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What’s the difference between ADSL and cable broadband?

There are two main types of broadband to choose from; ADSL and cable broadband. Here we will look at the differences to help you understand which type may be right for your business.

ADSL

As explained earlier in our guide in ‘what is ADSL?’[add link], ADSL is a broadband connection otherwise known as an asymmetric digital subscriber line. More advanced than traditional dial-up, it allows users to download data and make phone calls at the same time as it works on the same frequency as voice telephones.

Cable broadband

Cable broadband can also be called Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC) and connects to the internet via a combination of fibre and coaxial cables. It uses the same infrastructure as a cable TV.

Comparison chart

DifferencesADSLCable broadband
AccessibilityMore that 99% UK coverageMust be in a cable-enabled area
Line typeAsymmetricHybrid Fibre-Coaxial
SpeedSlightly lower than cable broadbandSlightly higher than ADSL broadband
PriceVery affordableNormally tied into TV or phone contracts
DistanceSpeeds affected by distance to a BT exchangeSpeeds not affected by distance; secured through a modem

Which is right for your business?

A large part of the decision will be based on your location; you must be within 5km of a BT exchange for ADSL and you must be in a cable-enabled area for cable broadband. We are able to advise on the options available to you and your business once we know your location.

Both have a range of benefits and are cost-effective options for small to medium businesses. However, the faster speeds of cable broadband (especially if it is fibre-optic cabling) will be more suited to companies using hosted telephony. Read more about the benefits of ADSL here.