DSL Internet Providers

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DSL

About DSL Internet

Broadband delivered using digital subscriber lines (DSL) is very popular in the United States. Hundreds of different Internet Service Providers (ISPs)offer DSL internet with networks that reach 90% of Americans. Chances are you’ll have at least one DSL internet provider in your area.

DSL uses existing phone lines to deliver high-speed internet to homes and businesses. DSL internet is not dial-up. Although it uses the same wires and jacks as your phone system, you don’t have to dial out to use it, so it won’t tie up your phone line like dial-up. Plus, DSL runs on an entirely different frequency than a voice phone call, often making it up to ten times faster than dial-up internet.

Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like AT&T have improved DSL speeds even further. With new fiber internet technology, ISPs can use a fiber broadband “backbone” to transmit data quickly to local DSL hubs where DSL cables carry the data the last stretch. This DSL/fiber hybrid internet increases download speeds from regular DSL considerably.

Pros

Affordability
DSL broadband Internet service is generally more affordable than cable or fiber internet.

Availability
DSL is available in all 50 states with coverage of 90% of the population.

Cons

Speed Limitations
While DSL can be a good solution for some users, its speeds usually top out at about 50 Mbps, much slower than cable or fiber.

Upload speed
Upload speeds with DSL are usually very low, making it a poor option for playing video games online.

Final Analysis

DSL broadband Internet is great for smaller households or customers on a tight budget.

DSL Internet FAQs

What does DSL stand for?

DSL is shorthand for digital subscriber line. This refers to the kind of technology that sends digital data like high-speed internet over telephone lines.

How fast is DSL?

Depending on your DSL internet provider, you may have speeds starting at less than 1 Mbps. Alternately, AT&T’s DSL/fiber hybrid can reach speeds up to 75 Mbps. But if you’re on a budget, you can save by selecting a slower DSL package. Figure out how much speed your household needs by taking our quiz.

Broadband delivered using digital subscriber lines (DSL) is very popular in the United States. Hundreds of different Internet Service Providers (ISPs)offer DSL internet with networks that reach 90% of Americans. Chances are you’ll have at least one DSL internet provider in your area.

DSL uses existing phone lines to deliver high-speed internet to homes and businesses. DSL internet is not dial-up. Although it uses the same wires and jacks as your phone system, you don’t have to dial out to use it, so it won’t tie up your phone line like dial-up. Plus, DSL runs on an entirely different frequency than a voice phone call, often making it up to ten times faster than dial-up internet.

Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like AT&T have improved DSL speeds even further. With new fiber internet technology, ISPs can use a fiber broadband “backbone” to transmit data quickly to local DSL hubs where DSL cables carry the data the last stretch. This DSL/fiber hybrid internet increases download speeds from regular DSL considerably.

Is DSL available in my area?

Because of the wide-reaching accessibility of DSL, it’s likely you have a DSL provider in your area. Search with your zip code to see which internet providers offer service near you.

Find DSL providers in your area:

Is DSL better than cable internet?

The best internet is the kind that fits your needs. If it’s important to stay within a small budget and you only have a few internet users in your home, DSL is a great option. If you have a larger household and frequently stream videos or participate in other activities that require a lot of bandwidth, cable is probably a better option.

That’s not to say that some DSL packages can’t support a high number of users, but once DSL reaches 50 Mbps or higher, it’s usually as expensive (or more) as comparable cable packages. Pay close attention to both speeds and pricing when deciding on your internet package.

Still feeling unsure if DSL or cable is the right choice for you? Check out our in-depth review of DSL versus cable to help you decide.

Is DSL the same as dial-up internet?

No. In the early days of the internet, dial-up was commonplace. (We’re all familiar with that terrible digital screeching sound the computer made as it dialed in to the internet provider.) It tied up phone lines, and you risked losing connection if someone tried to call out from your wired telephone service while you were online.

Can I get wireless internet with DSL?

Yes. DSL users connect to the internet using a modem, which converts analog signals sent over the copper-telephone cables into the digital signals your computer uses. In addition to a modem, many people also use a wireless router, which transmits data from the modem to Wi-Fi enabled devices. You can even purchase modems that have built-in wireless routers, which will eliminate extra cables and save on space.

How do I get DSL internet?

Find a package you’re interested in, and sign up with the Internet Service Provider that offers it. To find available providers and packages in your area, enter your zip code in the tool below.

How do I install DSL internet?

Most companies offer to have a technician come to your home to install your internet, but that can be costly and time restrictive. If you’d rather not wait on your Internet Service Provider’s technician to install your internet, consult our DSL installation guides below:

Top DSL Providers Summary

Product User Rating Max Speed %Coverage
#1 AT&T 4.0/5 24 Mbps 38%
#2 Centurylink 3.0/5 10 Mbps 16%
#3 Frontier Communications 3.0/5 24 Mbps 10%
#4 Megapath N/A 3 Mbps 7%
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