While ADSL broadband is by far the most common form of broadband Internet, it is not available to everyone. There remain many parts of the world, including remote areas of the U.S. and Europe where ADSL is unavailable. Although the situation is improving, some areas will likely still not be able to get an ADSL broadband connection for quite some years. Fortunately, there are other broadband Internet options available in such situations and no longer do you need to stick with the painfully slow and, nowadays highly impractical, dial-up connection. If you find yourself in such a situation, consider the following alternatives to ADSL broadband.
Cable is the second-most popular type of broadband Internet connection and although it is not as widely available as ADSL, there are some cases where it is available where ADSL isn’t. Rather than using the phone lines like ADSL broadband, cable Internet uses the same medium for data transfers as cable television. If you already have cable television, there is a good chance that your cable TV service provider will also have a package available which includes cable Internet access. In terms of performance and features, cable broadband is often very similar to ADSL broadband. However, it is rarely available in more remote areas.
3G Internet works using the same medium as mobile phones to send and receive data. This means that it is available anywhere where you can get a mobile phone signal. A lot of people use 3G on their mobile phones where they’re on the move and many also have a 3G broadband package in addition to their normal home broadband. 3G is useful not only for people on the move, but also for those living in certain remote areas. All that is required is a strong enough mobile phone signal. You can access 3G Internet using a small modem which plugs into a USB port on your desktop or laptop computer. This usually will be provided with your 3G broadband package. While 3G is widely available, it is generally not as satisfactory as ADSL. It is often more expensive, particularly since you will usually have to pay on a per-megabyte basis. It also tends to be considerably slower than ADSL.
Satellite Internet uses communications satellites in space for sending and receiving data, as does satellite TV. While monthly subscription fees are generally much more affordable than they were a few years ago, setup costs are still high since you will need a satellite dish, a satellite modem and appropriate cabling. Satellite Internet is, however, available everywhere in the world, provided you have the right setup. This is also what ocean-going ships use if they have Internet access. While speeds are comparable to ADSL broadband, satellite Internet is fairly dependant on weather conditions. Since the signal travels through the sky, severe weather conditions can greatly decrease the quality of the connection. However, satellite Internet access remains the only broadband Internet option for those in remote areas where 3G is also unavailable.
Steve Parkinson, the author uses 3g as his primary form of internet access as broadband is terrible to his house.