For the consumer, an ADSL and a cable broadband internet connection works much the same way. Both connections will need a broadband modem and will then connect to your computer either wirelessly or via an Ethernet cable. If you already have a cable internet modem, it will not be compatible with an ADSL service, and vice versa. Cable internet is not offered by all providers and it is generally Telstra Bigpond or Optus that can offer a cable internet service in available areas.
While ADSL broadband internet sends a signal along the copper wires that run your home telephone service, a cable broadband internet connection uses a Hybrid-Fibre-Coaxial cable into your home. Cable broadband uses the same cables that a FOXTEL service uses, so if you already have a cable television subscription, you will be able to apply for a cable broadband service.
The advantage of a cable broadband internet service is speed. Cable broadband services can offer speeds up to 30,000kbps, faster than ADSL2+. However, cable speeds will depend on how many other users are online and downloading at the same time as speed is shared between neighbourhoods. This means if there are only a handful of cable subscription in your area you will most likely receive super-fast speeds most of the time. However, if there are a large number of cable broadband subscriptions in your area, your speed may be slower. ADSL, ADSL2+ and Naked DSL connections on the other hand, run along your dedicated phone line and are less affected by the download usage of others in your area.
Cable internet is not as widely available as ADSL broadband connections and will depend on which provider has the infrastructure in your area. If you live in a major Australian city, chances are there will be cable availability but this will always depend on whether cable has been laid in your area. If there is cable availability, your installation will require a technician visit to install the cable from the street into your home. This can sometimes be expensive and you will need to check the costs with your broadband provider before signing up. Costs will vary depending on your location, infrastructure and the type of house you live in.
One advantage of a cable connection is that you will not need a home phone service to receive a cable broadband connection. Because cable runs on separate infrastructure, it does not need an active home phone service. If you find you cannot get a Naked DSL service and no longer require a home phone service, cable might be the way to go.