There are 4 main ways of getting broadband in the United Kingdom.
One of these methods is ADSL. In 2004, 90 per cent of homes and businesses were connected to BT Wholesale’s ADSL (asymmetrical digital supply line) network, but a small percentage live too far away from their local exchange for the technology to work. Now in 2009, this figure is much greater and ever increasing. Rural or semi-rural communities, with larger towns and cities achieving excellent coverage, are the areas of the UK which struggle to receive the faster and more reliable coverage. More than one hundred Internet service providers, including BT and tiscali, sell ADSL networks, and there are nearly 2.5 million users in Britain. A 2Mbps (mega-bytes-per-second) connection (about three times as fast as dial-up internet) costs approximately £16 per month, and a 8Mbps connection can cost as much as £41 per month. Virgin now offers a staggering 50Mbps deal in London, which is obviously costly. Bulldog and Easynet offer wholesale ADSL services that are much faster than BT’s, but generally these are available only in major towns and cities.
Cable broadband is the natural successor to dial-up Internet access. It is the technology that ensures that every household really can be connected to the information super highway at super fast speeds. As the name suggests, broadband allows for large amounts of information to be transmitted along fibre optic cables because it offers wide bandwidth capabilities. This is the method of broadband connection which is becoming ever popular, partly due to the wireless potential of the technology.
Broadband fixed wireless access
Technologies such as 802.11b (also known as Wi-Fi) have the potential to bring broadband to less-populated areas where it doesn’t make economic sense to roll out a fixed-line network. Around 50 wireless Internet service providers are being set up or are already in operation around the country, often targeting places where ADSL and cable aren’t available. These services require a wireless modem, but are often priced competitively compared to other connections.
This is connection to the Internet through a signal beamed into a dish attached to your home. This is usually high-speed and excellent for remote locations. Satellite broadband works anywhere in Britain, but a two-way connection is more expensive than other broadband services, on top of which the equipment can cost more than £1,000 plus. Some Regional Development Agencies do provide subsidies to cushion the blow. One-way satellite connections that give only a fast down stream link from the Internet are more affordable, but also require a dedicated phone line to send data upstream.