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Date: 24 June, 2004
'There is no need to worry about the amount of time you spend
Ray Hatley explains what broadband is and
who can get it. He then offers his top 10 websites with content
specifically for broadband users
The word 'broadband' has been bandied around
a lot over the past year or so, but what is it and what does it
Broadband refers to services that provide high-speed
communications, usually to access the internet. Broadband lets you
transfer large amounts of data - such as email attachments, video
or digital music - far more quickly than using a standard modem
and phone line or even Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN).
Broadband is also permanently connected, so you
don't need to waste time dialling up, and with fixed monthly tariffs,
there is no need to worry about the amount of time you spend online.
You can also make ordinary phone calls or use the fax machine whilst
you're online without needing a second line.
The combination of speed, a permanent connection
and interactivity have the potential to transform the way we live,
learn, work and communicate.
Internet pages, containing large files, pictures or multimedia packages,
can be downloaded in seconds.
Large companies have been using high-speed services
for years, but the development of cheaper technologies means broadband
is now an affordable option for homes and smaller businesses, making
it possible for them to compete in today's global marketplace.
There are two main ways to sign up for broadband
- via Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) technology, which
runs over your existing phone line, or via cable modem.
The first step to ADSL (Broadband) is to find
out if it is available in your area, which will depend on how far
from the telephone exchange you are and what quality of telephone
line you have to your premises.
You can check your availability via www.bt.com/broadband
If you can receive broadband, there is a full selection of service
providers listed on the website from which you will need to select
the one that will best fulfil your needs.
If you live outside the current 'catchment' area
for ADSL, you can still
register your interest via your chosen service provider. Each telephone
exchange has a trigger level of demand that is must reach to make
it viable for upgrading.
Although there will be some areas where the demand
for Broadband does not balance with the cost of upgrading the exchange,
particularly in more rural areas, alternative technical and commercial
solutions are being investigated.
Top 10 sites with content for broadband
Ray Hatley is the
editor of www.history.uk.com
and the broadband correspondent for the Brighton Evening Argus newspaper
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