[]   Your account

ADSL broadband

Get a whole year of Meerkat Meals & Meerkat Movies*

Get a whole year of Meerkat Meals & Meerkat Movies*

Get a whole year of Meerkat Meals & Meerkat Movies*

Get a whole year of Meerkat Meals & Meerkat Movies*

Update your previous quote
Update your previous quote

Get a whole year of Meerkat Meals & Meerkat Movies*

What exactly is ADSL broadband?

ADSL - or Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line - is the basic and most common type of broadband internet connection. An ADSL connection is generally the slowest and cheapest of the three main types of fixed-line broadband available to buy for your home.  

The three main types of broadband are:

  • ADSL: delivered directly to your home down the standard copper wires that carry your phone line
  • Cable: delivered by fibre and coaxial cables
  • Fibre: which relies on clusters of fibre cables

Fibre and cable aren’t yet available everywhere, especially remote areas, so ADSL can sometimes be the only option in these locations. There are two types of ADSL technology – ADSL1 and ADSL2+, which is slightly faster than ADSL1. ADSL is itself a form of DSL (digital subscriber line) - a term for a service that transmits data over telephone lines to establish an internet connection.

ADSL accounts for almost half of the UK’s broadband lines, though, as fibre currently covers 90% of the UK, this is likely to diminish over time as fibre usage expands.

Frequently asked questions

Which is the right type of broadband for me?

If you just want to browse the web on your computer, then a slower ADSL connection might do. But, if you have lots of devices, streaming media or are into online gaming, then you’ll probably want to explore fibre or cable to find the fastest internet connection available in your area. Remember to check for data limits on these packages to find one that suits your usage needs.

What are the speeds of ADSL, fibre and cable?

According to Ofcom, the average broadband speed across the UK is now 46.2Mbps, (up from 36.2Mbps).

Here’s how the three main broadband types compare: 

Broadband Broadband speeds (max speed)
ADSL 10.1Mbit/s
Cable 212.7Mbit/s
Fibre (FTTC) 60.5Mbit/s

How do I check broadband speeds?

To find out what you can get, use an online broadband speed checker. Use this to compare speeds from people in your area and which providers they’re using to get those speeds. 

ADSL broadband is available to 99% of UK homes and businesses, but cable and fibre are still being introduced in some areas – so even if you want a faster connection, you may not be able to get one. 

See our guide to broadband in rural areas.

What else should I consider when getting ADSL broadband?

Broadband speed is an important consideration for ADSL, cable and fibre. But, there are a few more things to check when you compare broadband deals: 

  • Price: you should look carefully at what you actually get for your money. Some packages have data limits, which means you’ll pay more on top of your monthly subscription if you download too much. Others have traffic management, which means you’ll get slower speeds at peak times. And what about freebies? Some providers throw in offers, like free security software, shopping vouchers or streaming dongle.
  • Length of contract: check how long you’ll be committed to the package. Broadband providers continually bring out new deals to attract new customers, so a long-term contract could prevent you from switching and saving money.

How do I compare broadband deals?

To find the right broadband deal for you - whether you choose an ADSL, cable or fibre connection - simply use our comparison service to help you compare broadband offers based on your postcode and needs.

Need help to choose the right broadband deal?

Take a look at some of our guides:

comparethemarket.com uses cookies to offer you the best experience online. By continuing to use our website, you agree to the use of cookies. If you would like to know more about cookies and how to manage them please view our privacy & cookie policy.