Broadband Guides

A brief history of Broadband

To get an idea of how broadband works and how to make good decisions regarding your broadband service, it’s useful to have a look at the history of the technology.

Broadband: Early beginnings

Interestingly, there is no one original invention f the internet, there were several developments in different places that led to the technology as we know it now. Developments in packet networking in the US and Europe in the middle of the 20th century, with the first network messages sent in California, and in CERN in Switzerland in the 1980s with the start of the World Wide Web.

Email is even older than the internet, surprisingly, and the @ symbol was first used in a 14th century religious text!

During the early days of the internet, dial-up was used. Dial-up is quite slow and inconvenient compared to broadband: the slowest broadband connection today would be at the very least 20 times faster than dial-up (and this would be on a good day for DSL). This made downloading music and movies very difficult, and even email attachments could take a long time to download. What was even more troublesome was the fact that the phone could not be used on the same line as used for the internet at the same time, and vice versa. This required installation of more than one line if the user needed to do this simultaneously.


The broadband era utilised networking technology to enable a wider band of frequencies to be used with an “always on” connection, so the internet did not need to be dialed in to and phone lines could be used at the same time.

Broadband was quite expensive in the early stages, but as the technology progressed more and more providers entered the market, higher availability rates came about and overall the market became more effective and customer-friendly.

This paved the way for the internet as we know it today. Further developments were the rise of mobile broadband which started the smartphone revolution, enabling better internet speeds on mobile devices outdoors then was available for PCs a decade before, and the rise of cable and fibre broadband, which enabled users to get even faster connections than was possible with conventional DSL broadband.

And another development making it easier for customers to get the best use from broadband has been the way providers have started to differentiate their products – now you can get unlimited and extra fast broadband if that suits your usage.