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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.co.uk?

Cable.co.uk 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. Having spent 12 years at the coalface of consumer telecoms research, initiating and running projects both nationally and internationally on behalf of the biggest players in the industry. Dan is now Director of Communications and in-house consumer telecoms expert for Cable.co.uk.

An experienced broadcaster, commentator and writer who frequently appears on BBC TV and radio, ITV, Sky and in the national papers and their websites, Dan leads a team of journalists and communications folk who spend their days researching and reporting on problems faced by UK broadband, TV and mobile customers both on an individual and macro level.

Dan campaigns on many issues currently facing consumers of broadband, TV and mobile products in the UK. These include, but are not limited to: Rural broadband provision; mobile coverage; broadband, TV and mobile customer contract issues; broadband and mobile broadband speeds; switching and money-saving; infrastructural challenges; pricing, changes and structures; shifts in technology and the marketplace; telecoms regulation, policy and law; fines, adjudications and policy changes; mergers and closures of UK providers; annual financials and more.

Dan has advised Ofcom on issues surrounding service quality. He also administers and adjudicates the yearly Broadband Service Quality Awards and sits on the panel of judges for the Internet Service Providers Association annual awards.

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