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9 out of 10 Britons are baffled by broadband buzzwords

  • 89% of Brits don't know what the term 'superfast' means when applied to broadband
  • 92% don't know what a megabit is

8 April 2015: A huge majority of Britons do not clearly understand the language used by broadband providers to describe their products, according to a survey of 2,000 UK broadband customers conducted by telecoms advice site Cable.co.uk.

Only 8% of people say they know what a megabit is and were able to correctly define it as both a measure of speed and of data. Meanwhile, only 11% could correctly define the term 'superfast' as a broadband connection that delivers 24Mbps or better.

Commenting on the results, broadband expert and Cable.co.uk editor-in-chief Dan Howdle said: "Thanks to the ubiquity of broadband, terms like 'megabit' and 'superfast' have entered every day parlance, but I don't find it at all surprising that so many are unaware of their correct meaning.

"Broadband providers, much like manufacturers and suppliers of technology in other fields, know well that 'technical buzzword plus big number' equals sales. Just look at the markets for TVs, cameras and mobile handsets and their ever-increasing – and ever more meaningless – complements of megapixels.

"The blame lies firmly at the feet of the providers, who are clearly not doing enough to ensure clarity surrounding the broadband deals they are advertising."


Do you know what a megabit is?

Given the following options, what would you say a megabit is?

Do you know specifically what superfast means when applied to broadband speed?

Given the following options, which one do you think best describes superfast broadband?

Notes to editors

  • If using our research and/or commentary we would deeply appreciate a link either to this page or to https://www.cable.co.uk


What is Cable?

Cable is a broadband, TV and phone comparator, unique news source and consumer champion.

Dan Howdle has been plugged into the attitudes of UK broadband, TV and mobile customers for over two decades, running research fieldwork both nationally and internationally on behalf of the biggest players in the industry. Dan is now consumer telecoms analyst at Cable, as well as more formally operating in the role of its Director of Communications and Content.

An experienced broadcaster, commentator and writer, Dan has appeared on BBC TV and radio, ITV, Sky and in the national papers. Dan has advised Ofcom on issues surrounding service quality, administered Cable’s Broadband Service Quality Awards and sat on the panel of judges for the Internet Service Providers Association annual awards.

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