ADSL2+ Internet in Australia: Your guide to copper broadband

ADSL has been replaced by the NBN, but we can help you understand the original broadband technology.

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Australia’s Internet was built upon ADSL technology. While the completion of the NBN means ADSL2+ has been completely phased out across Australia, understanding how the Internet worked before the National Broadband Network is important.

While we can’t connect you to an ADSL plan, the team at Compare Broadband is here to help you understand the different broadband technologies available to you, and help you get connected to the ideal plan for your needs. Give us a call today


  • ADSL technology has been replaced by the NBN
  • It used to deliver speeds up to 24 Mbps
  • Compare Broadband will help you find the perfect Internet plan

Last updated 18/10/2023

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What is ADSL?

ADSL stands for “Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line”. Digital Subscriber Lines (which you may have often heard shortened to “DSL”) refers to the form of communications technology that transmits data over those old copper telephone lines.

When the telecommunications network in most countries first rolled out, two lines of copper would be drawn into each property – one to serve, and one redundant. The line would come off the Local Loop, a snake of rubber running a few metres below the city, emanating in a rough circle from an Exchange.

When the need for high-speed internet started to become pressing, running a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) over the redundant line was an imperfect solution. 

So why is this imperfect? Well, the technology to run a voice call over a piece of copper is very old, and the copper is very old as well. No-one at the time foresaw the need for a service like the internet to run over that same line. 

So DSL was the widespread method for providing the internet ‘signal’ to everyone’s home. The 'A' in ADSL refers to Asynchronous, or uneven. 

ADSL vs ADSL2+ vs Naked DSL

ADSL, or ADSL1 as it’s often called, is the most basic form of broadband internet. The maximum speed a basic ADSL connection can run is at 8,192kbps/384kbps. 

ADSL2+ offered faster speeds compared to ADSL, and was cheaper too. With speeds of up to 24,000 kbps (24 megabits per second) this is fast enough internet for numerous computers in one home or business to be online simultaneously.

Naked DSL is where you have ADSL2+ internet running into your home via a copper phone line, but you deactivate the telephone aspect of the line, so you don’t need to pay for phone rental as a separate charge. 

The arrival of the NBN

ADSL has a long history in Australia, but with the completion of the National Broadband Network, ADSL technology became redundant. Today, fixed line broadband is delivered through the NBN or a similar fibre network like Opticomm.

NBN connections are faster, and more reliable. You can also choose from a wider range of providers, and can connect without having to pay a line rental fee.

You can compare NBN plans today, and the team at Compare Broadband can even help you get connected.




No, the NBN is a completely different technology and enterprise. The NBN (which stands for National Broadband Network) is an Australian national wholesale open access data network funded by the Australian Federal Government. Since its completion, ADSL has become redundant across Australia.

ADSL Copper Line vs NBN fibre optic cables

While ADSL technology uses copper phone lines to transmit data, NBN technology uses fibre optic cables to transmit its data; when the NBN network replaces the old copper infrastructure of ADSL with these fibre optic cables, it can typically provide a faster internet speed to your home. This is because the old copper lines were designed for telephone communication rather than internet usage, and NBN technology is specifically designed to accommodate internet users.

How fast is ADSL broadband?

Speeds for most internet connections vary depending on a number of factors, but the maximum download speeds for each connection are listed below... ADSL: 8Mbps ADSL2: 12Mbps ADSL2+: 24Mbps

How fast is NBN compared to ADSL2+?

When it comes to the NBN and ADSL2+, there is a significant difference in speed; compared to the top ADSL2+ speed of 24Mbps, the top speed on a premium NBN plan is around 1000Mbps. This increase in speed is directly due to the NBN’s difference in infrastructure.

Is the original ADSL still available?


What is a DSLAM?

A DSLAM is a Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer. It is basically a large array, or rack of network devices (like modems), wired up together and in turn connected to a main telephone switch.

What is an ADSL2+ line profile?

A line profile governs the speed and stability of your ADSL2+ connection. Not all phone lines are alike in quality and distance, which means not all broadband accounts connect at the same speed. Higher ADSL2+ line profiles – which result in higher speeds – are also more sensitive to interference and connection issues.

What is off-net broadband?

Off-net broadband is a common term that is used to describe ADSL or ADSL2+ plans offered over a different network than those typically used by internet service providers. Off-net plans also come in a range of connection speeds which usually range from 521Kbps to 20Mbps. The speed will still depend on the area that you are in.

What is Pair Gain?

A pair-gain system refers to the technology used to run several phone services along the same length of copper line from the exchange. Telecommunications providers will often install pair-gains systems to reduce installation costs and cabling space when connecting multiple phone services. Instead of installing a separate copper line into each premise, a pair gain system will use the same line that is then split and run into several houses. The resulting line is adequate for a phone service but cannot support a high speed broadband connection.

What is a RIM?

An RIM or Remote Integrated Multiplexer was often installed by Telstra to extend copper line to reach more areas. A RIM allowed a signal to travel further along the line and could be used to split a copper line to several premises. There are a number of reasons why Telstra may have installed a RIM on your line, including insufficient space for more cables, cable-laying difficulties or the overall expense of copper cabling. If there was a RIM infrastructure on your home phone line you would be unable to run a high-speed ADSL2+ broadband service. The fastest connection possible on a RIM service is an ADSL connection.

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