Should I Choose AT&T or Suddenlink as my High-Speed Internet Service Provider?

Side-by-Side Comparison

AT&T cancellation page

Type of Service

DSL hybrid, Fiber

Type of Service

Cable

Download Speeds

6 Mbps–75 Mbps (DSL), 100 Mbps–1000 Mbps (Fiber)

Download Speeds

50 Mbps–200 Mbps, 1000 Mbps

Price

$30–$80 per month

Price

$40–$99 per month

Equipment Fees

Included

Equipment Fees

$8/month

Installation Fee

Up to $99

Installation Fee

$30

Data Caps

Yes (1TB), No data cap for AT&T Fiber

Data Caps

Yes (250 GB–550 GB)

Customer Satisfaction

DSL: 3.48/5; Fiber: 3.71/5

Customer Satisfaction

3.66/5

AT&T cancellation page

Type of Service

DSL hybrid, Fiber

Download Speeds

6 Mbps–75 Mbps (DSL), 100 Mbps–1000 Mbps (Fiber)

Price

$30–$80 per month

Equipment Fees

Included

Installation Fee

Up to $99

Data Caps

Yes (1TB), No data cap for AT&T Fiber

Customer Satisfaction

DSL: 3.48/5; Fiber: 3.71/5

Type of Service

Cable

Download Speeds

50 Mbps–200 Mbps, 1000 Mbps

Price

$40–$99 per month

Equipment Fees

$8/month

Installation Fee

$30

Data Caps

Yes (250 GB–550 GB)

Customer Satisfaction

3.66/5

Data effective 05/05/2017. Pricing and speeds are subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas.

The Verdict

If fiber-optics are available in your area, choose AT&T for fast, reliable service.

AT&T has two primary internet services: AT&T Internet and AT&T Fiber. Because AT&T Fiber can download a ninety-minute HD movie in mere seconds, it’s by far the preferred service for consumers. If you are an internet junkie or have a lot of people in your household using the internet simultaneously, AT&T Fiber will be especially appealing. However, it’s only available in select metro areas. AT&T’s DSL/fiber hybrid service, AT&T Internet, is available in most areas, but it doesn’t quite measure up to lightning-fast fiber. AT&T Internet is a less expensive choice, but data caps and slow internet speeds may be a headache to deal with.

Choose Suddenlink for a balanced, no-contract option with a reasonable price tag.

While fiber is fast, it comes with a hefty price tag. For people who’d like a more moderate option, Suddenlink is worth considering. It’s a solid choice for smaller households or people drawn to the flexibility of no-contract internet. Suddenlink’s equipment fees are comparable to AT&T’s, or less expensive if you invest in your own modem. Just watch out for Suddenlink’s data caps. The overage charges aren’t unreasonable, but nobody wants extra fees.

Find and compare AT&T and Suddenlink plans and pricing in your area:

What You Should Consider When Choosing an Internet Provider

DSL vs. Cable vs. Fiber

Comparing internet speeds between AT&T and Suddenlink is a lot like comparing apples to oranges to bananas: it’s hard to do. AT&T offers DSL/fiber hybrids in some areas and fiber in others, while Suddenlink offers cable. While each method will still get you to the World Wide Web, the experiences can be completely different.

DSL relies on standard phone lines, connecting modems to phone outlets to provide service. This helps maintain steady speeds despite weather or high-usage times, although those speeds are generally slower. But AT&T boosts these speeds with a hybrid system that connects a fiber backbone with local DSL nodes. Fiber relies on fiber-optic cables that use light to transmit data more than a hundred times faster than DSL. AT&T Fiber takes things a step further than AT&T Internet with fiber lines that connect all the way to your home.

In contrast, with Suddenlink you’ll plug your modem into a coaxial cable socket. Cable internet isn’t as glamourous as fiber, but it’s reliable and can reach much higher speeds than DSL internet. Even low cable speeds are handy for two to three people using multiple devices, though you might want to purchase one of the higher plans if you loathe buffering and have more than three people using the internet at the same time.

Coverage Area

Seven states share coverage between AT&T and Suddenlink. To find out what packages are available to you, enter your zip code into the handy tool below.

AT&T

AT&T spans twenty-two states across the Western, Midwestern, and Southern United States. AT&T’s top state is Illinois, where it serves almost three-quarters of the market.

AT&T Availability Map

Top 5 States:

  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • California
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas

Suddenlink

Suddenlink provides service to sixteen states in the Western, Midwestern, and Southern United States. It’s most widely available in West Virginia, where it covers over 16% of the state.

Suddenlink Availability Map

Top 5 States:

  • West Virginia
  • Arkansas
  • Texas
  • Oklahoma
  • Louisiana

Customer Satisfaction Ratings

Customer satisfaction ratings come from the 2016 HighSpeedInternet.com annual survey. We poll thousands of high-speed internet customers about their ISPs and then tally the results to determine an overall rating and scores specific to elements like technical support, speed, and reliability.

AT&T

Overall Customer Rating

DSL: (3.5 / 5)

Fiber: (3.7 / 5)

Suddenlink

Overall Customer Rating

(3.7 / 5)

AT&T

Advantages

  • Faster speeds with fiber
  • Wide availability with DSL
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Less expensive modem rental fee
  • Extra sports programming with DIRECTV

Disadvantages

  • Slower speeds with DSL
  • DSL data cap at 1 TB
  • Limited availability with fiber
  • High installation fees

Suddenlink

Advantages

  • Moderate speeds with cable
  • 24/7 customer support
  • No contract
  • Unlimited data for higher-tier plans
  • Reasonable fees for data overages

Disadvantages

  • Data caps at 250 GB–350 GB
  • Highest speeds not available in all areas
  • Slow upload speeds

Installation & Setup

AT&T

DSL: (3.8 / 5)
Fiber: (3.9 / 5)

AT&T’s installation fee might make you wonder how it could possibly score so high in this area, but self-installation is common these days, and it’s a lot easier to handle than forking out all that cash.

Installation Fee: Up to $99

Self-installation available

Suddenlink

(3.8 / 5)

Suddenlink has a handy self-installation kit for DIYers. If you don’t feel tech savvy enough to attempt a self-installation, have Suddenlink’s professionals do it for a nominal fee. However, Suddenlink also has an activation fee for around $20 that you’ll need to brace yourself for.

Installation Fee: $30

Self-installation available

Internet Speed

AT&T

DSL: (3.5 / 5)
Fiber: (3.9 / 5)

AT&T sped onto our list of “The Fastest Internet Providers 2017.” Fiber speeds are incredible, and far more than most of us need (which doesn’t mean we’d say no to them). However, if you only have AT&T’s DSL available in your area, you may have to wait for webpages to load and streaming videos to buffer.

Speed: 6 Mbps–75 Mbps (DSL), 100–1000 Mbps (Fiber)

Suddenlink

(3.8 / 5)

Though Suddenlink is a relatively small company, it’s growing in rural areas that once had access only to DSL or satellite internet. Cable is generally much faster than both DSL and satellite, and new customers seem to appreciate that.

Speed: 50 Mbps–200 Mbps, 1 GB

Reliability

AT&T

DSL: (3.6 / 5)
Fiber: (3.9 / 5)

DSL doesn’t slow down during times of high usage like cable does. But slow and steady doesn’t win the internet race, so count yourself lucky if you can access AT&T fiber internet, which has both speed and reliability on its side.

Type of Service: DSL, Fiber

Suddenlink

(3.8 / 5)

While cable internet can become sluggish during peak hours, its minimum speed is still higher than most DSL internet. Suddenlink also has a reliability guarantee that promises to make up for outages that last longer than twenty-four hours by providing a $20 credit to the affected user, which never hurts customer satisfaction.

Type of Service: Cable

Monthly Bill (Pricing)

AT&T

DSL: (3.1 / 5)
Fiber: (3.2 / 5)

Although AT&T offers competitive pricing and an included modem rental, contracts and data caps may have soured customers’ satisfaction with monthly bills.

Price: $30–$90 per month

Suddenlink

(3.3 / 5)

No-contract internet is something to get excited about, and Suddenlink provides it at no extra charge. While most of Suddenlink’s less expensive packages come with data caps to the tune of 250 GB–350 GB, the fee is only $10 per every 50 GB over. That’s not too expensive of a slap on the wrist for breaking the rules.

Price: $40–$99 per month

Technical Support and Customer Service

AT&T

DSL: (3.5 / 5)
Fiber: (3.7 / 5)

AT&T has 24/7 support for both its DSL and fiber internet users, so the discrepancy between AT&T’s two scores is strange. AT&T’s online support even has far more articles to answer DSL questions. Perhaps the scores can be traced back to DSL’s slow speeds and unreliability, which customers may be annoyed tech support can’t do much to correct.

Suddenlink

(3.6 / 5)

Suddenlink also provides 24/7 support, and it backs it up with its  “We Promise” customer guarantee. Aligning its service with multiple money-back opportunities, Suddenlink is doing well for itself in the customer service department. Its online help options aren’t too shabby either.

Equipment

SUDDENLINK

ARRIS SURFboard SB6183 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem

Rental fee: $10 per month

Suddenlink offers the ARRIS SURFboard model to rent, but it also provides a helpful list of compatible modems you can buy instead. The ARRIS SURFboard is a reliable favorite you can purchase at an affordable price.

If you’re a DIYer, learn how to self-install Suddenlink internet.

TV Service

AT&T provides AT&T U-verse in select areas and DIRECTV nationwide.

AT&T U-verse

Satisfaction Rating:

(3.5 / 5)
  • $50–$125 per month
  • 550 channels/200 HD
  • 1-year contract
  • AT&T Total Home DVR

DIRECTV

Satisfaction Rating:

(3.6 / 5)
  • $50–$125 per month
  • 325 channels/200 HD
  • 2-year contract
  • Genie (HR-44)

Suddenlink Television

 

  • $47–$82 per month
  • 400+ channels/100 HD
  • No contract
  • TiVo® Any-Room DVR
  • Limited packages
  • Expensive expansions

About the Providers

AT&T

AT&T is a multi-national telecommunications company, the largest such company in the world by revenue. Headquartered in Texas, AT&T also tops the charts in the United States as the second-largest provider of mobile telephone services and the largest of fixed telephone service. In 2015, AT&T purchased DIRECTV to provide TV in rural areas that are better suited to satellite service. AT&T delivers TV, internet, and phone service utilizing DSL and, in select regions, fiber networks.

Find out more about AT&T

 

Suddenlink

Suddenlink Communications is a cable broadband service provider based in Missouri. Currently, Suddenlink is integrating into Altice USA (formally Cablevision), the fifth-largest cable provider in the United States. Suddenlink has approximately 1.5 million subscribers and provides TV, internet, digital phone, and security services.

Find out more about Suddenlink Communications

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