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ADSL broadband deals
ADSL broadband delivers Internet over your old school phone line. Learn more about this technology and find out how to compare plans.
Updated . What changed?
If you don’t have access to other types of broadband connections or don’t need fast Internet, there are still plenty of ADSL broadband deals on the market.
What's in this guide?
Compare ADSL broadband deals
How does ADSL broadband work?
ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) broadband works by sending data signals along the existing copper infrastructure that has been used for telephone services for decades. Those copper lines have more bandwidth than is needed just for telephone calls, and it’s those additional frequencies that are used for both ADSL and ADSL2+ connections.
The “A” in ADSL/2+ stands for Asymmetrical, because the ratio between download speeds and upload speeds on ADSL connections is always tilted towards downloads. That does largely follow the patterns of most Internet users, because you tend to consume more than you create.
ADSL/ADSL2+ has some significant limitations, including the quality of the copper lines between your home and the exchange that handles your Internet traffic; this is quite variable however depending on the life of the copper and its maintenance cycle.
A more fixed and pressing problem for ADSL/2+ connections is the question of distance from that exchange. It can vary depending on line quality, but as a rough rule of thumb, ADSL services won’t work at all beyond around 5km from an exchange, and the further out you go within the limit, the lower the available connection speeds will drop. That distance can be tricky to calculate exactly from the consumer end, because it’s not a straight line, but instead also hinges on the lengths and quality of copper between your home and the exchange.
Because ADSL broadband uses different parts of the available copper bandwidth, you do not have to run a regular landline service and pay line rental fees for that service if you don’t use a landline phone regularly. These kinds of services disable access to voice frequencies to deliver a product most frequently referred to as “Naked” DSL.
How fast is ADSL?
ADSL connections in New Zealand are divided between connections that use the older ADSL standard, although these are becoming increasingly rare, and the faster ADSL2+ standard.
For the distance and quality-related reasons above, ADSL/2+ speeds are always marketed as being “up to” approximations, because the distance between you and the exchange and then the ongoing issues of network congestion and end points on the Internet can radically affect your speeds.
Typically, ADSL delivers up to 2Mbps if you within 6km of the local exchange, while ADSL2+ connections can deliver download speeds of up to 10Mbps if you are within 2km of the local cabinet. However it is possible to get up to maximum speeds of 8Mbps for ADSL and 24Mbps with ADSL2+.
Finally, it’s worth noting that if you access your ADSL/ADSL2+ connection via Wi-Fi, you’re likely to suffer a small speed penalty relative to the same connection used via a fixed Ethernet cable.
Where is ADSL available?
ADSL services are available across New Zealand wherever you’re within radius of an exchange; most ISPs will request your address as a primary step to ascertain ADSL availability in your region. If you are in an area where fibre broadband is installed, you will find the copper decommissioned over time, and ADSL will no longer be available.
How can I compare ADSL broadband deals?
When comparing ADSL broadband deals, this is what matters:
The speed of an ADSL/ADSL2+ plan is somewhat outside the control of your ISP or your own hardware due to the distance and line quality limitations of ADSL itself, as described above. One area however where you can compare speeds is for plans with a quota that drop your speed down once your quota is exhausted. The precise speed offered as a top is usually a fraction of your normal ADSL speed, and that you can compare between ISPs.
ADSL plans have been the most widely used in New Zealand while much of the country awaited the rollout of fibre broadband. But with the government planning to cover 87% of the population with the fibre network by 2022, ADSL will probably be phased out in the near future. As such, price competition is still strong, with many providers still offering ADSL broadband deals that include line rental or unlimited data provisions.
When it comes to data allowance, you can find ADSL broadband deals with different quotas to suit different lifestyle needs. While it makes sense to go for unlimited data if you have fibre and spend numerous hours each week streaming Netflix in high definition, this won’t be suitable if you only use the Internet for emails, social media and general web browsing.
There are many ISPs that offer unlimited data with an ADSL plan, you’ll just need to keep in mind that you won’t have the same streaming experience as you would with faster connections.
If you are sure that you don’t need unlimited data, you can choose a capped data plan. These typically range from as little as 50GB to as high as 300GB per month.
Not sure which data you should go for? Use our data usage calculator to get an idea of what you need.
What other extras should I look for?
As a way of enticing you to signup, some wireless broadband providers offer a bonus or incentive. This could be something like half-price broadband for a period of time, account credit or a joining reward such as a laptop or TV. Deals like this usually run for a few months or more, so keep an eye out on what’s available. However, don’t forget that opting for a plan with these types of bonuses will lock you into a longer contract, and early exit fees will apply if you decide to cancel.
Will I need a new modem for ADSL?
With ADSL or ADSL2+ making up the majority of fixed-line broadband connections in New Zealand, the odds are pretty good that your existing modem will work. That being said, if you jump up from ADSL to ADSL2+, you’ll need an ADSL2+ compliant modem or modem router to take advantage of the additional speed on offer. That’s only likely to be an issue if you’ve owned your existing modem for a very long period of time; any new ADSL modem router sold in New Zealand now will be fully ADSL2+ compliant.
Check with your ISP if they bundle a modem in with a service, which is often the case if you sign up for 12 or 24 months. Do be aware that the modems and routers provided by ISPs are generally simple units, so if you want the fastest Wi-Fi performance you may find it a little lacking if you go down the bundled freebie route.
Which providers offer ADSL broadband deals in New Zealand?
Want to know more about a specific broadband provider? Click on the blue links in the list above to be taken to a comprehensive review.
How do I find the cheapest ADSL broadband deals?
If you’re looking for cheapest ADSL broadband deals, here are some ways that you can save and find the best plan for you:
- Check out your mobile phone provider. It may be possible to save on your broadband by signing up for the service with your current mobile phone provider. Companies like 2degrees, Orcon and Vodafone offer monthly discounts if you also have a pay monthly mobile plan.
- Consider your energy company. Trustpower, Contact and Nova Energy all offer discounted plans to their energy customers, and Orcon will give you a 10% discount if you sign up for broadband and power.
- Pay attention to advertising. ISPs are regularly promoting deals for new customers, so keep an eye on any promotions that you see.
- Do your research. Finding the best ADSL broadband deals will take some research as you weigh up the different options and work out what kind of plan you will most benefit from. In the section above you’ll find links to reviews of various broadband providers, so take your time to weigh up what’s on offer.
- Compare broadband deals with Finder. If you’re in a rush and want to know what are the cheapest options available right now, head straight to our guide on cheap broadband plans.
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