What is superfast broadband?
Superfast broadband refers to a broadband connection with download speeds of 30 Mbps or above.
A superfast broadband connection provides a faster and more reliable internet connection, enabling multiple users within a home or business premise to surf the internet, download documents, music and video and stream high definition television – something that many people in Northumberland struggle to do with standard broadband. Superfast broadband also provides higher upload speeds making it easier to send large files, share photos and videos and back up important information in the cloud. Click here to see more of the benefits of upgrading to superfast broadband.
To see your current broadband speed you can perform a speed test here (external link)
Over 90% of properties in Northumberland can access superfast broadband using Openreach’s fibre network. Openreach provides fibre broadband in two ways: fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to the premises (FTTP).
FTTC uses fibre-optic cables throughout the network right up to the street cabinet. It then uses existing copper wires to connect the cabinet to homes and businesses. FTTC provides wholesale download speeds up to 80Mbps and upload speeds up to 20Mbps, which are then offered as different service packages by retail Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
FTTP means fibre-optic cables run from the exchange right to the door of each house or business. It provides wholesale download speeds up to 330Mbps and upload speeds up to 30Mbps, again offered as different service packages by ISPs.
The following video summarises the process for the roll out of superfast fibre broadband by Openreach across Northumberland.
A smaller number of properties in Northumberland can access superfast broadband via other fibre infrastructure suppliers: Quickline has FTTP coverage in parts of the South Tyne Valley and Virgin Media is currently planning to roll out FTTP services in parts of the county.
Fixed wireless uses specific frequencies of the radio spectrum to transmit signals rather than a fixed line connection (using fibre or copper lines), equipment will be needed on your property to receive the signal and can be connected to a wireless router and transmitted around your home or business in the same way as more traditional broadband services. The main providers of fixed wireless broadband in Northumberland are: Alncom, AirNexus, Quickline and Wildcard – please be aware each will have specific coverage areas.
The following video by Alncom explains more about the installation of fixed wireless broadband.
4G signals are transmitted by mobile phone networks over masts, which are connected to the wider internet. It is these same signals that give you internet access on your mobile phone when you’re out and about. With the right equipment you can also use the 4G network to access a fast and robust broadband service at your home or business providing that the property is in an area with good 4G signal strength. In Northumberland, the 4G coverage is improving all the time and is now available in many rural areas.
It is possible in some cases to receive 4G broadband services by tethering to a mobile phone or via a portable mobile broadband “MiFi” device or dongle. However to get the strongest 4G reception, and the best possible performance, it is necessary to install a small external 4G antenna ① to a suitably facing outside wall. This is then cabled to a combined 4G modem/Wifi router ② inside your premises. This also means that users get a good level of service inside the property even if the 4G networks’ coverage checkers only report “outdoor coverage only” at the location.
Satellite broadband does not use a fixed line connection (such as fibre or copper) but operates by sending and receiving a broadband signal to satellite about 22,000 miles in space. At your home or business, a 74cm satellite dish is installed outside which connects via a cable to the broadband modem inside – after that, you use the broadband inside your home or business via a wireless router much the same as any other broadband service.
Below are the most common pros/cons about using satellite broadband.
Click here to read an independent review by Cable.co.uk of the Tooway Satellite Broadband. More information on satellite broadband is available in the following video.
Satellite broadband is available through a range of suppliers including Avonline Broadband.
iNorthumberland and Northumberland County Council do not recommend any supplier in particular and other providers may exist which are not included on the websites linked to above.
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