Internet

Best DSL Internet Providers of 2021

Paula Novo
Paula Novo July 13, 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

EarthLink

EarthLink

  • Speeds up to 100 Mbps
  • Robust internet security
AT&T

AT&T

  • Speeds up to 100 Mbps
  • Nationwide availability
CenturyLink

CenturyLink

  • Speeds up to 100 Mbps
  • Price for Life Guarantee
Windstream

Windstream

  • Speeds up to 100 Mbps
  • Unlimited data options

How DSL Providers Stack Up

ProviderMax Download SpeedStarting PriceData Caps
EarthLink1000 Mbps$49.95/mo.No
AT&T1000 Mbps$35.00/mo.Yes
Frontier940 Mbps$44.99/mo.No
CenturyLink940 Mbps$50.00/mo.No
Windstream1000 Mbps$19.99/mo.No
Verizon940 Mbps$39.99/mo.No
ProviderEarthLink
Max Download Speed1000 Mbps
Starting Price$49.95/mo.
Data CapsNo
ProviderAT&T
Max Download Speed1000 Mbps
Starting Price$35.00/mo.
Data CapsYes
ProviderFrontier
Max Download Speed940 Mbps
Starting Price$44.99/mo.
Data CapsNo
ProviderCenturyLink
Max Download Speed940 Mbps
Starting Price$50.00/mo.
Data CapsNo
ProviderWindstream
Max Download Speed1000 Mbps
Starting Price$19.99/mo.
Data CapsNo
ProviderVerizon
Max Download Speed940 Mbps
Starting Price$39.99/mo.
Data CapsNo

*Data sourced 7/5/21. Pricing and speeds may vary by provider and location.

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.

thumb_upPros

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

thumb_downCons

  • 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?

expand_less

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?

expand_less

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?

expand_less

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?

expand_less

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?

expand_less

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.

Find Providers

Find Internet, Cable TV & Bundle Providers in your area. It's quick, easy, and completely free.

Check Availability