Best DSL Internet Service Providers 2022

DSL internet is catching up to cable speeds, and we've got the scoop on which DSL providers are best

Editor's Choice
Centurylink
CenturyLink Internet
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starting from
$30.00
/mo
Download speeds
100940 Mbps
Data cap
Unlimited
Best Bundles
ATT
AT&T Internet
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.25
Starting from
$55.00
/mo
Download speeds
75100 Mbps
Data cap
1 TBUnlimited
Best Rural Option
Kinetic by Windstream
Windstream Internet
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Starting from
$39.99
/mo
Download speeds
501000 Mbps
Data cap
Unlimited
Catherine McNally
Editorial Lead, Internet & Gaming
Read More
December 06, 2021
7 min read

We are committed to sharing unbiased reviews. Some of the links on our site are from our partners who compensate us. Read our disclosure policies to learn more.

If you can’t get your hands on fiber and cable high-speed internet in your area, DSL internet might be an option instead.

Though DSL is slower than cable or fiber internet, it may offer okay speeds at a price that’s lower than satellite internet prices. And that’s why DSL is still one of our top choices for anyone who needs rural internet.

Plus, a lot of DSL internet service providers (ISPs) are updating those old DSL lines with fiber. This gives your internet speed a boost, but if you live in a truly rural area, you likely won’t see fiber infrastructure just yet.

Let’s dig into some of the larger DSL internet providers out there to see if one of them is a fit for you.



Find and compare DSL internet plans in your area.
An awards badge for the Reviews.org Editor's Choice award 2021

CenturyLink: Editor’s Choice

CenturyLink promises no price hikes, no contracts, and no data caps

CenturyLink is one of our favorite internet service providers (ISPs) because it promises to never bump your monthly bill up, cap your data, or make you sign a contract. We can all breathe a sigh of relief now.

CenturyLink DSL internet option
Plan
Price
Download speed
Data cap
Details
Simply Unlimited Internet 100 Mbps$50.00/mo.*Up to 100 MbpsUnlimited
Data effective 08/15/22. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Speed may not be available in your area. Paperless billing or prepay required. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. Get the fastest internet speed available at your location (max speed is up to 100 Mbps).
Pros
  • CenturLink doesn't have any surprise price hikes
  • No contracts
  • No data caps
Cons
  • This internet provider has some customer service issues
  • The DSL speeds are as slow as 15 Mbps

What we like about CenturyLink

No surprise price hikes

Depending on where you live, CenturyLink internet speeds may not be anything to write home about. Your download speed can land anywhere from 15 to 100 Mbps or somewhere in between, making it difficult to gauge the true value at first glance. But we will say that, no matter what your download speed is, CenturyLink brings something to the table with its unlimited data and lack of contracts.

Plus, the ISP promises to not jack your price up. That’s a unique perk—most internet providers offer a low price for about a year, then your bill goes up.

Do I get Wi-Fi with a DSL internet connection?
Megaphone

You do! But you’ll need to pick up a wireless router. Your DSL modem connects to the router and you’ve got Wi-Fi, friend. Your wireless devices can connect to your internet access.

No contracts

Now that both CenturyLink and Frontier are both in on this no-contract thing, hopefully other internet service providers will feel the peer pressure. So whichever DSL high-speed plan you choose, you are free to opt out whenever you like without incurring an early termination fee.

So yeah, you get unlimited data, you don’t have to worry about price hikes, and you can leave whenever you want. That sense of security is a rare find with an internet plan.

What we don’t like about CenturyLink

Almost everybody we talked to before writing our CenturyLink review had something negative to say about its customer service. One user was even ghosted by CenturyLink despite setting an appointment. The internet specialist just never showed up! Talk about poor customer satisfaction.

Nobody wants to go days without an internet connection, and shaky customer service can certainly make that possible.

View Plans | Read Full CenturyLink Internet Review

Frontier: Best budget option

Low prices make Frontier’s low-speed plans good for budgeters

Frontier offers only two DSL plans, so the variety isn’t the best part. The real game changers are that you won’t need to sign a contract to grab Frontier DSL internet service and you get unlimited data. Nice.

If only other internet service providers followed suit.

Frontier DSL internet prices and plans
Plan
Price
Download speed
Data cap
Details
Frontier Internet$49.99/mo.N/A MbpsUnlimited
Data effective 11/17/22. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
w/ Auto Pay & Paperless Bill per month for 24 mos. One-time charge on disconnect applies.
Pros
  • No contract necessary with Frontier
  • Unlimited data
Cons
  • This internet provider potentially has super-slow speeds
  • It's not available countrywide
What can I do with 6 Mbps of internet speed?
Info Box

Technically, you can stream Netflix, listen to music on Spotify, watch videos on YouTube, and online shop.

Just make sure you don’t have more than one or two devices (or people) accessing the internet at a time.

What we like about Frontier

No contract necessary

When you sign up for an internet service provider, you usually have to commit the next two years of your life as well. It’s like an awkward relationship where maybe you want to break up, but neither of you knows how, so you just keep dating forever. (Just us? Cool, cool.)

Anyway, Frontier doesn’t require an intense commitment from you. You can sign up for any internet download speed that works for you and then cancel if fiber or cable internet finally roll into town.

Unlimited data

We can't imagine you tearing through any kind of data cap with 6 Mbps download speeds. But not having to worry about overages is a nice relief either way.

What we don’t like about Frontier

It’s a bummer you can’t get Frontier everywhere. (Don’t you hate it when you read that something is easy on your wallet but you can’t get it in your area?)

Hopefully, this isn’t one of those moments. Frontier is available in 29 different states—so enter your zip code below and let’s see how lucky you are.

View Plans | Read Full Frontier Internet Review

Search for Frontier DSL internet plans near you.

AT&T Internet: Best bundles

AT&T’s DSL internet bundles with DIRECTV or DIRECTV STREAM

Bundles can be fun if you're looking for some channels to surf through while you work from home online.

We're big fans of DIRECTV. As it turns out AT&T Internet is one of the best ways to get this satellite TV provider beamed into your home thanks to bundles.

DIRECTV + AT&T Internet bundles overview
Name
Price
Download speed
Data cap
Max number of channels
Details
DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT + AT&T Internet$119.99/mo.100 MbpsUnlimited165+
DIRECTV CHOICE + AT&T Internet$124.99/mo.^100 MbpsUnlimited200+
DIRECTV ULTIMATE + AT&T Internet$144.99/mo.°100 MbpsUnlimited270+
DIRECTV PREMIER + AT&T Internet$194.99/mo.**100 MbpsUnlimited340+
Data effective 10/31/22. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Internet price for 12 mos, plus taxes. Price after $5/mo Autopay & Paperless bill discount (w/in 2 bills) TV price w/ 24 mo. agmt. 2nd year price currently $102/mo. + tax & fees. Price subj. to change.
^ Internet price for 12 mos, plus taxes. Price after $5/mo Autopay & Paperless bill discount (w/in 2 bills) TV price w/ 24 mo. agmt. 2nd year price currently $124/mo. + tax & fees. Price subj. to change. Regional Sports Fee up to $11.99/mo. is extra & applies
° Internet price for 12 mos, plus taxes. Price after $5/mo Autopay & Paperless bill discount (w/in 2 bills) TV price w/ 24 mo. agmt. 2nd year price currently $154/mo. + tax & fees. Price subj. to change. Regional Sports Fee up to $11.99/mo. is extra & applies.
** Internet price for 12 mos, plus taxes. Price after $5/mo Autopay & Paperless bill discount (w/in 2 bills) TV price w/ 24 mo. agmt. 2nd year price currently $209/mo. + tax & fees. Price subj. to change. Regional Sports Fee up to $11.99/mo. is extra & applies.
Pros
  • DIRECTV bundles offer tons of channels
  • DSL speeds go up to 100 Mbps
Cons
  • DSL speeds could get as slow as 10 Mbps

What we like about AT&T

DIRECTV bundles

DIRECTV is one of the best ways to watch all the things. Sports fans especially will love its massive channel line-up, which is why we named this satellite TV provider our favorite network for sports.

Speaking of sports, DIRECTV is one of the few ways you'll get your mitts on NFL SUNDAY TICKET.

Speeds go up to 100 Mbps

AT&T automatically hooks you up with the fastest of internet speed available in your area, up to 100 Mbps. And you’ll pay the same price regardless of the size of your Mbps connection—whether it’s 10, 25, 50, 75, or 100 Mbps.

Of course, we don’t recommend internet speeds less than 50 Mbps if you can avoid them. And 100 Mbps is optimal for most families to stay connected even while everyone streams, games, and works from home.

What we don’t like about AT&T

We mentioned it before, but if you’re stuck with painfully slow AT&T DSL speeds, like 10 or 25 Mbps, it’s time to see if there are other internet options available to you.

That’s because these internet speeds are far too slow to keep up with modern-day online activities like Zoom calls, Netflix, and gaming.

If you find yourself in this tough spot, try looking for a local internet provider that might offer a better deal or take a peek at our picks for the best rural internet for more ideas.

View Plans | Read Full AT&T Internet Review

Windstream: Best rural option

Looking for internet in Small Town, USA? Chances are Windstream is there

Lazily driving along backroads in the country is one of our favorite pastimes, and you can imagine how shocked we were to see a big Windstream sign on a brick building as we slow-rolled through rural Georgia. But that’s one of the perks with Windstream: it serves the small towns other ISPs have forgotten.

And not long ago, Windstream’s choices were a bit lackluster. But this ISP has since stepped up its game, offering speeds up to 500 Mbps—or up to 1,000 Mbps, if you’re lucky enough to live in an area with fiber.

Windstream internet options
Plan
Price
Internet download speed
Data cap
Details
Kinetic Internet by Windstream 50$39.99/mo.††50 MbpsUnlimited
Kinetic Internet by Windstream 200$39.99/mo.††Up to 200 MbpsUnlimited
Kinetic Internet by Windstream 400$39.99/mo.‡‡Up to 400 MbpsUnlimited
Kinetic Internet by Windstream 1 Gig$69.99/mo.††1000 MbpsUnlimited
Data effective 08/15/22. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
†† Limited-time, non-transferable offer for residential customers that may not be combined with other promotions. Credit restrictions may apply. Subject to availability.
‡‡ For the first 3 months. After 3 months, the promotional Kinetic Internet, standard speed upgrade, and modem rates apply. Limited-time, non-transferable offer for residential customers that may not be combined with other promotions. Credit restrictions may apply. Subject to availability.
Pros
  • Windstream internet has no data caps
  • No contracts
  • It's actively expanding in rural areas
Cons
  • Prices vary a lot by location with this DSL provider

What we like about Windstream

No contracts and unlimited data

Windstream also offers no-contract options and an unlimited data cap. Most internet service providers only give you 1 terabyte (TB) of data, and it’s nice knowing you won’t get any passive-aggressive emails sent at 2 a.m. warning you that you’ve almost reached your data cap.

Low prices for the speeds you get

Windstream’s prices are low—limbo low. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a provider that comes close, especially when you’re talking triple digit speeds.

Your price goes up after the first year
Money

As you can tell from the table above, Windstream’s pricing can feel a little misleading. (Sadly, most ISPs are the same story.) After the first year of your contract, expect the price to double. Make sure to ask about the price increase before signing up.

What we don’t like about Windstream

It’s hard to get a peg on Windstream’s pricing because it changes—a lot—based on where you live. Your best bet is to check your zip code or address to find prices in your area. Simple, yes, but it’s another step you have to take just to get an idea whether Windstream fits in your budget or not.

View Plans | View Full Windstream Internet Review

Find the best Windstream internet prices in your area.

Recap: What’s the best DSL internet provider?

When it comes to DSL internet, we recommend CenturyLink, Frontier, AT&T Internet, and Windstream. Here’s a quick look at why these four ISPs earned our vote:

  • CenturyLink: Editor’s Choice. Who could say no to CenturyLink’s promises of no price hikes, unlimited data, and no contracts? We sure couldn’t.
  • Frontier: Best budget option. With a variety of (slower) speeds, no contracts, no data cap, and low prices, Frontier’s DSL internet is an excellent choice for those who prefer to save money.
  • AT&T Internet: Best bundles. If you love to binge-watch, you can’t beat AT&T Internet’s DIRECTV or DIRECTV STREAM bundles.
  • Windstream: Best rural option. Windstream makes its home in rural towns where time moves more slowly. Plus, it comes with no contracts, no data caps, and some pretty rad speeds and prices.

Not sure DSL is right for you? Check out our reviews of cable and fiber internet:

What about you—where did you decide to get your DSL internet access? What’s your experience been like? Let us know in the comments below!

Find the best deals on internet in your area.

What is DSL internet service?

You might assume that digital subscriber line (DSL) is just a fancy term for dial-up, but while both technologies use your phone line to connect you to the internet, that’s pretty much the only thing they have in common.

While good ol’ dial-up means you can’t take phone calls while surfing the web, DSL lets you do both. (Thank goodness, right?)

DSL is also a lot faster than dial-up—and you won’t need to wait for all those beeps and trills before you click on Netscape, err, your internet browser. (Thinking about dial-up has us stuck in the late 1990s.)

But why might you pick DSL over cable internet? Well, DSL is usually cheaper and more widely available than cable, since pretty much every part of the US has phone service. Of course, there are always exceptions to this, but if you’re digging life in the wilderness, you can always check out our picks for satellite internet.

Methodology

We selected these four DSL internet providers as the best after looking at the following criteria:

  • Prices
  • Availability
  • Speed scores
  • Customer service scores
  • Connection type

After comparing all five of these aspects, we found the four we personally recommend if you live in a rural area. 

FAQs

Is DSL better than WiFi?

DSL is much faster than WiFi, especially if you live in a rural area.  But keep in mind, DSL is slower than most fiber optic and fixed wireless internet services

How good is DSL internet?

If you don't need high-speed internet or don't have too many internet users in the household, you'll be fine with DSL internet. 

DSL internet is more reliable than dial-up and faster than WiFi, but we recommend getting a plan that gives you at least 25 Mbps download speeds if you live with one or two other people.

Catherine McNally
Written by
Catherine McNally
Catherine has a degree in journalism and an MBA, and has spent the last 10+ years writing everything from Okinawa travel guides to stories on Medium. She’s been online since AOL CDs were a thing and is an unapologetic PC gamer. She believes the internet is a necessity, not a luxury, and writes reviews and guides to help everyone stay connected. You can also find her on Twitter: @CMReviewsIt.

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