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Telecoms Guide & FAQs

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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.


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

Differences ADSL Cable broadband
Accessibility More that 99% UK coverage Must be in a cable-enabled area
Line type Asymmetric Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial
Speed Slightly lower than cable broadband Slightly higher than ADSL broadband
Price Very affordable Normally tied into TV or phone contracts
Distance Speeds affected by distance to a BT exchange Speeds 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.