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What is ADSL broadband?

ADSL broadband is the UK’s most popular form of internet connection. ADSL stands for:

Asymmetric
Digital
Subscriber
Line

ADSL broadband is a connection provided over home telephone lines. BT owns the UK's landline infrastructure, so when you have an ADSL connection you need to rent your phone line from BT. If you already have an existing phone line, the broadband is added onto the package.

ADSL packages can be sold by providers other than BT through a process known as local loop unbundling (LLU). This means that a secondary provider, for example Be or TalkTalk, put their own software in the telephone exchanges and rent line and exchange space from BT.

ADSL provides a good quality, reliable connection, but if you live far away from your telephone exchange, or if the cable has degraded, then speeds can drop dramatically.

Compare bestselling ADSL broadband packages at uSwitch now.

How does ADSL broadband work?

  • ADSL is the name given to a broadband connection which works through the copper wires of your existing phone line.
  • When ADSL broadband is installed a microfilter is plugged into your phone connection. This separates the frequency of your phone line from that of your broadband connection. It is this that allows you to surf the web while chatting on the phone.
  • ADSL broadband comes through the BT phone line network direct to your house. This makes it the most popular type of broadband available, simply because it's so easy to sign up to.
  • All the technology is already in place too, so connecting up is really simple and the service is available right across the country.

ADSL broadband’s popularity stems from its availability. ADSL2+ connections have become increasingly common, using the same telephone wiring but different software and protocols to provide speeds of up to x faster than ADSL.

  • Nearly every home in the UK can now get ADSL broadband.
  • So whether you live in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or England, ADSL or ADSL2 broadband is very likely available to you now.
  • ADSL broadband has the benefit of facilitating the use of the internet even while someone is on the phone.

Almost all the major UK broadband providers offer ADSL as standard. While some of them also provide cable broadband, mobile broadband or ADSL2 broadband, ADSL broadband is by far the most commonly available.

Alternatives to ADSL

Not interested in having a home telephone line at home? Don't want to pay line rental every month? The following options may be better alternatives for you to consider:

  • Cable broadband, which uses fibre-optic cables to provide speeds of up to 300Mbps.
  • 3G mobile broadband, which uses mobile phone signal to provide speeds of up to 21Mbps.
  • 4G mobile broadband also users mobile phone networks but offers speeds up to five times the UK's 3G average.

Compare the latest ADSL broadband deals at uSwitch now.

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