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Will 5G replace broadband?

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Last updated: 28 February 2022

5G is the fifth-generation mobile network, currently being rolled out across the UK by the country’s four mobile operators. 5G networks are very new, but they’re already delivering speeds of 50-200Mbps, not only surpassing 4G but also outpacing many fixed-line broadband connections. So, will it eventually replaced fixed-line broadband?

5G is better suited than fixed-line broadband to support the panoply of on-the-move internet-connected devices we're predicted to have within just a few years, like autonomous vehicles and interactive advertisements. 

So it’s possible that 5G, or even faster successor mobile networks like 6G, will replace broadband networks in some places. But they’re unlikely to supplant broadband entirely.

As fast as 5G is developing, our appetites for data and the performance of broadband are also developing quickly. And fixed-lined broadband has a head-start in meeting that demand for ever-faster internet, especially in places with high densities of users and for businesses with huge data requirements.

Where 5G might replace broadband is in far-flung rural areas that are difficult to reach with in-ground cables. The UK government already considers 5G a viable alternative to full-fibre broadband. To meet its goal of bringing gigabit-capable internet to 85% of the country by 2025, the government will take into account not just fixed-line connections. but also 5G networks.

We’ll likely end up with a situation where 5G mobile networks exist alongside fixed-line broadband 5G will deliver connectivity in remote areas and for autonomous vehicles. But broadband lines will remain essential for data-hungry businesses and households in urban areas.


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Lauren Smith

Author: Lauren Smith

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