What is ADSL?


Please note, as of November 2020, we are no longer selling ADSL plans

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What does ADSL stand for?

ADSL = Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. It's a line that transmits data – but aysmmetrically, or unequally. The download lane needs more capacity than the upload lane.

So, what is ADSL?

ADSL is a type of internet connection. It transmits data through existing copper phone lines and it’s the most basic form of broadband.

There are three versions – ADSL (ADSL1), ADSL2 and ADSL2+. Each one provides a faster and better internet connection than the last. If ADSL is available where you live, there will only be one version to choose from.

You can use ADSL at the same time as your home phone line.

Thinking about fibre broadband or nbnTM? Find out what you need to know.

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How fast is ADSL?

ADSL2+ has download speeds of up to 24 Mbps but the average speed is 8 Mbps. The speed depends on the distance information needs to travel from the local telephone exchange to your home. If you’re more than 1 km from the exchange, you’ll notice a significant dip in speeds.

ADSL1 is slower than ADSL2+.

What’s the difference between ADSL and other types of broadband?

In Australia, there are three types of broadband – nbn™fibre (sometimes known as cable) and ADSL. We no longer offer ADSL plans as more customers now prefer the speed and performance of nbn™ and fibre options.

Type Technology Max download speed Max upload speed Prone to congestion?
Copper wires 24 Mbps 1 Mbps
Fibre Fibre optic cables 100 Mbps 40 Mbps
nbn™ Fibre optic cables 100 Mbps 40 Mbps No

Not all types of broadband are available everywhere – what's available to you is influenced by your address, the age of your property, and what it's constructed from.

Discover what kind of broadband your property can get

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Is there anything else I need to know about ADSL?

  • Cost: ADSL may be the oldest and most basic type of broadband, but that doesn’t mean it’s the cheapest. 
  • Naked DSL: This is a broadband connection without a home phone line. (You get a home phone line rental with an ADSL broadband connection.) You can still make calls but it’s done over the internet where your voice travels as data. 
  • OnNet and OffNet: Offnet ADSL and ADSL2+ broadband plans are channelled through a different network to the internet provider they’re bought through. This enables internet providers to offer more plans at a lower cost to more people.
  • ADSL Exchange: Want to know how far you are from your ADSL exchange? Use the ADSL lookup.
  • History: ADSL was developed in the 1990s and launched in Australia in 1999.

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