ADSL, cable and others

This page covers connection types not supplied by nbn™, and still available across Australia.

Some of these connections may not be available for new connections in your existing area (for example, cable), or are being phased out as better connection types become available (ADSL).


What is DSL?

If you still have an ordinary landline, are mapped for nbn™ Fixed Wireless or nbnSky Musteryou may still be able to use a DSL service – ADSL or ADSL+ is the most common. Plans tend to be very cost-effective, and reliable.  

ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) connections use the copper phone line to deliver internet, and a landline phone service. This was the primary broadband connection type before nbn ™ started installing its fibre. It uses Telstra’s copper cables to provide an internet connection. Limited providers may still provide or support DSL services in your region, in particular in small rural towns. There is often a lack of ports available.

Can I get an ADSL connection?

You can check for availability on the Telstra website.

This will tell you whether Telstra is still offering it at your location. Telstra recently changed the map for nbn ™ Fixed Wireless mapped areas, and may tell you that only nbn ™ Fixed Wireless is available (even if you are already connected to ADSL). Check with Telstra to see if you are able to get an ADSL connection.

If it is available, internet providers will always offer ADSL2+ as it is essentially the same thing but improved like an iPhone 4 vs an iPhone 7.

ADSL2+ generally provides maximum download speeds of up to 20Mbps and maximum upload speeds of up to 850 Kbps.

ADSL speed vs distance graphing

Understanding ADSL plans

Information in this section has been collated primarily from the WhistleOut page on ADSL 2+

Plans are supplied by individual internet service providers. In rural and regional areas, Telstra is likely to be the main supplier of ADSL plans

However, you can check for other suppliers and plans in your region using comparison sites such as:

Not all the sites may list ADSL suppliers.

Note that these sites may receive a payment for recommending particular providers, are supported by advertising, and may not list providers that do not pay to be on their sites.


ADSL2+’s maximum theoretical speeds are 24Mbps for download and 1Mbps for upload. Your actual internet speeds will be determined by how far your home is from your local exchange (the building where your suburb is connected to the wider internet) and the state of the copper wiring running down your street. If you are more than five kilometres from the telephone exchange it is likely your broadband provider will not be able to provide a service due to the high level of transmission loss that would occur. That would essentially render your broadband connection too slow to be worthwhile.

Other factors that affect the speed of your internet includes the internet traffic of your neighbourhood, quality of your telephone line and the websites you are accessing. No matter which Australian broadband provider you choose, if you are too far away from the exchange, data transfer speeds will be a barrier in being able to use this service.


Some parts of the nbn rollout will use the existing cable TV/broadband network to supply internet services to your premises. This is, broadly speaking, only available in major capital cities. Find out more

In other areas, the cable network may be switched off when nbn is installed. Find out more

However, some regional areas also have cable networks installed, such as Geelong, Mildura, and Ballarat.

These may be incorporated into the nbn rollout, or provided via independent service providers. At the time of writing, iiNet was the main provider of non-nbn cable Internet services. Find out more.

If it’s available to you, it provides a very fast, reliable, and cost-effective service, and may be worth investigating. It’s particularly worthwhile if you’re looking at access to the cable television channels.