Bitrate is measured in kilobits per second (kbps), and can be said to be the same thing as quality. It is the amount of data that is streamed each second for a single user. The more data per second, the higher the quality.
32 kbps is comparable to about AM radio quality audio and is about the max that a dial-up listener can tune into.
128 kbps is the quality of most MP3's and is basically considered CD quality to most people.
Most broadband or otherwise high-speed connections can listen to 128k streams.
Dial up modems are limited to about 24kbps.
The higher quality your stream is, the more listeners you can expect over time because poor sound quality generates listening fatigue and causes people to tune out.
Bandwidth is the generic term for data moving over a network connection.Buffer
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