As demand for broadband services has exploded over the past few years, and the number of “bundles” and offerings becomes ever more bewildering for business broadband and personal broadband users, we take a brief look at the types of broadband service available in the UK.
Essentially, there are three types of broadband service you can opt for – ADSL (the most commonly used), Fibre Optic (Cable), and Mobile broadband (increasingly popular).
The most commonly used service, ADSL is delivered down your telephone line. The speed you actually experience is rarely as high as the maximum speeds advertised, and will depend on the distance your line is from the telephone exchange, and other factors. Typically, you will be offered speeds of up to 8Mb on ADSL services, and you should be aware that higher speeds (up to 24Mb in some cases) would only be available in a few areas.
This type of broadband is delivered via a dedicated cable network, and the speeds are unaffected by distance (as they are with ADSL connections). Virgin Media is the key provider of cable broadband in the UK, and is therefore only available to certain parts of the UK. Unlike ADSL services, you can experience very high broadband speeds of 24Mb or more, and the service is typically more reliable than ADSL.
The most rapidly expanding broadband service is mobile. You access mobile broadband via a USB ‘dongles’ or modems, and can often do so on no-ties contracts, which provides a flexible solution if you want to use your laptop for example in multiple locations, or on the road. Broadband speeds are much lower than ADSL services, and download limits are still very controlled, so it is perhaps a potentially expensive option despite its flexibility.