All about asymmetric digital subscriber lines

Stay permanently connected to the Internet, but choose your ISP wisely.

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An ADSL – short for ‘asymmetric digital subscriber line’ – is a broadband communications technology for connecting to the Internet. An ADSL allows more data to be sent over a ‘plain old telephone service’ line.  With an ADSL, a micro-filter is installed on the line. Unlike the old modem system, which enables you either to use the Internet or make a phone call, an ADSL lets you do both simultaneously. A special ADSL modem (or router) will also be required. To get ADSL, you need to be closer than 7km to the local exchange, explains Border Internet CEO Luke Phillips.

How fast is this technology?
An ADSL can typically support download (receive) rates of 1,5 to nine megabytes/second and upload rates of 16 to 640 kilobytes/second, according to the online IT dictionary The data speed is ultimately affected by how many users are on a specific line: the more users, the slower the speed. How much data should you pay for? Well, this depends on your needs. There are basically three options:

With this, a limit is set on how much data can be used, and your ISP will usually provide with a choice of packages. The capped option is ideal for those who want to set aside a specific budget for their ADSL usage every month.

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This means there is no limit on your data usage – but only up to a certain point. So make sure that your ISP does not have an excessive ‘out of bundle’ rate if you exceed a certain limit, as this can prove to be very expensive.
Another form of uncapped is related to line speed: the faster the line, the higher the monthly fee, but there is no limit on data usage.

ADSL works the same way as prepaid airtime on a cellphone.

The small print
OpenWeb CEO Keoma Wright warns consumers to study their ADSL contract carefully before signing it. “What many ISPs advertise as ‘unshaped’ (uncapped), more than likely comes with a complicated ‘fair usage’ policy,” he says.