Broadband Jargon Busting

Here you will find some useful definitions for frequently used terms relating to broadband.

Building Digital UK (BDUK) – The programme within the Department of Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) responsible for Digital Infrastructure projects and programmes in the UK.

State Aid – this is the mechanism to ensure that public funds are only applied to areas that are deemed not commercially viable, i.e areas where no commercial provider indicated they have coverage or have plans to operate coverage.

Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programme (RGCP) – this programme is targeted to utilising DCMS funding aimed at installing full-fibre connectivity in building (known as hub sites), which provide a public service.

Rural Gigabit Connection Vouchers (RGCV) – part of the Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programme announced by DCMS in May 2019. This scheme offers residents and businesses in some of the hardest-to-reach areas in the UK, additional funding towards the cost of gigabit-capable broadband to their premises.

Cross-border Premises – Premises that are served by exchanges located outside of Leicestershire. The Government is managing exchange areas in county boundaries at a national level to ensure fairness and that no areas fall through the gaps. The local authority in which the exchange is located would need to pay for the infrastructure required. If there are premises served by this exchange, but are located within a neighbouring county, these premises will still benefit from the infrastructure and be able to upgrade to faster broadband.

Next Generation Access (NGA) – Refers to higher performance technologies than broadband provided over traditional copper networks. NGA technology is fibre optic and can provide higher download and upload speeds to support line speeds above 30Mbps. Examples of NGA include Fibre to the Premise (FTTP, Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) and Fixed Wireless Access.

Planned Coverage – Planned coverage is modelled by running an Open Market Review (OMR) with all broadband infrastructure providers to define where they have commercially built or plan to build broadband infrastructure. Only premises which are not included in these declared coverage plans are eligible for public funded intervention. Following this process, the local authority would run a public procurement where broadband operators are require to state how many of the remaining eligible premises they will commit to upgrading with the amount of public funding available.

Universal Service Obligation (USO) – from 20 March 2020, if you cannot get a download speed of 10Mbps and an upload speed of 1Mbps, you can request an upgraded connection.


Internet Service provider (ISP) – any company that providers broadband services to homes and businesses.

Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) – Form of DSL connection that uses frequencies on regular, copper telephone lines that aren’t taken up by voice calls. It is possible to receive up to 24Mbps download over ADSL, however upload speeds could be variable due to the condition of the wires, distance and any noise or interference on the telephone line.

Very-high Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL) – An improved version of ADSL technology that provides faster upload and download speeds and is a product available from the Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC). VDSL can be up to five times faster for download and ten times faster for upload speeds.

Fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) – is a fibre connection from the exchange to the local on-street cabinet, then a copper connection from the cabinet to end premise.

Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) – is a 100% fibre connection all the way from the telephone exchange to the end premise.

FTTP on Demand (FoD) – This is a fibre connection to your premise with speeds up to 330Mbps and would be built to order at a cost to yourself if your premise is already in a Fibre-to-the-Cabinet exchange area and served by FTTC. When you order the service, Openreach will plan and provide details of the cost to install the product to your premise.

Cabinet capacity – When a new FTTC cabinet is installed, Openreach know how many properties will be connected and they also make an assumption regarding how many connections will be taken-up. If the take-up is higher than anticipated, Openreach will need to add additional capacity by installing new connection cards into the cabinet. Openreach actively monitor each cabinet and will automatically order the new cards, so in many cases, the upgrade will happen before the cabinet reaches capacity. On occasion however, take-up may be higher than expected and can also happens very quickly, which means the cabinet will reach capacity quicker and then cause a short delay before new orders can be taken.

Full fibre – Full-fibre broadband uses fibre optic cables to connect the exchange directly to each premises (also known as FTTP). Full-fibre connections are capable of download and upload speeds over 1 Gbps. It is currently the fastest and most reliable broadband technology.

Gigabit capable – any technology that can deliver 1 gigabit per second (1 Gpbs is equal to 1000 Mbps). 1 Gbps allows a high definition film to be downloaded in under one minute.

Wayleave – a legal document granting permission to access or cross privately-owned land. The Digital Infrastructure Programme is now delivering to very rural areas, which can become problematic with highways (publicly owned land) being less suitable or not available; this can cause delays.

Coverage Map

UPRN – Unique Premises Reference Number. Every premises has a a unique reference number allocated AddressBase Premium dataset supplied by Ordnance Survey, under license.

Classification – R = Residential, NR = Non-residential. This classification comes from the AddressBase Premium dataset supplied by Ordnance Survey, under license.

Get in touch

If our FAQs don’t answer your query and you want to know more, or you want to share your story, please get in touch.