Types Of Broadband

What are the Different Types of Broadband Internet Connection, and Which Type is Best for Me?

There are only a few different types of broadband connection. And it's usually not hard to choose which type to go for - your choice will probably depend mostly on where you live.

Rule of Thumb: Odds are that you'll choose an ADSL connection for Broadband as it's widely available and easy to set up. Cable might be another option if it's available in your area. Which begs the question: ADSL or Cable? The truth is, one isn't better than another and it really depends more on where you live and how good the supplier is. So, your choice will probably be based upon the deal offered and the reputation of the ISP that provides the service. There are two simple steps you can take to aid your decision: use thebroadbandfinders.co.uk to find the best prices in your area and, if you can, ask around: what ISP do your friends use and is the service good?

The main types of broadband Internet connection are:

ADSL - Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line

ADSL coverage is available to around 80% of the UK population. As such, it is the most likely choice unless you happen to live somewhere remote, or in an area where cable is available.

ADSL broadband is delivered through your existing BT telephone line, using a special modem or router. There is no need to have an additional telephone line installed and you will be still be able to make and receive calls whilst surfing the web.

When you have an ADSL connection it is necessary to fit small devices called microfilters to all your telephone sockets. You need to plug them in to prevent the ADSL signal from interfering with your voice calls. Typically your ISP will provide you one or two microfilters and, if you need any more they only cost a few pounds.

Although you must have a BT telephone line, there are many ADSL Internet providers to choose from, each offering a selection of different deals.


If you already have cable TV, or if you live in an area served by a cable operator, then a broadband cable Internet connection may be an option for you.

A cable Internet connection requires a special modem, which is connected to your cable along with your cable TV box (if you have one). Most cable companies offer packages that include telephone and TV channels as well as a broadband Internet connection.

As with ADSL, cable Internet providers usually offer a selection of broadband deals for different requirements.


In some of the more remote or rural areas of the UK, ADSL and Cable Internet connections may not be available. Increasingly in these areas, smaller Internet providers are providing local coverage using wireless technology.

For a wireless Internet connection, a small antenna is installed on the outside of your house (much like a TV aerial) and this sends signals to a connection point on the inside, which in turn is connected to your computer. No telephone line of any kind is required.


Satellite is generally seen as a last resort for people who live in remote areas and cannot receive any other form of broadband Internet. It is available throughout the UK and requires the installation of a special satellite dish. There are two types of satellite connection.

The first type is a one-way connection, where you will be able to receive data (view web pages), but can only send data (if for example you want to send an email) by using a dial-up modem through a telephone line.

Two-way services, where data is both sent and received through the satellite dish, are also available, although these tend to be quite expensive to install - typically £800 - with an additional monthly subscription.

SDSL - Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line

Some providers also offer SDSL services. An SDSL connection is very similar to an ADSL connection. The difference is that ADSL can download data from the Internet faster than it can upload data, while SDSL is just as fast at uploading as downloading.

But since SDSL requires an extra telephone line, separate from the one you use for voice calls, SDSL is not a popular option for the home user. SDSL is really just a specialist option for some businesses that need to send large amounts of data.

LLU - Local Loop Unbundling

LLU is a method by which a service provider can offer an ADSL or SDSL service without using British Telecom's exchange systems. This can allow LLU providers to be more competitive with the prices and features they offer. In all other respects these services are equivalent to the corresponding ADSL or SDSL connections described above.