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We know it can be confusing understanding your bits from your bytes, your streams from your buffers…

That is why we have put together a little jargon buster guide for you to make it easier to digest all the information about connectivity and your options.

3G – This is the third generation of wireless mobile phone technology that allows faster access to the web and other services. This network has been superseded by 4G and now 5G.

4G – This is the fourth generation of wireless mobile phone technology. It succeeds 3G but has been superseded by 5G. 4G builds upon what 3G offers but does everything at a much faster speed.

5G – This is the fifth generation of wireless mobile phone technology. It succeeds 3G and 4G. It is a new kind of network that is designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects and devices. It is faster than 4G, more reliable and has a bigger network capacity.

Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) – A connection that uses copper telephone lines. It is possible to receive up to 24mbps download over an ADSL line, but speeds can vary due to the condition of the wires, distance to the telephone exchange and any interference.

Building Digital UK (BDUK) – a team within the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) responsible for digital infrastructure programmes in the UK.

Cabinet capacity – When a new FTTC cabinet is installed, Openreach know how many properties will be connected and they also make an assumption on how many connections will be taken up. If the take up is higher than expected, additional capacity will need to installed so that new broadband orders can be placed.

Commercial Rollout – this includes existing and future plans by infrastructure providers to upgrade the network to fibre, providing access to gigabit capable services.

Cross Border Premises – These are premises that are served by telephone exchanges located outside of Staffordshire.

Dongle – this is a small USB stick that once plugged into your device allows you to access online services without needing to connect to wi-fi. It can be also referred to as a wi-fi dongle, USB modem, USB network adapter or mobile broadband stick. Dongles allow greater flexibility than fixed line connections and can be used on the go.

Download speed – this is how quickly data is transferred from the internet to your computer.

Fibre Broadband - Fibre broadband is the new generation of broadband – it is much faster, more reliable and it uses a different technology. Whilst most traditional broadband is delivered via copper telephone lines; fibre broadband commonly uses fibre optic cable as part of the link between the customer and the exchange. Fibre broadband can be delivered in two ways: Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) and Fibre to the Premises (FTTP).

Fibre on Demand (FoD) - allows any end-user to have a bespoke full fibre connection installed to their home or business premise. The business or individual will have to pay charges for the associated network build and an installation charge.

Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) – this is a fibre connection from the telephone exchange to your local green roadside cabinet. There is then a copper connection from the roadside cabinet to your premise. FTTC technology can provide speeds of up to 80mbps maximum depending on how close your premise is located to the green roadside cabinet.

Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) – this is a 100% fibre connection from the telephone exchange directly into your premise. FTTP technology can provide speeds of up to 1000mbps (1gbps). This is also known as full-fibre.

Fixed Wireless Access – this is a way of providing wireless connectivity through radio links between two fixed points. It is a way to provide wireless internet access to homes or businesses that do not have an existing fibre connection.

Gigabit Capable Technology – any technology that can deliver speed of 1000mbps (1gbps) and over, now or in the future. This can include FTTP and wireless access such as Fixed Wireless Access or 5G.

Internet Service Provider (ISP) – these are companies that provide broadband services to residential and business properties, such as BT, Virgin, Sky, Talk Talk etc.

Latency – this is a measurement of the time it takes to send data and receive a response. It is also known as a ping rate or ping time and latency affects everything you do online. For example, like when you are typing and there is a lag between you tapping the keyboard and the words appearing on the screen.

Leased Line – A dedicated and uncontended private connection that is often used by businesses for connection to data centres and the internet.

Megabits per Second (mbps) – this is a unit of measurement referring to how fast data can move across a network. The higher the number of mbps, the faster the speed.

MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) – this is a telecommunications service provider. There are four in the UK – EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three.

Mobile broadband – enables devices such as phones, tablet and laptops to connect to the internet.

Next Generation Access (NGA) – This refers to technologies using fibre optic and can provide higher download and upload speeds in comparison to traditional copper networks. Examples of NGA include Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC), Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) and Fixed Wireless Access

Ofcom – Ofcom is the regulator for the communication services that we use and rely on every day. They make sure people get the best from their broadband, home phone and mobile services, as well as keeping an eye on TV and radio.

Open Market Review (OMR) – this is a request for information from suppliers operating in an area to submit information about existing and planned build at premise level to prevent overbuilding the network.

State Aid – This is the mechanism to ensure that public funds are only applied to areas that are deemed not commercially viable, e.g. areas where no commercial provider indicated they have coverage or have plans to cover the area.

Superfast Broadband - Superfast broadband is taken as meaning download speeds of 30mbps or more and this is delivered through a fibre network

Ultrafast Broadband – This type of connection has download speeds of 300mbps or more, but less than 1000mbps.

Universal Service Obligation (USO) – From 20th March 2020, you will have the legal right to request an upgraded broadband connection if you can’t access a download speed of 10mbps and an upload speed of 1mbps. This requirement has been specified by Ofcom the independent regulator, which is based on an average family. The request for an upgraded connection can be made to BT and you do not need to be an existing customer to apply – just visit their website to check if you could be eligible and for further details.

Upload speed – this is how quickly data is transferred from your computer to the internet.

Very-high Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL)– A connection that uses FTTC technology to provide faster download and upload speeds than an ADSL line can provide.