Broadband Jargon Busting

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


Terms to know when buying a service

ISP/Internet Service Provider   is any company that provides broadband services to homes and businesses. 

Mbps and Gbps – ‘Megabits-per-second’ and ‘Gigabits-per-second’ are units of measurement referring to how fast data moves across a network, and therefore how fast your broadband download and upload speeds are. A higher number means a faster speed. 

Superfast broadband – has download speeds between 30Mbps and 300Mbps. 

Ultrafast broadband – has download speeds of greater than 300Mbps. 

Gigabit broadband – has download speeds of at least 1Gbps, which is the same as 1,000Mbps. 

Full Fibre broadband – Full fibre broadband uses fibre optic cables to connect the exchange directly to each premises (also known as FTTP or ‘Fibre-To-The-Premise). Full fibre connections are capable of a download speed of over 1 Gbps. It is currently the fastest and most reliable broadband technology. 

Connection charge – is the charge or fee associated with installing or reconnecting the phone line(s) or cables for broadband at your premises.    

Technical terms

ADSL/Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line – a standard internet connection delivered over a copper phone line. It is possible to receive up to 24Mbps download over ADSL, however speeds could be variable due to the condition of the wires, distance and any noise or interference on the telephone line. 

Ethernet – a technology used in a local area network (‘LAN’) to interconnect computers, carry voice or data services internally, and which can provide a dedicated connection to the internet. 

FTTC/Fibre-To-The-Cabinet – is a fibre connection from the exchange to the local on-street cabinet, then a copper connection from the cabinet to end premise. This technology generally has a maximum download speed of up to 80Mbps however actual speeds can diminish with distance from the cabinet, and the network can be affected by poor weather.  

FTTP/Fibre-To-The-Premise – is a 100% fibre connection all the way from the telephone exchange to the end premise. Generally, the distance to the premises does not affect the speed delivered and is less susceptible to faults and poor weather. This is also sometimes referred to as full fibre. 

FTTP on Demand (FoD/FTTPoD) – 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.

IP/Internet protocol – is the technology used to carry data over the internet. 

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.

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.

Broadband infrastructure project terms 

Building Digital UK (BDUK) – The programme within the Department of Science, Innovation & Technology (DSIT) responsible for Digital Infrastructure projects and programmes in the UK. 

Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme This government 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. The scheme is accessible through broadband service providers that have registered to provide connections through the scheme. 

Gigahubs – Gigahubs are a government-funded initiative to provide gigabit-capable broadband to public sector buildings such as schools, libraries and GP surgeries. Gigahubs are part of ‘Project Gigabit’. 

Project Gigabit – this is the government’s £5 billion programme to bring gigabit-capable broadband to areas that are not included in broadband suppliers’ plans. Project Gigabit will deliver to mostly rural and remote communities in the UK but will also tackle pockets of poor connectivity in urban areas.  

Other terms

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

Universal Service Obligation (USO)If you cannot get a download speed of 10Mbps and an upload speed of 1Mbps, you can request an upgraded connection. 

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