Broadband is the way we connect to the internet and replaced the original ‘dial-up’ connection.
We measure broadband speeds in bits per second, shortened bps, and bits are tiny units of data.
The more bits per second means a quicker experience using the internet, downloads complete more quickly, webpages load faster and streaming music or videos play more smoothly.
1 kilobit = 1000 bits
1 megabit = 1000 kilobits
1 gigabit = 1000 megabits
Superfast, Ultrafast and Gigabit Broadband
Fastershire uses the EU definition of superfast broadband as 30 megabits per second (Mpbs), instead of the slower 24mbps adopted by much of the UK but the superfast range goes up to approximately 80Mbps.
Ultrafast broadband is widely defined as download speeds of 100 Mbps and above, whereas, Gigabit represents the next step up in broadband speeds, with download speed starting at 1000 Mbps.
How is broadband supplied?
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
Connection: Standard broadband
ADSL offers faster connection speeds than dial-up services, and there are three different types of ADSL technology used in the UK, ADSL and ADSL2 and ADSL2+.
Fibre based services
Fibre broadband is delivered by fibre optic cables that can deliver far more data than ADSL.
There are two main types of fibre broadband:
Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC)
Connection: Superfast capable broadband
FTTC is more common of the two types of fibre broadband and uses fibre optic cables but only as far as your local street side cabinet, and then uses the existing copper phone lines to connect to your home.
Full Fibre / Fibre to the Premise (FTTP)
Connection: Ultrafast & Gigabit capable broadband
Full Fibre also known as Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) or Fibre to the Homes (FTTH) is the next-generation of broadband. Full fibre is just that, a 100% fibre connection that means you can access a gigabit capable fibre connection straight to your home.
Other types of broadband
Broadband connections can also be delivered using cable, like V l (HFC) network, mobile broadband using 3g, 4g and 5g networks, satellite internet which connects to orbiting satellites, and wireless broadband using long-range Wi-Fi transmissions.
Making the most of your internet: Broadband
One of the questions we are asked the most at Fastershire is what's the difference between broadband and Wi-Fi? In this short video, our science journalist friend Toby Murcott explains how understanding these two technologies can help you get faster internet.