Landline Vs. Broadband

By David Ferris

Broadband provides a much faster connection than a landline.
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The Internet has changed drastically over the past decade or so. Day-to-day Internet applications now involve bandwidth-intensive activities such as downloading music and streaming video. This has prompted a move from dial-up Internet service through a landline phone to broadband. Each service has its distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Landline and the Internet

Landlines were the only way to have Internet access when the Internet started becoming a traditional household presence. Dial-up Internet service providers use the same lines you use to talk on the phone to transmit data. While everyone has this sort of access, landline-based Internet ties up a phone line while you are connected, requiring a second landline for frequent use. Landline Internet access must also be "connected," requiring you to "dial in" to access the service.


Broadband is much faster than landline-based Internet. Landlines can transmit data at a maximum rate of 56,000 bits per second. Broadband, however, generally transmits data at 5 million bits per second and sometimes more. Broadband, in addition, is "always on," meaning you do not have to log on and reconnect to turn on your Internet connection.

Data Transmission Options

Landlines are limited in their means of data transmission. Simply put, they have one: the landline itself. Broadband provides a few more options. Subscribers can purchase cable Internet, which runs over the same fiber-optic cable lines as your cable television service; satellite service and mobile broadband, which uses a USB modem that you can take anywhere. Having additional data transmission options at your disposal is better because it gives you more flexibility of use and greater mobility.


Landline and broadband service differ significantly in cost. The actual cost varies widely depending on your geographic area and the type of service you use, but expect to pay as of June 2011 between $20 and $30 for landline Internet and $50 to $60 for broadband.