The download speed for a home broadband service is expressed in mb/s – which is mega bits per second. This is not to be confused with mega bytes, which is usually used to express file sizes.
‘Up to’ Speed
This is the headline speed usually promoted by the provider of the home broadband service. This will be the maximum speed attainable by that broadband service.
Most providers offer different packages for both their landline and broadband services and different packages may have different maximum download speeds.
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Most home broadband services come with either a maximum usage limit or a Fair Usage Policy attached. These refer to how much data can be downloaded per month. Fair usage policies can differ between broadband providers so make sure you check before you commit to a deal.
This is a measure of how quickly information can be uploaded from your PC on to the internet, over your home broadband service. Again, this is measured in mega bits per second.
Average or typical speed
This is what Ofcom found to be the actual, average speed delivered by the broadband service in question. Broadband speeds can vary during the day and, dependant upon the network, can be influenced by factors such as distance from the local exchange.
Ofcom’s latest report was issued in March 2011 and you can read more here.
There are three main types of network that broadband providers use to deliver their home broadband services – ADSL, Cable and FTTC (fibre-to-the-cabinet) and each have different capabilities.
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