Broadband never really disappears from the headlines. After all, it’s big business. And it’s increasingly the means through which our entertainment and information needs are fulfilled. TV and music streaming, gaming, social networking and teleworking all depend on a good, solid web connection. Lose your internet access and you can no longer access your email, use Facebook, browse the web for gossip or more meaningful information, or reach out to friends across the globe.

Many of us now spend more of our free time surfing the internet and chatting on Facebook than we do on any other leisure activity. The web is becoming the main way we reach the outside world, so more reliable means of using it can only be a good thing. Our increasing use of the internet means our data demands have increased exponentially – and they will continue to grow. Thankfully, a whole new broadband backbone is coming to a street near you. It’s fatter, faster and much more reliable than the old copper cable – and in the coming months, you’ll be hearing more and more about it.

Marketing efforts are about to get much more prevalent as BT and its wholesale partners begin a mammoth push on the back of the fibre-optic broadband rollout. Promising download speeds of 20 megabits per second (Mbps) as a minimum, and as much as 100Mbps as a theoretical maximum, the new breed of super-fast broadband is a high-stakes game. In just a few months’ time, connection speeds touching 400Mbps may be launched, and there’s even talk of 1Gbps broadband by 2012. Faster speeds promise to finally lift at least some parts of Broadband Britain out of the technological doldrums and onto the information superhighway.

Although such heady heights are a long way off, BT has already ploughed £2.5bn into fibre-optic broadband and promises to deliver speeds of 40-110Mbps to 66 per cent of homes by 2015. It claims that by the end of 2011, such services will be available to four million households or 40 per cent of the UK. With the infrastructure well on its way to being in place, it’s now time for broadband service providers to start convincing customers that blistering speeds are worth having – and worth paying for.