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Monday 4 Mar 2019 | 4 min read

nbn® vs ADSL: Why you should make the switch today

A manhole cover with the word "nbn" on it

Australians have a wealth of choices available to them when it comes to what internet connection they want. But while choice is a great thing, finding the right internet connection for your particular needs can be a challenge.

It used to be that ADSL was the primary (and preferred) option for Australians, but over the past two years this has changed. But what is the difference between the two, and why should you be making the switch today?

What is ADSL?

ADSL is a technology that has been kicking around for a few years now – for a long while it was considered to be the default broadband solution. It’s a high speed broadband service that delivers up to 24Mbps download speeds, which is more than enough to stream video and other rich media while also enabling VOIP telephony and other communication options over the internet.

What is nbn®?

Over the last decade NBNCo has been rolling out a national broadband infrastructure project, called nbn®, to all Australians in the country. This network is based on fibre technology; cutting-edge wires that deliver incredibly fast internet speeds.

For most Australians, this fibre runs to regional nodes, and then there’s a short distance between the node and a consumer’s home or business where the wires are connected with the existing copper wire. The classifications of this technology are known as FTTP, FTTN, FTTB, FTTC etc – read all about them in our guide here.

The nbn®, in many areas, can deliver speeds of up to 100Mbps, which is more than sufficient for the entire family to be streaming movies or playing games at the same time.

Is nbn® faster than ADSL?

With nbn®, you’ll have a range of different speeds you can choose between when deciding on a plan, with most consumers opting for either 25Mbps or 50Mbps plans. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be getting those speeds all the time, however. Depending on the time of day (with peak hours resulting in slower speeds) and your ISP (if they don’t provide enough bandwidth for you as well as the other customers in your area), you may be getting something less than those speeds.

Your ISP purchases bandwidth from NBNCo, which they then distribute to customers like you.If your ISP doesn’t purchase enough, your download and upload speeds will slow down during peak times. However, ISPs that do make sure they have sufficient bandwidth for peak periods, such as Aussie Broadband, will be able to provide around 90-95% of the maximum speed to their customers at all times.

ADSL’s theoretical speed limit is around 24Mbps, which sounds close to a standard nbn® plan. However, the nature of ADSL means that the further the premises is from the telephone exchange, the slower the internet speed delivered, and the drop-off is rapid. If your home is 300 or so metres away from the exchange, the maximum speed you can probably expect will be 16Mbps. That’s still enough for video streaming and the like, but coupled with congestion or other issues (such as multiple people in the home being connected simultaneously), ADSL can drop to a point where it seems like it isn’t even loading.

What is the difference between ADSL and nbn®?

The pros and cons

ADSL is still available, unless you have reached your Copper Disconnection Date. The nbn® only becomes available as it is rolled out into areas and they are ‘switched on’, this will continue until 2020 when the rollout is completed. If NBNCo hasn’t installed the nbn® technology in your area, you can’t access its benefits yet.

However, the nbn® is a clearly superior technology and choice. Because the nbn® is an open platform, ISPs from around the country can offer services to customers. Whereas with previous broadband options the ISP would need to have its own infrastructure in an area – and in regional areas choices were therefore limited – now all Australians will have plenty of options to choose from.

As the Copper Disconnection Date is reached, ADSL is phased out, meaning that the ability to sign up to new plans is really only being offered in areas the nbn® has not been rolled out. The design of the nbn® is such that when it’s installed in an area, it replaces the existing telecommunications infrastructure. Specifically, the nbn™ co-opts the wiring that was previously used to deliver phone and ADSL services. Once it does that, you will no longer be able to access ADSL services, and so you’ll need to change to an nbn® service. Not only for the internet, but to continue to access landline voice services, too.

The phase out schedule for ADSL to be switched off in an area is 18 months after nbn® has been rolled out in that location, meaning you have plenty of time to make the switch (however if you want better service, it’s recommended you make the switch sooner rather than later).

As you can see, however, being “forced off” ADSL services is a good thing for Australians. The nbn® provides faster, higher quality internet, and gives Australians the kind of speeds and data access that they need to participate in the digital future.

Find the best service for you

If you’re looking for a high quality internet connection, get in touch with the award-winning team at Aussie Broadband today! With a variety of plans and services, we’ll help you find the right plan to suit your individual needs with ease.

Tags:NBNNetwork InfrastructureInternet Speed

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Aussie Broadband

Editorial team

The Aussie Broadband Editorial team consists of copywriters, marketers, and subject matter experts across multiple fields. We aim to bring you the latest news, insights, and guides regarding everything internet, mobile, technology, and more...

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