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Broadband connections

Make sure you know what you're looking for in a broadband connection before you sign up to anything.

In the UK there are three main types of broadband connection: ADSL, cable and mobile broadband. Where you live will be a major factor on the type available, as well as the speed you can get and how reliable your service is.

Find out which connection types and packages are available in your area using our broadband postcode checker.

ADSL broadband connection

ADSL broadband uses BT telephone lines to transmit data, so since most homes or offices have phone lines, it's the most widely available and easiest to set-up.

ADSL broadband connections work by splitting your phone line into two separate channels, one for data (internet) and one for voice (telephone), so you can be connected to the internet and use the telephone at the same time.

Although you do not need an additional phone line for an ADSL broadband connection, you do need a modem. If you have more than one device connecting to the internet, you’ll need to get a combined modem and router. These are cheap (some providers offer them free) and very easy to set up.

Getting an ADSL broadband connection through your BT phone line doesn't mean you need to choose BT as your internet service provider (ISP). You can choose from a range of ISPs and still keep your BT phone line, although you will still need to pay a monthly line rental to BT.

Maximum speeds on ADSL products are about 52Mbps. Factors that affect speed include the distance you are from your telephone exchange, the contention ratio of your line, the time of day you use it and the quality of telephone cabling.

Compare the best-selling ADSL broadband deals at uSwitch now.

Cable broadband

Cable broadband connections use fibre-optic cables to transmit data. Over the past few years, it's become widely available within the UK, but it's still not available to everyone just yet.

Cable internet connections require a special modem, which can be connected with a TV receiver box and telephone line. ADSL modems and routers won’t work on cable connections.

Cable speeds in the UK reach a maximum of 200Mbps. Factors that affect speed will depend on the type of fibre connection you have, but fibre is still the fastest and most reliable connection available.

Compare the best-selling cable broadband deals at uSwitch now.

Broadband connection

4G broadband

With more and more internet-enabled portable devices in circulation among consumers, mobile internet has become increasingly popular. 4G provides a broadband speed connection wherever there is a mobile phone signal.

Mobile broadband connections are accessed via the 4G mobile phone networks offered by Three, EE, Vodafone and O2 using either a mobile broadband dongle, a MiFi unit or a tethered mobile device.

Depending upon the provider you choose, top mobile broadband connection speeds range from 7.2Mbps up to 60Mbps. Average speeds can vary quite a lot with 4G and depend on the type of dongle/MiFi/handset you use, the time of day you are using it and your location.

Compare the best-selling mobile broadband deals at uSwitch now.