Why can’t I get ADSL in my area?


If you are thinking of getting an ADSL connection installed in your home or office, you will first need to find out if ADSL is available at your address. Unfortunately, ADSL isn’t available to everyone, and you may find that you are one of the unlucky few who cannot get an ADSL connection. Here’s why.


One of the most common factors affecting users’ ability to connect to ADSL is distance. If you are too far from the exchange, it’s unlikely you will be granted a connection. Addresses more than 5km from an exchange will usually not be eligible for ADSL.

Bear in mind though, that 5km is not measured as the crow flies – copper wiring does not follow straight lines directly to the exchange. You may be within 5km of the exchange, but there may be 6km of copper wiring required to get you there.

Pair Gains

Another factor that can affect your ability to connect to ADSL is the phone line you use. If you use a pair gains system, that can cause some issues. If you are on a pair gains system, that means your individual phone line does not travel all the way back to the exchange. Instead, you share the line with your neighbours.

There are only a certain number of ADSL connections that can be taken from that shared phone line, so if your neighbours are currently using all of them, you won’t be able to get one. In this case, you will only be able to get ADSL if one of your neighbours gives up their connection, or if your ISP decides to upgrade the line to add more connections.


If you have an incompatible line, it may also stop you from getting an ADSL connection. If your phone line connects through a RIM (Remote Integrated Multiplexor), you will usually not be able to get ADSL.

A RIM is a section of the main telephone exchange that has been removed and moved closer to another area. However, the technology used to link the RIM to the main exchange is not compatible with ADSL.

That usually means no ADSL on RIM-connected phone lines, however in some cases, where upgrades have been made, ADSL connections are possible – so don’t give up hope.

Other Reasons

If it’s not distance, pair gains or incompatible RIM-connected phone lines, there are a few other miscellaneous factors that could prevent you from connecting to ADSL. For example, if there is an address or phone number mismatch, it could prevent your request for ADSL being approved. It’s a good idea to confirm your details with your ISP to check this.

How to find out if you can get an ADSL connection

It’s easy to check your eligibility for ADSL. Simply call your ISP (internet service provider), or check your coverage online. As long as your address is eligible for an ADSL connection, you should be able to sign up for a plan and get connected pretty quickly.

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