Broadband is a high bandwidth internet connection and is now the standard type of internet access here in the UK. Through either cable telephone networks, satellite or mobile phone networks, broadband carries a large quantities of data to your PC, smart-phone, lap-top or tablet. Ofcom announced in March 2013 that the average speed of residential households in Britain is 12 Megabits per second (Mbps), although depending on the area that you live in, that speed will vary.
However, it appears the next generation of fixed line internet connection is here with the introduction of fibre optic superfast broadband. Both BT and Virgin Media are leading the way in offering this new technology to their customers. Last year, BT finished rolling out a fibre optic network across the UK, increasing average speeds to around 40Mbps. Talk Talk, Eclipse, Plusnet and Zen Internet all run their services over the same network.
While these speeds are eclipsing the standard broadband offered through copper cabling, there are now even faster packages available. BT offer the Infinity package which gives speeds of 76 Mbps (as does Plusnet, Talk Talk and EE), but Virgin Media is leading the way with 100Mbps and 120Mbps packages.
What are the advantages of a super-fast broadband package?
The most obvious advantage of super-fast broadband is its speed. Movies take minutes to download and streaming content is buffering-free. This type of connection is also great for online gaming and internet telephone programmes, allowing a fast, constant stream of data.
Fibre optic cabling is capable of carrying signals long distances without it degrading. This is the reason why Virgin Media is the only ISP that offers a completely guaranteed advertised speed. The company is the only ISP that runs its connections through an entirely fibre optic network.
This type of broadband now also benefits from several providers, unlike the current 4G situation, meaning that prices start to come down as one ISP tries to undercut the others. Already, a brief look at our price comparison tables show that there are several good reduced introductory offers of three to six months from the major companies.
What are the disadvantages of a super-fast broadband package?
The main disadvantage is that of availability, as the fibre optic networks are introduced throughout the UK. For example, Virgin Media’s 120Mbps deal is limited to areas where they have updated their network. However, this situation is likely to change as all ISP’s increase their capacity.