IT Corner

Broadband VS Cable

Ok I’ve added in another interesting (hopefully) IT topic that
should be able to make you understand that there is a difference between Singnet
and Pacific Internet BROADBAND connection and Starhub’s CABLE MODEM
services. More often than not, I normally end up having to explain to some
of my punters the disparity between these two as most of us tend to mix up
between broadband and cable modem. Some even thought that cable IS broadband,
which is a definite NO-NO.

Of course, if you want to go to the summary page, please
click here. Otherwise, stay tune for the information on
these two.


Unless you live or work in a remote or very rural area, you
probably have the option of giving up (if you haven’t already) that slow 56K
dial-up modem and investing in a broadband Internet connection. In Singapore,
your choice is between DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) offered by Singtel and
Pacific Internet or cable modem services offered by Starhub. Both DSL and cable
modems are common home networking broadband connection technologies — but which
option is better?

Before I even get into which one is better, let me give a brief
summary of what is DSL and Cable Modem here. DSL uses a
sophisticated modulation scheme to pack data onto copper wires. DSL iwill not
tie up your phone as compared to what a dial-up connection does. There is no
need to dial in to your ISP (Internet Service Provider) as DSL is always on.

Through the use of a cable modem you can have a broadband Internet connection
that is designed to operate over cable TV lines. Cable Internet works by using
TV channel space for data transmission, with certain channels used for
downstream transmission, and other channels for upstream transmission. Don’t ask
me which channels are used in these, only Starhub personnel is able to provide
these data. Since the coaxial cable used by cable TV provides much greater
bandwidth than telephone lines, a cable modem can be used to achieve extremely
fast access to the Web.

Which is better and faster? Actually,
this topic has been highly debated and still there doesn’t seem to be a clear
and Pacific Internet DSL offers users a choice of speeds ranging from 256 Kbps
to 10 Mbps (as shown in Singtel’s latest update via its

). Cable modem download speeds are typically up to 25 Mbps, but the
reason there is no clear speed winner is because cable technology is based on
shared bandwidth, with many factors influencing a users download speed.

shared bandwidth the speed fluctuates depending on the number of subscribers on
the network. With DSL, the connection is yours and not shared, and you tend to
have a more constant speed. This is one reason why Starhub don’t often publish
speed information. In more rustic areas with fewer subscribers, you’re bound to
have faster download speeds than a subscriber in a metropolitan district. Since
cable modem speeds fluctuate, it is difficult to gauge an exact download speed.

What is the price comparison between these two?
The price consumers will pay for DSL or cable Internet services is
not standard as time goes by. It depends on how much competition there is for
broadband services, and the area you live in. As cable Internet became available
the price of DSL goes down. With either option you generally will pay a one-time
set-up fee. For cable you could expect this fee to be anywhere from $50 to $100
(depending on Starhub’s regulation), while the cost for DSL installation is a
bit more and could run up to $150 for set-up (unless you can find a qualified IT
support that can do this without engaging the ISP’s IT staff). Once the
installation is completed, you will usually pay for your Internet subscription
on a monthly basis.

you live in an area where both cable and DSL is offered then you may find
yourself being able to nab a better deal on your broadband service. Your local
DSL or cable carrier may offer introductory offers such as free installation or
offer the Internet service free for a couple months. In addition, you can also
check and see if the service provider offer discounts on service bundles. For
example, Starhub offer discounts for “surf and watch” which gives you a price
discount if you subscribe to both cable TV and cable Internet (also Starhub now
offer VoIP capabilities as part of the mix). If you choose DSL from Singnet or
Pacific Internet you may qualify for a “surf and talk” bundle plan. If you’re
not already a broadband subscriber you can save money by checking with local
service providers and signing up for your broadband account when you can catch a
good deal.


  1. Singtel and Pacific Internet offer
    broadband Internet connection and only Starhub offer cable modem Internet.
  2. Broadband use the existing telephone line while Cable modem
    use TV
    channel space for data transmission.
  3. In general,
    cable modem is faster than broadband, but cable modem speed is shared between
    residents in your area while broadband is dedicated only to you.
  4. It means if its
    a World Cup month, you can forget about hitting top-notch speeds with cable
    Internet since the whole flats in your vicinity will be watching ESPN
    day/night on Cable TV.
  5. Broadband is
    cheaper than Cable. Affordable and preferred for home surfing.
  6. Unless you have
    Cable TV at home, stick to broadband for your Internet needs.

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