Assessing Sufficiency and Quality of Bandwidth for Public Libraries
Based on data collected as part of the 2006 Public Libraries and the Internet study, the authors assess the degree to which public libraries provide sufficient and quality bandwidth to support the library’s networked services and resources. The topic is complex due to the arbitrary assignment of a number of kilobytes per second (kbps) used to define bandwidth. Such arbitrary definitions to describe bandwidth sufficiency and quality are not useful. Public libraries are indeed connected to the Internet and do provide public-access services and resources. It is, however, time to move beyond connectivity type and speed questions and consider issues of bandwidth sufficiency, quality, and the range of networked services that should be available to the public from public libraries. A secondary, but important issue is the extent to which libraries, particularly in rural areas, have access to broadband telecommunications services.