Broadband jargon explained

Broadband can be confusing.

This guide explains some of the jargon you might read or hear when looking into broadband packages.

This is the length of the contract you first sign up to. For broadband, this is often 18 months.

This is a unit that you will see described as ‘megabits per second’ (Mbit/s or Mbps). It helps tell you how fast your broadband is.

Similar to megabits, this represents 1,000 megabits.

This is when your broadband downloads the first few seconds of a video or TV show you’re watching online, so you can play it without downloading the whole thing first. If you have slower broadband, you are likely to see your connection buffering for longer or more often.

This is broadband able to provide speeds of at least 10 Mbit/s – it’s available to 97% of UK properties.

This is broadband able to provide speeds of at least 30 Mbit/s – it’s available to 93% of UK properties.

This is broadband able to provide speeds of at least 300 Mbit/s – it’s available to 48% of UK properties.

This is the latest broadband technology. It uses fibre-optic cables all the way up to your home, not just to the cabinet on your street. It’s far more reliable and faster than other types of broadband and is currently available to 5% of UK properties.

This is when you watch TV and films or listen to music online in ‘real time’, rather than downloading it to a device first. Services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Spotify are streaming services.

This plugs into your phone socket and allows you to use your devices such as tablets and laptops wirelessly through wifi.

This technology allows you to connect your devices such as tablets, laptops and smartphones to your broadband wirelessly.

What’s transferred between your device and the internet to allow you to use websites and other online services. Basic browsing online uses less data than things like playing videos.

Still confused?

Contact Ofcom for help and advice on: 0300 123 3333