AT&T vs. EarthLink: Which Internet Provider Is Best for You?

Sorting through two providers with tons of options

Best fiber options

Customer rating: 3.8

Price: $55.00–$180.00/mo.*

Speed: 25–5,000 Mbps

Internet type: Fiber, DSL, Fixed wireless

Data cap: None (for most plans)

350 GB (fixed wireless)

1 TB (75 Mbps plan)

Contract: None

Best customer service

Customer rating: 4.2

Price: $49.95–$99.95/mo.**

Speed: 3–1,000 Mbps

Internet type: Fiber, DSL, Fixed wireless

Data cap: None (fiber and DSL)

25–100GB (fixed wireless)

Contract: 1 year

 

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Compare AT&T and EarthLink head to head

AT&T and EarthLink are both internet providers that reach a huge amount of the population. AT&T’s plans have lower costs than comparable plans from EarthLink, and its high-end plans reach much faster speeds. EarthLink’s biggest strength is customer service, which is the provider’s main focus.

Pros and cons: AT&T vs. EarthLink

Pros:

  • Fast speeds
  • No contracts
  • Lots of fiber options

Cons:

  • Limited availability

Pros:

  • Great customer support
  • Very wide coverage area

Cons:

  • 1-year contracts
  • Higher monthly cost
  • Limited fiber availability

Want to know if AT&T or EarthLink are in your area? Take a look by typing in your zip code below.

Plans and pricing: AT&T vs. EarthLink

Both EarthLink and AT&T have large coverage areas and lots of options, many of which depend on your location. Both offer fiber and fixed wireless connections in some areas, but most of their networks are DSL.

AT&T plans and pricing

PackagePriceSpeedDetails
AT&T Internet up to 100 Mbps$55.00/mo.*100 Mbps
AT&T Fixed Wireless$69.99/mo.Up to 25 Mbps
AT&T Internet 300$35.00/mo.*300 Mbps
AT&T 1G Internet$80.00/mo.*1,000 Mbps
AT&T 2G Internet$110.00/mo.2,000 Mbps
AT&T 5G Internet$180.00/mo.*5,000 Mbps

AT&T offers a variety of packages, many of which use fiber-optic connections. That includes a 5,000 Mbps plan—currently the fastest speed available in the ongoing arms race between fiber providers.

Although 5 Gbps is pretty cool, it’s pretty hard to make use of that much bandwidth, even if you invite your entire neighborhood to bring their laptops and watch different 4K movies all at the same time. You probably get just as much use out of AT&T’s 1G Internet plan, which is reasonably priced compared to other gigabit plans.

Unfortunately, not every location in AT&T’s network has fiber-to-the-home. There are DSL and fixed wireless plans reaching out into more rural areas, which offer faster and cheaper internet than options like satellite.

EarthLink plans and pricing

PackagePriceSpeedDetails
EarthLink 3–15 Mbps Internet$49.95/mo.*3–15 MbpsView Plan
EarthLink 18-30 Mbps Internet$59.95/mo.*18–30 MbpsView Plan
EarthLink 45-80 Mbps Internet$69.95/mo.*45–80 MbpsView Plan
EarthLink 100 Mbps Internet$79.95/mo.*100 MbpsView Plan
EarthLink 200 Mbps Internet$89.95/mo.*200 MbpsView Plan
EarthLink 1 Gig Mbps Internet$99.95/mo.*1,000 MbpsView Plan
EarthLink LTE Home 25 GB$54.95/mo.Up to 100 MbpsView Plan
EarthLink LTE Home 50GB$64.95/mo.Up to 100 MbpsView Plan
EarthLink LTE Home 75 GB$79.95/mo.Up to 100 MbpsView Plan
EarthLink LTE Home 100 GB$99.95/mo.Up to 100 MbpsView Plan

EarthLink offers service in all 50 states. It is able to do this by renting space on other service providers’ networks. Using all these different networks means that connection speeds and reliability vary by location. Fortunately, EarthLink’s focus on customer service makes it easy to get outages and other issues resolved quickly.

EarthLink fiber plans offer the provider’s best value for speed and reliability. Fiber is slightly more expensive than the DSL options, but it offers up to 20 times the speed. EarthLink also stands out from other fiber providers with its lower fiber-optic speeds than most ISPs, which is great if you want fiber reliability without paying.

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Deals and promotions: AT&T vs. EarthLink

Get AT&T Internet 300, which gives you 300 Mbps speeds for just $55 per month. Enter your zip code to see if the deal is available in your area.
EarthLink
Get a flat rate with EarthLink with no extra charges for installation, equipment, or data.

Get the Deal

Compare the AT&T and EarthLink plans in your area by typing your zip code below.

Extra fees: AT&T vs. EarthLink

Equipment FeeInstallation FeeOther Fees
AT&T
  • $10.00/mo.
  • $99.00 professional installation
  • $5.00 late payment fee
EarthLink
  • $9.95/mo. to rent

  • $74.95 to purchase
  • $79.95 professional installation
  • Up to $200.00 early termination fees

Both AT&T and EarthLink have pretty reasonable fees. The only ones that really stand out are installation fees, which are a bit high, especially for AT&T. Since EarthLink plans require one-year contracts, they also come with early termination fees if you cancel before the end of your agreement, which can get expensive.

Customer ratings: AT&T vs. EarthLink

Overall RatingReliability RatingCustomer Service RatingSpeed RatingPrice Rating
AT&T3.8/53.7/53.7/53.8/53.5/5
EarthLink4.2/54.0/54.0/54.1/53.9/5

EarthLink is the top ranked provider in every category of our annual customer satisfaction survey. Although customers in this survey did report some issues with their service, such as unexpected price hikes and outages, EarthLink customers are still very satisfied with what they have. EarthLink focuses heavily on its customer service, so it makes sense that it would be able to deal with these issues, even if they arise more often than with other providers.

AT&T is ranked second overall in our survey, right behind EarthLink. It performed especially well in the speed and reliability categories. AT&T has focused on expanding the availability of its fiber plans to give its customers faster and more reliable connections.

Internet types: AT&T vs. EarthLink

Internet typeDetails
AT&TFiber, DSL, Fixed wireless
EarthLinkFiber, DSL, Fixed wirelessVIew Plans

Both AT&T and EarthLink use multiple technologies to deliver internet to customers across their network footprints. DSL is the most widely available, and though it’s slow, it often has the lowest prices. Fiber plans are the fastest and most reliable, and they usually offer the best value for the monthly cost.

Fixed wireless plans reach into areas that don’t have the infrastructure for wired connections, but they have severe limitations, especially with monthly data caps. We suggest choosing a wireless plan only if it’s the sole option available in your area (other than satellite).

Data caps: AT&T vs. EarthLink

Data CapDetails
AT&T
  • 350 GB (fixed wireless)

  • 1 TB (75 Mbps plan)

  • None (all other plans)
EarthLink
  • None (fiber and DSL)

  • 25–100 GB (fixed wireless)
View Plans

Most plans for AT&T and EarthLink have unlimited data, so you never have to worry about hitting a cap before the end of the month. We’re big fans of unlimited data, so this is a big plus for both providers.

The major exceptions are the fixed wireless plans, which all have relatively low data allowances. AT&T offers the most data with 350 GB, while EarthLink offers several different plans with 25 GB to 100 GB of data. We recommend avoiding plans with low data caps like those with just 25 GB of data. For reference, you can burn through 25 GB by streaming one movie in 4K, so stretching that data out for a month’s worth of internet use is pretty tough.

Contracts: AT&T vs. EarthLink

Contract lengthDetails
AT&TNone
EarthLink1 year

(no contract for fixed wireless)
View Plans

AT&T is the clear winner here, as it doesn’t tie you down with a long-term contract. Contracts are a sore spot for many customers, so it’s nice that most providers are starting to do away with them.

EarthLink requires a 12-month contract for all its fiber and DSL plans. Its wireless plans, however, are contract free. That’s not a good enough reason to choose a wireless plan over DSL or fiber unless you already know for a fact that you’re going to be switching providers or moving within the next year.

Installation: AT&T vs. EarthLink

Installation optionsDetails
AT&T
  • $99.00 professional installation
EarthLink
  • $79.95 professional installation
View Plans

Both AT&T and EarthLink offer professional installation, though EarthLink’s fee is slightly cheaper. Both are on the high end for professional installation costs, especially now that several providers offer free installation for at least some of their plans.

Availability: AT&T vs. EarthLink

AT&T has one of the largest networks in the US, but EarthLink manages to cover even more people. It does this by renting out infrastructure from other providers, including AT&T. EarthLink is present in all 50 states, so regardless of where you live, there’s a good chance you can get EarthLink internet.

To see if AT&T or EarthLink is in your area, enter your zip code below.

Final call: AT&T vs. EarthLink

Our first choice is AT&T’s fiber, if you have access to it. The fiber-optic plans are faster and cheaper than those offered by EarthLink, which makes it an easy decision.

With so many plans from each provider, it’s hard to compare every possible combination, but if you’re looking to avoid hassle with your internet service, EarthLink’s top-notch customer service could be the tiebreaker you’re looking for.

View EarthLink Plans

Methodology

Our HighSpeedInternet.com editorial team bases our analyses on customer input from our annual customer satisfaction survey, results from our speed test tool, and proprietary internet provider data on speeds and pricing. To strengthen our research, we look closely at provider contracts to get hard-to-find information on price hikes, data caps, and extra fees, and we keep tabs on the latest news reports and online reviews. When applicable, we also rely on our personal experiences testing these services.

Author -

Peter Christiansen writes about satellite internet, rural connectivity, livestreaming, and parental controls for HighSpeedInternet.com. Peter holds a PhD in communication from the University of Utah and has been working in tech for over 15 years as a computer programmer, game developer, filmmaker, and writer. His writing has been praised by outlets like Wired, Digital Humanities Now, and the New Statesman.

Editor - Rebecca Lee Armstrong

Rebecca Lee Armstrong has more than six years of experience writing about tech and the internet, with a specialty in hands-on testing. She started writing tech product and service reviews while finishing her BFA in creative writing at the University of Evansville and has found her niche writing about home networking, routers, and internet access at HighSpeedInternet.com. Her work has also been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ, and iMore.