DSL, Cable or Fibre — Which Internet Connection Should I Choose?

27 oktober 2017 (laatste wijziging 27 juli 2018) door Annick

Are you looking to set up an internet connection at your new home in The Netherlands? Overwhelmed by all the options and bundles? Here’s our step-by-step guide to finding the internet connection you need.

There are a number of factors to take into consideration when choosing the best internet service provider (ISP) in your neighbourhood. Whether it’s to get your daily fix of social networking, a Netflix binge, or to make a business call over Skype, the first step towards finding the best ISP is to determine the type of internet connection that best matches your needs.

The average consumer today is unaware of the different types of internet connections available. Most users focus mainly on securing quick and easy access to the internet. However, understanding the differences between them could help in making the right choice.

So, how do you choose the best option for getting connected to the internet? We analyse the pros and cons of DSL, cable and fibre-optic connectivity and find the ideal internet connection for you.


    Explore your options

    DSL or Digital Subscriber Line

    A step up from the dial-up connections of yesterday, DSL allows for both phone and internet usage at the same time. A DSL connection uses your local phone line to deliver internet access at speeds as high as 100 Mbps.

    DSL’s main draw is that it is widely available and easily accessible. Keep in mind, however, that unlike cable and fibre-optic connectivity, the actual download speeds for DSL can be slower than the speed advertised by the ISP. Generally, the further you are from your neighbourhood’s network access point, the slower the internet speed. If you’re opting for a DSL connection, check out this tool to identify the true speed of DSL connections in your neighbourhood and find one that closely matches the advertised speed.

    Our recommendation:

    Check out T-Mobile, KPN and XS4All for reliable DSL internet connections at speeds ranging from 20 Mbps to 160 Mbps. Starts at €27 per month.

    Cable Internet

    For most Dutch households, cable is the most popular choice for internet connectivity. Cable internet connections rely on cable wires to deliver internet at high speeds. Most cable internet speeds in the Netherlands average between 40 Mbps and 300 Mbps. However, as cable technology is based on shared bandwidth, the internet speed and quality can be negatively impacted if there is heavy traffic on the network.

    While cable connectivity is faster and more reliable, its main drawback is that it is more expensive than DSL and may not always be available for you. Even if there is availability, chances are that your choices are restricted to a single provider. Keep in mind that cable internet connections are generally offered as a package, the most basic of which includes a television service.

    Our recommendation:

    Ziggo is currently the undisputed leader of the internet provider pyramid in The Netherlands. You can find internet and TV bundles at speeds ranging from 40 Mbps to 300 Mbps. Starts at €43,50 per month.

    Fibre Internet

    If the fastest speeds possible are a high priority for you, then a fibre-optic connection is the way to go. Tiny glass fibres send and receive data at speeds ranging from 40 Mbps to 500 Mbps, making fibre-optic connections the fastest internet solution out there. This is especially significant when it comes to upload speeds: fibre connections can upload data up to five times faster than both DSLand cable networkssnel internet buitengebied

    But, why does upload speed matter? A good upload speed is essential for sending large files or while hosting video conferences online. While fibre internet connections usually have the same download and upload speeds, cable internet connections generally feature upload speeds that are 10% of the download speeds.

    So why is fibre internet not the obvious choice for all users? For the simple reason that it requires the presence of fibre-optic cables in your area. Therefore, this option is ruled out if your area doesn’t support the installation of a fibre-optic connection.

    Our recommendation:

    T-Mobile and KPN are reliable options for a fast fibre-optic connection. Starts at €32,50 per month.

    Consider the following

    Choosing the right connection is not based on download and upload speeds alone. Your choice of DSL, cable or fibre internet will also depend on:

    1. Location: This is key when choosing between DSL, cable and fibre-optic internet options. For example, distance defines the speed in the case of a DSL connection. Additionally, fibre-optic internet connections are only possible if fibre-glass cables have been installed in your region.

    Cable internet, on the other hand, is not affected by location or distance between your home and that of the service provider. However, opting for cable may not be as easy on the wallet as its internet solutions are often packaged along with television or telephone services.

    2. Budget: The faster the internet, the higher the price. An internet connection in The Netherlands can cost you anywhere between €20-70 per month depending on the type of connection and bundle you choose. Fibre-optic internet tends to be the costliest of the three but may not always be available. And since television suppliers provide cable connections, cable internet will most likely 

    include a basic television service as part of the package.  

    3. Speed: Here’s a quick way to identify the internet speed you need: if you download heavily or share your internet connection with other users, look for speeds starting from 50 Mbps. If you watch television or play games online, a higher download speed is essential. But if you only use the internet for basic browsing and checking emails, a 20 Mbps connection should suffice. 

    Ask yourself: What’s the use?

    Let speed be your guide in choosing a connection and service provider that matches your usage. If a fibre-optic connection is unavailable or exceeds your price range, opt for a basic cable internet package, which will usually include a television connection. While DSL connections may look appealing, especially when the budget is tight, remember that it is generally recommended for basic internet use such as web browsing and checking emails.

    Identify your internet usage and the minimum speed required to support your needs. You can also use our comparison tool to find the internet solution that’s right for you. Enter your postcode and house number to find the options available in your neighbourhood. And make sure to double check the true speed to ensure what you see is what you get. Finally, don’t forget to read these FAQs to clarify any nagging doubts before you seal the deal.

    Do you have any recommendations or tips for other readers? We’d love to hear your thoughts – feel free to share them with us in the comments below.


    Mijn naam is Annick. Dagelijks schrijf ik artikelen omtrent internetpakketten en mobiele abonnementen. Met mijn artikelen probeer ik het vergelijken zo eenvoudig mogelijk te maken. Zodat jij het juiste abonnement kunt vinden.

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