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What is Broadband

Broadband is the transmission of wide bandwidth data over a high speed internet connection.

So what is broadband? According to the FCC, the definition of broadband internet is a minimum of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speeds. Broadband provides high speed internet access via multiple types of technologies including fiber optics, wireless, cable, DSL and satellite.

Types of Broadband

Broadband internet is delivered through several different technologies with varying availability based on location. Which broadband internet service you choose will depend on your needs, preferences, cost and where you live.

Fiber optic

Fiber optics carry lots of data using pulses of light through strands of fiber at the fastest speeds.

Gigabit Connection with blistering speeds up to 940/880 Mbps.


Wireless broadband (Wi-Fi) connects a home or business to the internet using radio signals instead of cables.

Speeds of up to  300 Mbps to homes in select cities.


Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) transmits data over traditional copper phone lines.

High Speed Internet up to 15 Mbps to your home on a network that’s 99.9% reliable.

Cable & Satellite

Cable delivers high speed internet over the same coaxial cables that deliver pictures and sound to your TV set.

On the other hand, internet connectivity via satellite is provided by communication satellites and is often the best option in rural areas.

Connection type Max Download Speed Upload Speed Range Available in the UK 2020 (as a percentage)
ADSL 8Mbps 1.5Mbps 99.9%
ADSL2+ 24Mbps 1.5Mbps 99.9%
FTTC 80Mbps 18Mbps 96%
GFast 300Mbps 50Mbps 9-10%
Cable 575Mbps 38.5Mbps 46% (estimate)
FTTP 1000Mbps (1Gbps) Unknown 8-9%

What speeds are used for doing what

FTTP stands for fibre to the premises, and essentially refers to fibre broadband that is wired directly to the home instead of a cabinet that services the area (which is referred to as FTTC, or fibre to the cabinet). 

FTTP, unlike FTTC, uses all fibre optic cables, making it the fastest type of fibre you can get. In fact, fibre optic allows for up to 1GBps (1000Mbps), though there aren’t any current UK providers that offer speeds that high. With the combination of fibre optic cables and the fact that they go directly to your home, FTTP is certainly the preferred option for those who are serious about their broadband use. 

What is FTTC?
FTTC means Fibre to the Cabinet and refers to broadband that draws its connection from a cabinet that services a specific area. You can see these in the street when you’re walking along - they’re normally either grey or green coloured.

FTTC broadband rarely needs home installation because when you switch, the company is able to connect you via these cabinets. Most UK broadband providers get their fibre services from BT’s Openreach network, which is what these cabinets include.


Ultimately, the type of broadband you go for will very much depend on your personal situation. If you live on your own or have a family that doesn’t go online much, you’re unlikely to want to shell out for a 300Mbps+ broadband connection. For light internet users, FTTC is perfectly adequate and also has a much higher coverage, with the vast majority of UK households able to connect this way even in rural areas. 

FTTP is ideal for those who want a much faster connection and can afford the increased cost. In more populated areas, providers such as Virgin Media offer the best solution for superfast broadband, making them appealing for those who fall inside the catchment areas. 

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