Broadband Types

ADSL Broadband

Standing for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line, this is the original model of Broadband provided by BT that provides broadband speeds based on package as well as distance from the nearest telephone centre.

Relatively Cheap for the kind of speeds you can achieve with a good ADSL deal.

Reasonably Low Latency given it’s still a solid-state connection, even if it is inferior to Fibre.

Loses Speed with Distance Which is its main drawback compared to fibre, which is just as fast anywhere in the line. Lower Availability since most broadband providers have moved onto Fibre Optic.

LLU Broadband

Standing for Local Loop Unbundling, it’s largely the same as ADSL Broadband, but retooled with equipment created by competing internet providers rather than rented BT equipment. Historically it was a way to achieve higher broadband speeds at a lower cost than the ADSL system, but BT has since upgraded the ADSL Broadband system to match the LLU Broadband providers.
Better Supported by some providers compared to ADSL, especially if you are not with BT, since LLU is built on equipment that was not developed by BT. Otherwise, it’s largely the same as ADSL.
Largely the same as ADSL LLU Broadband is on the way out alongside ADSL in favour of Fibre, and it suffers from largely the same drawbacks.

Mobile Broadband

Mobile Data as it’s usually referred to, is Broadband optimised for smartphones. It is, by its very nature, a mobile broadband option that can provide an internet connection in most places without the need for a solid-state connection.

Truly mobile broadband as is its nature, Mobile Broadband gives you internet almost anywhere without the need for a solid state connection or a router. It’s not truly universal though, as anyone with a smartphone will know, as it relies on 4G and/or 5G masts to be established locally in order to work properly.

Very fast Internet when mobile data is working at its full potential. 4G speeds across the UK average at 14-42Mbps typically, and can theoretically reach speeds of upto 300Mbps in very well-connected areas. 5G is exponentially faster for the few who have access to it, with average speeds 130-250Mbps and maximum speeds pushing above 1Gbps. Even 4G at the lower end of its average capabilities is considered ‘good’ speeds by UK broadband standards at the time of writing.

Low Latency due to the fact mobile data relies on very high frequency broadcasts, there is very little lag in a 4G or 5G network. This makes it very much possible, and indeed preferable for a lot of people, to play multiplayer or always-online games on their phones. Average Ping times for a 4G network are rated at around 45ms, and 5G networks are rated at around 22ms on average.


Limited Data for mobile data is the norm. Whether on phone contract or Sim-Only deal, it’s normally the case that mobile data is capped monthly; with additional fees for topping up if more is needed. This can make mobile data quite expensive, and at times very frustrating or impractical for constant use.

Unreliable, especially when it comes to internet speeds. Because mobile data relies on 4G and 5G masts and uses high frequency data streaming, it is easily blocked by interference and can fluctuate a lot depending on traffic or distance from a data mast. It is, in general, nowhere near as consistent as Fibre Optic or Wireless Fibre Optic (Wi-Fi).

Fibre Optic Broadband

Fibre Optic Broadband is the fastest and most reliable form of Broadband currently available. Fibre Optic cabling provides a solid-state connection between you and the nearest data centre, which is much superior to older and more traditional copper wiring that is used nowadays only for phone lines. Although it is fast and has the lowest amount of latency of any kind of Broadband, it tends to be expensive, and due to the fact it’s a physical connection it can only provide broadband for a static location.

Ultrafast and Superfast Broadband speeds are the norm for fibre broadband. Speeds of 60+Mbps are the average on most fibre deals offered by almost all big internet providers.

Low Latency/High Reliability due to the fact you are physically linked to the broadband network, a fibre optic cable will allow near-instant transmission of data on a reliable basis, so expect little or no lag.

Distance doesn’t matter unlike ADSL Broadband, Fibre Optic will not deteriorate over distance. Provided that an internet provider has Fibre Broadband infrastructure set up in the local area, your performance should be broadly the same no matter where you are on Fibre Optic.

High monthly costs. Fibre Optic deals tend to be among the more expensive offers internet providers are selling, and true Fibre Optic – Fibre To The Property (FTTP) – is very rare. Usually to cut down the price providers will use the Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) model, which only provides Fibre Optic cabling up to the nearest street, and connects your property via coaxial cabling and the Phone Line connection.
The Speed can be overkill and provide diminishing returns. If you are not in a particularly data hungry household you could end up paying a premium for something you just don’t need. Even if you do use the internet a lot, paying lots of extra money for something you likely won’t feel much benefit from can make you feel like you’ve been scammed.

Satellite Broadband

Satellite Broadband only provides internet for about 5% of the UK’s households, but it is perhaps the most unique way to have your internet provided and can provide internet in very remote areas or even mobile motorhomes. It’s not really a suitable option for well-connected urban areas due to the expense and low reliability of Satellite Broadband, but if you live in the middle of nowhere? Satellite Broadband may be the best option, as having your internet beamed down to you from 20,000 miles above the Earth side-steps having to be physically interconnected via telephone lines and fibre optic cables.

Location is no issue with Satellite Broadband, provided you have set up your satellite dish to send and receive data, it really doesn’t matter where you are. You could even, if you were so inclined, set up Satellite Broadband in a motorhome and bring good broadband with you wherever you go.

No Phone Line or Cables needed, just a dish and a modem. If you do actually need a Landline, this could be a problem, but if you don’t want to be connected to anything then this is the best way to go about it.

Basic Broadband speed anywhere. Depending on your package deal a Satellite connection provides broadband speeds of 8-10 Mbps consistently, and can provide broadband speeds of upto 36 Mbps. While this is hardly mind-blowing speeds, it is about what you would get from basic urban Broadband packages; only you can get Satellite Broadband anywhere.

Broadband of the future? While right now Satellite Broadband isn’t amazingly fast or practical, it’s a type of Broadband that is being expanded on in recent times with Elon Musk’s Starlink systems rolling out across the world. It may be much more practical and affordable in the near-future to get Satellite Broadband, so it’s an option to keep an eye on.


Expensive setup and Monthly costs are the norm for Satellite broadband right now. The complicated setup procedure will probably require that you pay a specialist to install the dish, and the monthly costs are much much higher than Fibre Optic deals. And Fibre deals will typically offer you much much faster broadband for half or a third of the price of Satellite Packages.

Inconsistent performance and high latency are things you can expect from a satellite connection. It’s understandable, your data needs to travel a long way compared to basic fibre deals and other over-land connections, but it does mean that during peak hours especially upload speeds can dramatically slow down and there can be a lot of lag. It will be especially noticeable on videos and online gaming, which a Satellite connection is really not suitable for.

Interference can be a problem with Satellite Packages – since it relies on your Satellite dish being able to send and receive data – physical obstructions, electronic interference or simply bad weather can all seriously disrupt your broadband. It makes it an especially unattractive option in urban areas where there is a lot of electronic interference, or you live in an area where there are a lot of potential physical obstructions (like mountains, tall buildings or you happen to live in the middle of a forest).

Deals are not always Unlimited so pay careful attention to what your provider is actually providing you. Some Satellite providers will cap data usage per month, or only allow a certain amount of data to be used on the best speeds before switching you to a slower satellite broadband speed.

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