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Breaking down the broadband blurb

What do all those broadband terms actually mean? (Image: Shutterstock)
What do all those broadband terms actually mean? (Image: Shutterstock)

In our last blog, we explained the difference between fibre vs full fibre broadband (since 35.5% of people don’t actually know the difference) and we talked about what it means for developers. This time, we’re going one step further, taking our readers on a walk through the broadband jargon and explaining what full fibre actually means for homeowners.

Why it’s necessary to break it down

Ofcom has recognised that broadband has a jargon problem, recently proposing new guidance to combat confusion around language and boost public understanding. Good timing as the appetite for faster speeds grows as our lifestyles get smarter.

This is reflected in homeowners’ expectations, with many counting broadband as the fourth utility, and the increased value of homes with strong connectivity.

As essential as having a broadband connection that meets the needs of the homeowner is an understanding of what a reliable, fast, future-proof connection means for them. Relatability is everything.

Taking full fibre into the home

Time to explain what all those buzz terms actually mean…

Latency - the amount of time it takes for data to go from one place to another.

What does that mean? If your teen plays fortnight, then latency can mean the difference between winning or losing. When buffering equals life or death online, the lower the latency, the faster those hand controls translate into the live game. And for the working from home grown-ups in a meeting, it means no more awkward ‘you’ve frozen’ moments.

Upload/download speeds - download speed is the speed data moves from the internet to your computer. Upload speed is the speed that data moves in the other direction.

What does that mean? Photographers working with large, hi-res image files won’t lose time to the dreaded progress bar if they have an upload speed as fast as their download. For people working in the cloud, your colleagues or clients will be able to collaborate in real time.

Bandwidth - the maximum amount of data transmitted over an internet connection in a given amount of time.

What does that mean? Have you got an internet-hungry household? With a higher bandwidth, multiple users, plus connected devices running in the background, such as smart security systems, can all do their thing uninterrupted.

Throughput - how much data is actually transmitted in a given period of time.

What does that mean? High throughput means zero buffering, which means streaming movies is a breeze. No more waiting for it to load, you’ll be able to hit the play button straight away. If you’re an online shopper, it’s the difference between winning and losing an eBay auction in those final few seconds.

Mbps – megabits per second. Bits are tiny units of data, with a megabit representing a million of them.

What does that mean? The higher the Mbps, the faster your connection. Full fibre currently offers speeds of up to 1000Mbps. Today’s fibre connections only offer up to 100Mbps. The government has set a target for every UK household to have access to gigabit internet by 2030 – that’s one billion bits, a whole different league to broadband on offer today.

Don’t leave the homeowners behind

Homebuyers may not yet be savvy to the difference between fibre and full fibre on paper, but they do in real life. And as the rollout of full fibre speeds up to meet the government’s Project Gigabit targets, they’ll soon be up to speed and adding full fibre to their shopping lists.

Not only do developers need to build homes that live up to connectivity needs today and tomorrow, they need to educate buyers in clear English and showcase future-proof connectivity as the major selling point it is.

We’d love to tell you more. Get in touch with us at


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