It’s only a few year’s ago that most of us connected our computers using a dial-up connection through the phone line. The noises we could hear coming down the phone line carried about 56 thousand bits of information every second. That was fine for exchanging e-mails but pictures and other graphics seemed to take forever.
Then came along broadband – still using the copper wires which connect our phones - and the use of the internet took off. Shopping, running our business from home and many other uses became possible. My broadband runs at about 30 times dial up speeds [1.5 Mb/s], the UK average is 125 times dial up speed [7 Mb/s] and the maximum possible over copper wires is just under 430 times this speed [24Mb/s].
1 Mb/s - 1 million bits of information per second being carried to your computer - sounds impressive but even that is not enough for many of today’s applications - using video - for example. (The iPlayer is a waste of time here: not enough bits per second being delivered to us……)
Superfast Broadband is generally taken to mean anything above what copper wires can carry ie above 24Mb/s. The UK is in the middle of building a comprehensive network of optical fibre connections to replace copper wires. It’s these fibres which will carry information at speeds anything up to 300Mb/s and beyond……and that opens up a whole new world of possibilities.