These cables are made of plastic or glass material that facilitates huge volumes of internet traffic to move through them at very fast speeds. The spread of superfast broadband into rural areas has had a huge impact on companies like Virgin Media that is keen to be a part of the action. The amount of internet data being used in by a device will be measured in bits. 1Mb (megabits) is a million bits, and 1Gb (gigabits) is a billion bits.
You should be wary of the broadband jargon in use though since bits and bytes are different units that cannot be used interchangeably. For clarification, the two words refer to units of digital data that can be transmitted over a computer network. Every byte consists of 8 bits, and in broadband jargon, a bit is represented by a small letter ‘b’ while a byte is represented by a capital ‘B’.
So, before deciding to get connected to superfast broadband, you should try and understand some of the jargon in the industry. Internet speeds are given in bps (Bits Per Second). Very few connections link your home directly from the exchange, and they are very expensive. In the UK, only about 2% of homes have FTTH (Fibre To The Home) connectivity. This makes their internet speeds average 1 Gbps.
A majority of users first have their fibre optic connection going to the exchange cabinet on their streets before getting to their homes. The trip the data makes from the cabinet to the house is through the traditional copper wires. This means that the data speed is slower the farther you live from the cabinet. By using coaxial cables instead of copper, a company like Virgin Media can go round this hurdle. This roundabout route is known as FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) and delivers internets speeds of approximately 76Mbps.
With faster speeds, you are able to do so much more. For instance, if you communicate through Skype, the lower speeds will cut off some bits of your conversation. On social media too, the videos and photos of memorable events will be shared quicker if your internet speeds are fast. A wedding video, for instance, has more impact when you get to see it on the day it happens.
For people who work online and at home, the fast internet speeds are a necessity. If you trade in foreign exchange, for example, you need to see the reactions of the markets in real time to move your stocks with a good level of accuracy. Slow internet speeds could, therefore, cost you money. If you are employed, a freelancer or a business owner and work online then you might not have a choice in connecting up to the faster speeds. This is because you will have targets to meet and deadlines to beat.
Entertainment on the internet too can depend on the speed of your connection. You would get frustrated if the movie or song you were trying to download got stuck halfway through because of your low levels of internet speed. With a super-fast broadband connectivity, it will take you 2 minutes to download a movie that would have taken at least 20 minutes on a normal internet setting. Other activities like real-time gaming also require fast internet. With on-demand TV, high speeds enable you to access content that neighbours with lower speeds cannot view.
To sum up, the more time you waste, the more money you lose. If you are a netizen who earns their daily bread from spending long hours online, superfast broadband is for you. Likewise, if you have many internet users on the same connection, you might find the superfast broadband a worthwhile investment.