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Study Reveals: The Broadband Terms Brits Understand the Least

It’s no secret that trying to understand broadband jargon can leave you feeling exhausted and frustrated, especially when the terms are important to your home living.


This inspired broadband experts at to find out which technical broadband terms Brits find the most confusing.


To do this, trawled through thousands of broadband-related terms and collated a list of the 20 most common. They then surveyed 4,200 Brits to see how many terms they understood, and how many they didn’t.


The Results

The Terms Brits Don’t Understand

Terms % DON’T Understand Average Monthly Searches
Throttling 81% 6,600
5G 72% 74,000
Openreach 68% 49,500
WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) 68% 135,000
Download Speed 66% 18,100
IP Address 65% 74,000
VPN (Virtual Private Network) 59% 165,000
Fibre Optic Broadband 55% 4,400
Bandwidth 54% 9,900
Upload Speed 47% 2,400
Data Transfer Rate 44% 170


Receiving a whopping 81% of votes, the term Brits understand least is “Throttling”. According to Google’s Keyword Planner, “Throttling” has an estimated 6,600 monthly searches in the UK. can reveal that this term refers to internet service providers purposely slowing down internet connections. It is commonly used during peak times of broadband usage.


Placing second for confusing broadband terms is “5G” with 72% of votes. “5G” has over 74,000 monthly UK searches, with an additional 22,000 searches for “what is 5G?”. 5G is the next development of mobile technology and is said to be much faster than 4G.


Following in joint third place with 68% of votes, are the terms “Openreach” and “WAP (Wireless Application Protocol)”. The term “Openreach” has 49,500 monthly searches in the UK and “Wireless Application Protocol” has a whopping 135,000.


In fourth place is the term “Download Speed” (66%), with 18,100 UK monthly searches, and in fifth place is “IP Address” with 65% and 74,000 monthly searches.


The Terms Brits Do Understand

Terms % DO Understand Average Monthly Searches
GB (Gigabyte) 87% 18,100
Superfast Broadband 82% 3,600
Streaming 82% 18,100
Broadband Speed 77% 27,100
Malware 72% 18,100
Router 71% 49,500
Anti-malware 69% 1,900
Traffic 69% *
Usage Allowance 65% 100
Upload Speed 53% 2,400
Bandwidth 46% 9,900


The broadband term Brits understood the most, and with 87% of votes, is “Gigabyte”. The term reaches 18,100 monthly UK searches on average and is used to detail the size of computer files and memory capacity.


Placing in joint second are “Superfast Broadband” and “Streaming” with 82% of participants familiar with their definitions. “Superfast Broadband” reaches 3,600 average monthly searches and searches for “Streaming” reaches just over 18,000.


In third place is “Broadband Speed” with 77%, in fourth place is “Malware” (72%) and in fifth place is “Router” (71%).


For a more detailed explanation on each broadband term, please visit the blog post.

Lisa Baker is Group Editor for the Need to See IT Publishing Group. Lisa writes about HR, Technology, Health, the Environment and Business.
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