Compare DSL Internet in Your Area

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Is DSL internet good?

Digital subscriber line (DSL) internet service networks use existing phone lines to carry internet signals, making the service widely available in rural areas of the US. With the help of fiber-optic cable backbones, DSL speeds can reach around 100 Mbps—fast enough to enjoy scrolling through social media and even streaming TV.

While fiber and cable internet offer faster download speeds than DSL, they’re not available in all areas. And DSL still provides more affordable and less restrictive internet service than satellite internet.

DSL pros and cons

Pros

  • Availability in rural areas
  • Larger data allowances than satellite internet

Cons

  • Slower speeds than fiber and cable internet
  • Less bang for your buck than fiber and cable internet
  • Aging infrastructure that isn’t always well-maintained

Best DSL internet providers

One of the most unfortunate things about DSL internet is that the same provider may offer wildly different speeds depending on where you’re located.

But all is not lost! Fiber backbones improve DSL speeds by helping internet data travel faster over long distances. And with providers expanding their fiber-optic networks, you may notice your internet speeds improve even if you don’t get fiber-to-home.

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What is DSL internet?

Digital subscriber line internet uses standard telephone lines to provide internet service. Since DSL uses a different frequency than phone calls or outdated dial-up internet, it can transport more information without interruptions.

And now, DSL is faster than ever in places where a fiber-optic backbone supports it. This hybrid system might not bring fiber connection all the way to your home, but it still improves DSL’s overall capabilities by using fiber to carry data from your neighborhood to its internet connection point (fun fact: those are called network nodes).

Unlike most service types we talk about on CableTV.com, DSL doesn’t support TV—it’s an internet-only service. But some DSL providers offer TV service by partnering with different services.

Compare DSL internet providers

Provider Price Download speeds up to Details
Ziply $35.00/mo. 115 Mbps View plan

Read Ziply review
Windstream $39.99/mo. 100 Mbps View plan

Read Windstream review
Frontier $49.99/mo. N/A View plan

Read Frontier review
Earthlink $49.95–$59.95/mo. 45 Mbps View plan

Read Earthlink review
CenturyLink $50.00/mo. 100 Mbps View plan

Read CenturyLink review
AT&T $55.00/mo. 100 Mbps View plan

Read AT&T review

DSL internet prices run between $35.00 and $59.95 a month—all reasonably close to the average monthly cost of internet, which is $50 a month.

But because of the limitations of DSL technology, DSL speeds top out at 115 Mbps. You won’t get the same bang for your buck with a DSL plan that you could with a competitively priced cable internet or fiber internet plan.

DSL internet vs. the competition

While DSL is a handy option that most homes already come wired for, you can get faster download speeds with fiber and cable internet.

If your only other internet option besides DSL is satellite internet, you’ll want to consider your priorities wisely. More on that below.

DSL vs. fiber internet

Fiber internet is the fastest and most reliable internet service available. Unfortunately, most fiber-optic networks are limited to large cities. But if you happen to have a fiber internet provider in your area, go with fiber to get the most bang for your buck.

DSL vs. cable internet

Cable internet works using coaxial cables initially made for cable TV. With cable internet speeds reaching around 1,000 Mbps, it can be a much faster option than DSL. For a complete comparison of these two technology types, check out our DSL vs. cable internet review.

DSL vs. satellite internet

In a rural area, DSL and satellite internet may be your only options. Satellite internet speeds run as high as 250 Mbps (higher than the average DSL plan), but satellite internet also comes with hefty equipment fees—and it often has limited data caps.

If you choose DSL over satellite internet, you’ll have more flexibility—and likely less latency, which is better for online gaming and streaming TV.

Final take: DSL is better than nothing

While DSL isn’t as fast as fiber and cable internet, it’s still better than old dial-up internet. And with fiber-optic cables carrying data over long distances, you can get faster DSL speeds than ever before.

Enter your zip code below to see if DSL internet or other internet providers are available in your area.

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Methodology

Our internet experts have researched and written about internet technologies for years. We base our internet service type recommendations on bang for your buck, reliability, features, and customer satisfaction. Check out our How We Rank page to learn more.

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