ADSL vs. Cable

ADSL and cable Internet are two types of broadband connections that are typically what many smaller to medium-sized business consider when choosing an ISP. When deciding which might suit your business needs, you’ll want to consider availability, speed, and reliability.

For more tips on finding a suitable Internet connection for your business, check out our post about things to consider when choosing an ISP.



ADSL connections are available in mainly urban areas—wherever you can get a phone line, you can typically get ADSL. You need to be within 22,000 feet from the phone company’s central office (CO) in order to receive this type of service.1
Availability for cable Internet is pretty straight forward: if you’re in a rural area, you likely won’t be able to get cable Internet, but in most cases where cable television is available, so is cable Internet.


ADSL’s downloading speeds range from 5 Mbps up to 50 Mbps in some areas, with upload speeds up to 1.0 Mbps. Latency is a bit better with ADSL than it is with cable, depending on the location of your business.1
Cable can provide businesses with speeds all the way from 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps down and and 1 to 5 Mbps up. Bandwidth is shared with other users in the area, so speeds can slow down during high-traffic, or peak times.1 


An ADSL connection is what’s considered an “always-on” connection, meaning your device is always connected to the Internet as long as it’s on and the phone lines remain active and undamaged.1

It’s important to keep in mind that if your telephone line is accidentally cut by a service worker or is taken out of service due to extreme weather conditions, your Internet will go down. If your business demands internet that’s highly available you may consider an additional connection for your business for it would be ideal to have a backup option for Internet access. 2  Typical repair times are 24-48 hours depending upon the outage.

Cable Internet, like ADSL, provides an “always-on” connection: as long as your device is on and cable lines are active and in working order, you’re connected to the Internet.1

Having a backup service for Internet access would be a good idea for a cable connection as well as for ADSL. This is because cable lines, like telephone lines, can go down. Once that happens, your Internet connection will go down as well.1  Again, typical repair times are 24-48 hours depending upon the outage.


Monthly prices for ADSL services can range anywhere from $20 to $90, depending speed and length of contract. Since phone service is typically a requirement, you may endure additional charges for the phone line to be in working order.3 Be sure to ask if Stand Alone ADSL is available. Setup and installation fees may apply as well.
Cable connections are often bundled with phone and cable TV services, which allows you a good price for your cable Internet; the stand-alone option will cost more, most likely. Installation fees may also apply with this service, but overall, monthly fees can be anywhere between $60 and $300 per month.3 

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