Best DSL Internet Providers of 2021

Paula Novo
Paula Novo October 20, 2021

What is DSL Internet?

DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line, which is a connection that uses pre-existing copper phone lines to transmit internet signals to your home. This makes it the most common type of internet in the United States. Due to its wide availability and established infrastructure, DSL internet is usually cheaper than other connections and available to more rural communities.

The most common type of residential DSL is ADSL, or asymmetrical DSL. This means your data transfer rates are faster in download speeds than upload speeds. To find out if DSL internet is right for you, see what top DSL providers have to offer below. 

Top DSL Provdiers



  • Speeds up to 100 Mbps
  • Robust internet security


  • Speeds up to 100 Mbps
  • Nationwide availability


  • Speeds up to 100 Mbps
  • Unlimited data included


  • Speeds up to 100 Mbps*
  • Unlimited data included

Speeds may vary. Service may or may not be available in your area. All pricing subject to change at any time. Additional taxes, fees, surcharges, and terms apply. CenturyLink Offer Details. As of 8/23/21.

How DSL Providers Stack Up

ProviderDownload Speeds Up ToStarting PriceData Caps
AT&T100 Mbps$45/moYes
Frontier115 Mbps$39.99/moNo
CenturyLink20 Mbps$50/mo*No
Download Speeds Up To100 Mbps
Starting Price$45/mo
Data CapsYes
Download Speeds Up To115 Mbps
Starting Price$39.99/mo
Data CapsNo
Download Speeds Up To20 Mbps
Starting Price$50/mo*
Data CapsNo

Speeds may vary. Service may or may not be available in your area. All pricing subject to change at any time. Additional taxes, fees, surcharges, and terms apply. CenturyLink Offer Details. As of 8/23/21.

Is DSL Internet Right for Me?

When choosing between different internet plans, it’s important to consider your family count, home size, and internet usage before making any decisions. DSL internet is widely available and relatively cheap. This makes it a great option for shoppers on a budget or families located in suburban or rural communities.

DSL can support light internet browsing and movie streaming on up to 1-2 connected devices at a time. However, it is known to cause dead spots, latency issues, and all-around slower speeds compared to cable and fiber when you start adding more devices or have more than 2 people living at home. To see available options near you, enter your zip code above.


  • check_circleLow cost compared to cable and fiber connections
  • check_circle3x more available than fiber


  • cancelSlower speeds than cable and fiber
  • cancelSpeed attrition causes weaker signal further you are from modem

How DSL Compares to Other Connection Types

DSL internet falls a bit short on the speed meter compared to other connections, but it makes up for it with low costs and wide availability. Because DSL relies on pre-existing phone lines, its infrastructure covers nearly 90% of the U.S. compared to fiber’s 30% availability. This makes it the only internet option for rural and suburban residents in many cases. DSL speeds typically range from 10 Mbps up to 100 Mbps. Also, ISPs prioritize download speeds over upload speeds for most internet plans.

spectrum of internet connection types and speed

DSL Internet FAQs

What does DSL stand for?


DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line and refers to a high-speed internet connection that uses pre-existing phone lines to transmit data from your internet provider to your home. This service is called DSL, though there are multiple different types of DSL connections.

ADSL, or asymmetrical DSL, is the most common DSL type and normally involves a subscriber receiving faster download speeds than upload speeds. SDSL, or symmetrical DSL, is DSL internet that offers equal download and upload speeds. And lastly, VDSL, or “very-high bit rate” DSL, is DSL internet that offers medium speeds between ADSL and SDSL.

What is the difference between DSL and cable?


DSL internet uses telephone lines to establish an internet signal to your home, while cable internet utilizes television lines to establish an internet signal. Though they use different cables to transmit data and form internet connections, DSL and cable internet are relatively even when it comes to availability in the U.S.

Is DSL the same thing as dial-up?


No. While DSL and dial-up connections both use phone lines to transmit data, they use different technology. DSL internet uses faster frequencies than dial-up, which allows you to connect to the internet without tying up your phone line.

What is the cheapest internet service I can get?


If you’re shopping for the cheapest internet service near you, DSL is a great option to consider. Thanks to its existing infrastructure and easy setup, DSL generally costs less than cable or fiber. However, speeds, price, and availability depend on your location.

Can I use my phone while my DSL internet is on?


Yes. Unlike telephone calls or dial-up service, DSL uses your phone line differently, so you have an “always on” internet connection that doesn’t interfere with your calls. You can still send or receive phone calls even with an active internet connection.

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