THE QUICK AND DIRTY: DSL, cable, and fiber-optic internet—oh my! For internet service, AT&T offers a wide range of plans with max speeds up to 1 Gbps, but the only way to know what’s available to you is to check. Unlimited plans for fiber and 1 TB data caps for DSL and cable mean even large families shouldn’t have to worry about overages (careful though; those unlikely overages could cost an extra $100 a month). If you need more than internet, you can package DIRECTV or AT&T U-verse TV together and get your equipment free, plus you’ll save on service costs.
- Max speeds up to 1 Gbps
- Killer promo pricing
- TV bundles through DIRECTV
- Data caps on most plans
- Limited fiber availability
AT&T internet prices and plans
AT&T’s pricing is usually on par with other providers, if not cheaper. But there is a big difference between AT&T’s DSL/cable plans and fiber plans. If you can get fiber, it’s a better deal, but most people will find themselves in a DSL/cable area.
AT&T fiber internet plans
|Plan||Advertised price||Speed||Data cap||Details|
|100 Mbps||$60/mo.||100 Mbps||1 TB||View Plan|
|1,000 Mbps||$80/mo.||1,000 Mbps or 1 Gbps||None||View Plan|
*Pricing and availability may change depending on location.
For fiber internet, AT&T is cheaper than the competition. 100 Mbps from AT&T costs $60 per month, whereas Verizon Fios is $69.99 per month for 100 Mbps, and Comcast XFINITY offers 75 Mbps for $59.99. Plus, if you spring for AT&T’s 1,000 Mbps plan, you get unlimited data. That way, you won’t hear a little voice saying “are you sure?” whenever you go to download a new movie or piece of software.
AT&T DSL/Cable internet plans
|Plan||Advertised price||Download speed||Details|
|Internet Basic 5||$40/mo.||5 Mbps||View Plan|
|Internet 25||$40/mo.||25 Mbps||View Plan|
|Internet 50||$40/mo.||50 Mbps||View Plan|
|Internet 75||$60/mo.||75 Mbps||View Plan|
If fiber isn’t available to you, AT&T’s cable internet plans are still decent deals, with our only hangup being data caps (we don’t like them, even if they’re big). With that in mind, chances are you can find a better deal from AT&T than their competition. However, if you’re looking for DSL, we might guide you elsewhere with our Best DSL Internet Providers piece.
AT&T bundles: internet + TV + phone
|Plan||Advertised price||Channels||Max speed||Details|
|DIRECTV SELECT |Internet 50 |Phone||$89.99/mo.||150+||50 Mbps||View Plan|
|DIRECTV XTRA |Internet 50 |Phone||$109.99/mo.||230+||50 Mbps||View Plan|
|DIRECTV ULTIMATE |Internet 50 |Phone||$114.99/mo.||245+||50 Mbps||View Plan|
|DIRECTV PREMIER |Internet 50 |Phone||$184.99/mo.||325+||75 Mbps||View Plan|
|Internet 1000 (Fiber) + U-verse TV||$120/mo.||140+||1,000 Mbps||View Plan|
*Pricing and availability may change depending on location.
AT&T U-verse TV is still growing in a few areas, but AT&T pushes DIRECTV more because it’s easier to deliver nationwide. On top of that, DIRECTV is the only provider of NFL SUNDAY TICKET, and the Genie DVR is one of the best. Plus, AT&T/DIRECTV ranked highest in TV customer satisfaction in the East and South according to JD Power.1
Your price includes unlimited data, an internet router, and a Genie DVR with three Genie Minis. You will have to pay a separate, one-time $19.95 handling and delivery fee. Companies like Comcast charge as much as $30 for shipping equipment your way, but other companies just toss it in, so AT&T isn’t the worst, nor the best. As a caution, you have to keep TV service to keep the unlimited data bonus and other bundling perks.
Be prepared to commit: bundles require contracts. You’re locked into 24 months for TV and 12 months for internet. This won’t matter to anyone who plans on staying at their home for the duration of the contract, but it’s important for renters to know.
What if you don’t want the cost or commitment of full TV service? DIRECTV NOW may be your answer. DIRECTV NOW is a streaming service that operates more like live television. It costs $35 per month, which is more than Hulu and Netflix, but you get current television, sports, and news. You can drop it if you don’t like it without fear of early termination fees.
What’s the real price of AT&T Internet?
Your advertised price will be honored for the first year. After that, it’ll revert to whatever the going rate is, which is impossible to know. At this time last year, though, we reviewed a 45 Mbps plan from AT&T for $60 a month. The competitor, Verizon Fios, also has a 50 Mbps plan for $60 at regular price, so a $20 increase after the promo seems about right.
AT&T’s hidden fees
Hidden fees suck, straight up. Every single provider has one or two along the way. You can’t avoid them, but if you take that knowledge to heart, you won’t be surprised to see the following fees come up:
- Shipping and handling fee (bundles only): $19.95
- AT&T’s activation fee: $35
- Installation fee: $99
- Early Termination Fees (ETFs):
- AT&T Internet ETFs: $15 for each month left on the contract.
- AT&T TV ETFs: $20 for each month left on the contract
- Data caps: Unlimited data costs $30, unless you bundle (then it’s free). If you don’t pay for unlimited data, each time you exceed 150 GB, you’ll add $10 to your bill up to $100 a month.
AT&T’s fees aren’t too egregious for the industry, and most are one-time only, but it’s good to come in prepared. For instance, if you bundle DIRECTV and AT&T Internet 50 and phone, you’ll pay the $20 delivery, $35 activation, and $99 installation fees. Add that to your bundle price of $89.99, and your first month’s bill is at least $245, plus taxes.
Your internet price does include your Wi-Fi gateway (router and modem combined), which other companies may charge a rental fee of $15–$20 per month for. Just remember that you don’t own this gateway; you’re leasing it and must return it if you cancel your services. If you do end your services, make sure to bring back your equipment to avoid equipment non-return fees. All other additional fees are unspecified and depend on individual circumstances, but we wouldn’t expect anything ridiculous.
In other words, you won’t know exactly what your bill is until you chat with an agent and get services installed, but hopefully you now have a much better idea of what to expect.
AT&T internet speed and data
AT&T fiber speed and data
It is possible to get the full 1 Gb from AT&T, but the fine print mentions that it’s more typical to get around 940 Mbps—luckily, the average user won’t be able to tell the difference.
Fiber speeds are nearly instantaneous. So what does that mean in real terms? A TV show takes less than 30 seconds to download on the 100 Mbps plan, and less than four seconds on the 1 Gbps plan. About to take off for a road trip and forgot to give yourself entertainment for the road? Take six minutes to download a movie on the 100 Mbps plan, or forget you were ever worrying by using the 1 Gbps to get the same two-hour movie in under 34 seconds.2
With the 1 Gbps plan, you’ll get unlimited data for free. AT&T offers unlimited data for $30 per month for the other fiber plan. Most customers won’t touch the 1 TB limit, so we wouldn’t worry about it.
To give you an idea, you can watch 350 hours of HD video, spend 2,000 hours browsing the web, and listen to 8,500 hours of songs, check 40,000 emails, and still be under the limit. Unless there’s a lot of you in the household doing a lot, this data cap should pose no problem.
AT&T DSL/cable internet speed and data
We’d say anything above 25 Mbps for an individual moderate user will be perfect for video streaming and browsing the net. If you have more than one user, take that into consideration along with each device they may have. We’re not gonna lie—faster is always better when it comes to download speeds.
According to Netflix, the average download speeds for AT&T U-verse cable and DSL services are 3.59 Mbps and 2.98 Mbps, respectively.3 These speed tiers are not the fastest, but certainly not the slowest and should serve most people just fine.
For the nerds amongst us, latency is an important facet for gaming. According to the Measuring Fixed Broadband Report, AT&T’s latency measured at 28.12 ms for DSL and 31.20 for cable.4 It’s pretty much in the middle of the pack, so if you’re looking for the best ISP for gaming, we’d say AT&T’s fiber plans are a better option. This year’s report did not include AT&T’s fiber latency.
If you’re worried about the data cap on your DSL and cable plans, it’s good to know that use of Wi-Fi at home will count toward your internet usage data plan, so every device matters. The good news is that mobile hotspots do not count toward your usage. So if you’re (somehow) approaching that limit, hit up a hotspot at McDonald’s and browse to your heart’s content while downing a few (boxes) of fries.
AT&T customer support and service
|American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI)||JD Power|
|69/100||AT&T Internet: Winner of North Central Region|
Two of the biggest national market analysis companies, the American Customer Satisfaction Index5 and JD Power 6 (yes, the people who also give out car awards), tell us that AT&T takes care of the customer better than average, but the telecom industry as a whole is notoriously low ranking.
For fiber services, AT&T Internet is only two points behind Verizon Fios in the ACSI ranking. Taken for what it’s worth, some people view that as the difference between getting a D+ and a C- in school, but we believe that for your individual experience, that difference is negligible. The ACSI noted that AT&T plans to roll out fiber-to-the-home networks to 12.5 million customers in 21 states, which would make a lot of people happy.
How easy is it to deal with AT&T customer service?
If you have a problem, contact AT&T and expect to be on hold, get transferred, and hear conflicting information. This happens with every telecom company. Our advice: Take detailed notes and make sure you know what your contract entails and understand the limitations of technology. Read FAQs and internet forums. Nothing is perfect.
That being said, if you need to get a hold of AT&T, you have every option to do so: phone, email, chat, text, in-store visits, etc.
The bottom line
Remember that AT&T’s $40 deals are good for a year and year only, so update your service when the contract expires. Other than that, you don’t have much to worry about. You’ll probably never breach the data cap, and AT&T/DIRECTV’s customer service ranks high compared to other providers.
Like we said, the 50 Mbps plan is by far the best promo deal for internet-only plans, but you may qualify for non-advertised promos. The only real way to know what you’re looking at for bills and service is to talk to an AT&T agent.
AT&T internet summary
- DSL, cable, and fiber technology
- Speeds 5 Mbps–1 Gbps
- Data caps: 1 TB for all plans except 1 Gbps
- Options for DIRECTV or AT&T U-verse TV
FAQs about AT&T internet
What is AT&T U-verse?
U-verse is the former branding of AT&T services. AT&T kept AT&T U-verse TV, but changed its internet service to AT&T Internet.
What is U-verse with GigaPower?
AT&T U-verse now brands what used to be “GigaPower” as AT&T Fiber.
What is AT&T Fiber?
AT&T Fiber is the internet provided by AT&T over a fiber-optic network as opposed to cable or DSL services. Fiber is faster and more reliable, but less widely available.
Is AT&T DSL or cable?
Yes, both. You can typically decipher which is available to you based on speed. DSL download speeds from AT&T max out at 24 Mbps, whereas cable packages start at 25 Mbps download speeds. DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line, which describes different services that are connected to the national telephone network, the Public Switched Telephone Network or PSTN. Cable describes internet service that’s sent through a coaxial cable, or the same kind of cable your TV uses.
We recommend cable if possible for a faster, stronger signal.
How much is AT&T fiber?
AT&T fiber plans start around $60 a month and go up from there. This price includes your Wi-Fi gateway.
How fast is AT&T fiber-optic internet?
AT&T fiber-optic internet starts at 70 Mbps and is commonly sold in 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps plans, as well. Select areas of North Carolina and Miami currently have a 300 Mbps option.
Is AT&T fiber-optic internet good?
AT&T is one of fastest internet providers out there, plus there are no data caps. Even the slowest fiber plan available is 50 Mbps, which is more than enough for most people. So yeah, it’s good.
Do you have a question we didn’t answer? Ask us below in the comments!
1. JD Power, “2016 US Wireline Studies”
2. ATT.com, “AT&T Fiber—Make High Speed Internet Even Faster”
3. Netflix, “The Netflix ISP Speed Index”
4. Federal Communications Commision, “Measuring Fixed Broadband Report”
5. The American Customer Satisfaction Index, “ACSI Telecommunications Report 2017”
6. JD Power, “2016 US Wireline Studies”