Look up broadband in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
The term broadband refers to a telecommunications signal or device of greater bandwidth, in some sense, than another standard or usual signal or device (and the broader the band, the greater the capacity for traffic).
Prior to the invention of home broadband, dial-up internet was the only means by which one could download songs, movies, e-mails, etc. It would take up to 10-30 minutes to download one song (3.5MB) and over 28 hours to download a movie (700MB). Dial-up internet was also extremely inconvenient since it took up the use of the home telephone line, and homes would have to decide if paying for a second telephone line was worth its cost.
In 1997, the cable modem was introduced, but broadband didn’t take off until 2001. Having home broadband made downloading times 10X faster than dial-up. Like many new technologies, most consumers were unable to afford such a luxury of fast internet. Price barriers weren’t a factor for long, and by 2004 the average American households considered home broadband to be affordable. Since its creation, broadband has continually strengthened and available speeds have become faster and faster.
Different criteria for "broad" have been applied in different contexts and at different times. Its origin is in physics, acoustics and radio systems engineering, where it had been used with a meaning similar to wideband.However, the term became popularized through the 1990s as a vague marketing term for Internet access.