DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line. It is a type of internet service that makes its connection by utilizing unused telephone wires that cause no interruption to your telephone service. The ability to get DSL is dependent on the residence or business being within a certain distance of the switching station. DSL speed can vary based upon the distance from the switching station. Locations closer to the switching station will experience faster speeds than those further away. 

Q: What is cable Internet?

A: Cable Internet is a form of broadband access provided by the local cable TV provider using coaxial cable. 

Q: What is fiber optic cable?

A: Fiber optic cable is a high-speed data transmission medium. It contains tiny glass or plastic filaments that carry light beams. Digital data is transmitted through the cable via rapid pulses of light. 

Q: What is Fiber to the Premises?

A: Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) is a form of broadband access in which fiber-optic cables are run directly onto customer's premises. 

Q: What is satellite Internet?

A: Satellite Internet is the ability to transmit and receive data using a satellite dish, which communicates with stations orbiting the Earth. It is a popular option for rural or remote areas without access to landline Internet. 

Q: What is a hotspot?

A: A hotspot is a physical location where people may obtain Internet access, typically using Wi-Fi technology. Wi-Fi is the name of a popular wireless networking technology that uses radio waves to provide wireless high-speed Internet and network connections.  

Q: Where can I watch updates to the County Commissioners on broadband and other topics?

A: You can view Commissioner meetings, including updates from the Rural Broadband Task Force, in the CCGTV Digital Library: