Learn These Broadband Terms to Save Hundreds of Dollars!

Broadband Terms explained by Broadband Compare
Thursday, 19 January 2023

When it comes to broadband, there’s a lot of specific words that get thrown around. Terms like Fibre, download and upload speeds, provider and more. 

These terms can often be confusing if you don’t know much about broadband. They can also stop you from saving money AND getting the best plan!

So, we thought we’d take you through all the important words that you need to know, so you can start raking in those savings!

What is Broadband?

Broadband refers to the technology which allows us to access the internet. This technology has been around since the early years of the internet and has continued to evolve. Now, we can get super fast internet through new broadband connections like Fibre.  

Simply put, broadband is just another word used instead of internet but there are many different broadband connection types to choose from that will dictate the quality and speed of your broadband/internet connection. 

Kiwis access broadband via a modem (the little box you get from your provider) that connects to one of many different networks (like Fibre or Copper). Your devices will then connect over Wi-Fi to the modem to access the internet. 

Connection Types

Broadband is the gateway to the internet for everyone living on the planet. So, it pays to make sure you’re on the right broadband connection, so you can get the best access to the internet! 

There are 5 connection types:


The fastest broadband connection you can get in Aotearoa. Fibre is powered by underground fibre optic cables that send data to and from your home at super fast speeds. The speeds that you can get are far superior than all other broadband connections, with average speeds of 300 Mbps download and 100 Mbps upload. These speeds are capable of handling most things you’ll do on the internet. However, if you’re a heavy user, you may want to go for HyperFibre which delivers crazy fast speeds of 2000 Mbps and above!

Fibre is best for anyone who is working from home, likes to stream or game a lot, or who lives in a household with lots of other people. 




VDSL stands for Very-High-Bit-Rate Digital Subscriber Line. VDSL is one of two technologies (alongside ADSL) that provides broadband through the Copper Network. VDSL is much faster than ADSL, with potential download speeds of up to 70Mbps and upload speeds up to 10Mbps. However, achieving these speeds will vary due to a number of factors. VDSL is the next best connection type if you can’t access Fibre.



ADSL stands for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. ADSL is a broadband connection delivered via the Copper Network. ADSL is much slower than VDSL with average speeds of 10Mbps download and 1Mbps upload. There are actually two types of ADSL: the more modern ADSL2+  and the original ADSL. 

Both ​​ADSL and VDSL will manage simple web-browsing tasks but suffer from high latency.


Important Note: 

ADSL and VDSL are slowly being phased out across the motu where Fibre is available. However, there will be continued support for ADSL and VDSL customers who live rurally and don’t have access to Fibre. 

Fixed Wireless

This broadband connection uses radio signals. Therefore, anything that prevents the signals from working will impact the connection. E.g. buildings, hills or weather. It uses the mobile 4G network. A benefit of Fixed Wireless is that you can move the modem wherever you like, even across the country, as it only needs to connect to power and receive a signal. Fixed Wireless is often the only choice in remote areas. However, Fixed Wireless experiences slow speeds and high latency.



Satellite broadband requires a satellite on your roof to send signals up to a low-orbit satellite which provides internet. Speeds for Satellite are usually comparable to ADSL. However, Elon Musk’s Starlink has greatly improved speeds and the future is looking bright for Satellite. Satellite is best suited for those living rurally, who don’t have access to Fibre.  



Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC Max) or Cable is a broadband connection only available in parts of Wellington and Christchurch. It provides strong speeds and is a suitable option if you live in these areas. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to set up and is cheaper than similar Fibre plans! 


What’s a Provider? 

Internet Service Provider (ISP), Retail Service Provider (RSP), Retailer or Provider all mean the same thing. They all refer to a company that connects you to the internet. Companies like Spark, Vodafone, Now Broadband, MyRepublic, Slingshot, 2degrees, and so on. 

Each provider is unique and different, with all of them providing special deals and exclusive offers to entice you. Remember that there’s heaps of providers out there, some that you may not have even heard about. So, it’s important you look at all the providers available to you, in order to choose the one that best suits your needs.



Understanding terms relating to broadband speed will help you decide whether a plan will meet your expectations or not.

Speed terms:

  • Download speed: The speed at which it takes to send data from a server to your modem. A higher number is better. 
  • Upload speed: The speed at which it takes to send data from your modem to a server. A higher number is better. 
  • Mbps: Megabits per second. The way that broadband speed is measured.
  • Latency: The time it takes to send data to a server then back to your modem. The lower, the better. This is particularly important for gaming. 
  • Disconnection: Latency occurs multiple times which results in stuttering performance. 

Use Broadband Compare!

Now that you know all the key broadband terms, it’s time to get a new plan that will save you heaps of money and meet your exact needs! 

Head to Broadband Compare!

Broadband Compare is a comparison website where you can compare different broadband providers and plans to see which one is right for you. 

Best of all, it’s super easy to use! 

Just follow these simple steps:

  • Jump onto the website.
  • Type in your address.
  • Select some filters that match your preferences.
  • Hit enter!
  • Browse all the different plans available to you & compare them side-by-side.
  • Find one you like and switch! 

Alternatively, if you’d rather chat to a friendly human, then give our customer support team a free call on 0508 22 66 72. They’ll help you out! 

Get a broadband plan that you’ll love at Broadband Compare!

For more information around these broadband terms, check this out

Plus, you can test your broadband connection speed, right here!


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