A long line ADSL link is where your some distance from the exchange. I'm 5km, and when ADSL first came out, BT wondered if I'd even get a link. In the year when ADSL1 was at the exchange, I got a 0.5mb link, and since the exchange went ADSL+, I've been getting between a 1.5mb and a 3.5mb link. Reliability went up on the fourth call-out from BT when they discovered a 50-year old piece of aluminium cable between my house and the nearest pole.
Even when the local exchange goes ADSL2 (something that urban exchanges have had for years) and a theoretical maximum link rate of 22mb, I will only get 4 or 5mb, because I'm so far from the exchange. And because I choose to live in a rural community (our village has less than 100 houses), the chances of Virgin cable coming (despite it being a wealthy rural village) are zero. No 200mb internet for us.
BT have this 'fibre to the cabinet' scheme where it runs a fibre cable to a cabinet in your community and then copper from there, meaning that my line length would go down to about 150m, and thus meaning I would get 22mb when ADSL2 comes out.
The chances of BT actually doing that in this community are zero. They're cherry picking the urban exchanges.
So what to do. Well, the only good piece of news on the horizon was the Billion BiPac 7300N ADSL router. A router, it is claimed, which can deliver better performance over long lines. And so, this weekend, I plugged one of these in. My line rate rose from 2.5mb to 4.5mb initially, and has settled at 3.6mb. I'm still tweaking. (I have a line loss of 59db/13db if this helps anyone else out there).
Update: The (outgoing) Labour government claim that everyone will have fast internet by 2020. Yeah. Right.