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Best DSL Internet Providers of 2024

Phone line-based DSL internet boasts high availability and low pricing, but speeds and overall value can vary.

Article updated on January 1, 2024 at 1:44 AM PST

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Written by 
David Anders
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David Anders Senior Writer
David Anders is a senior writer for CNET covering broadband providers, smart home devices and security products. Prior to joining CNET, David built his industry expertise writing for the broadband marketplace Allconnect. In his 5 plus years covering broadband, David's work has been referenced by a variety of sources including ArcGIS, DIRECTV and more. David is from and currently resides in the Charlotte area with his wife, son and two cats.
Expertise Broadband providers, Home internet, Security Cameras
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CenturyLink - Best DSL provider for rural areas
  • Prices: $55 per month
  • Speeds: 10 - 140Mbps
  • Key Info: Unlimited data, no contracts
Or call to learn more: (866) 511-1469
AT&T - Best DSL internet availability
  • Prices: $55 per month
  • Speeds: 10 - 100Mbps
  • Key Info: 1TB monthly data allowance, no contracts
Or call to learn more: (877) 637-8125
Kinetic by Windstream - Best for fast DSL internet speeds
  • Prices: $40 - $70 per month
  • Speeds: 100 - 1,000Mbps
  • Key Info: Unlimited data, no contracts
Or call to learn more: (833) 699-5671
Frontier Communications - Best for straightforward pricing
  • Prices: $50 - $155 per month
  • Speeds: 500 - 5,000Mbps
  • Key Info: Unlimited data, no contracts, no equipment fee
Or call to learn more: (877) 628-8655

Finding the best internet provider can be challenging, especially since having an internet connection has become a necessity to live and work today. Yet much of the service available can be prohibitively expensive and subject to spotty coverage. For more affordable plans with wider coverage, you'll want DSL internet. DSL is an excellent option for rural areas, and it doesn't come with a number of the drawbacks and problems of satellite service, such as high latency and strict data caps, for instance. Its price tag is often considerably lower as well.

But if you choose DSL internet service because it's cheap and readily available, be prepared for underwhelming speeds. While some DSL providers are capable of delivering an internet speed that rivals the low end of cable and fiber-optic connections, less than half of households have access to DSL internet speeds that would actually qualify as broadband internet (25Mbps download, 3Mbps upload). And if you are hoping for high speed internet service, DSL may not be for you. Speeds aren't likely to improve much in coming years, as many providers are investing in fiber lines or other internet types like 5G or in the case of Starlink, low-orbit satellite internet.

Ultimately, the ISP internet connection quality and value of DSL comes down to your location and which internet service provider is available in your area. We've compiled a list of the best DSL providers to give you an idea of what to look for.

4 Internet providers
SORT BY
Product image
Connection
DSL
Speed range
10 - 140 Mbps
Price range
$55 per month

CenturyLink

Best DSL provider for rural areas

Our take - CenturyLink isn't available to quite as many people as AT&T, but it does have a broader coverage area. A larger coverage area but smaller customer base indicates that CenturyLink operates largely in locations with lower population densities, or rural areas.

Read full review
Or call to learn more: (866) 511-1469
Connection
DSL
Speed range
10 - 140 Mbps
Price range
$55 per month
Show more details
Product image
Connection
DSL
Speed range
10 - 100 Mbps
Price range
$55 per month

AT&T

Best DSL internet availability

Our take - Though it's true 100% DSL service is no longer offered to new customers, AT&T Internet, a "copper-based" service, is available to more people than any other DSL internet provider.

Read full review
Or call to learn more: (877) 637-8125
Connection
DSL
Speed range
10 - 100 Mbps
Price range
$55 per month
Show more details
Product image
Connection
Fiber
Speed range
100 - 1,000 Mbps
Price range
$40 - $70 per month

Kinetic by Windstream

Best for fast DSL internet speeds

Our take - Speeds of any DSL provider will vary by location -- that's just the nature of a DSL connection -- but you're likely to get the fastest DSL internet connection possible with Kinetic. Top speeds max out at around 232Mbps -- more than double the max speeds of any other provider on our list excluding CenturyLink's 120 and 140Mbps plans. 

Read full review
Or call to learn more: (833) 699-5671
Connection
Fiber
Speed range
100 - 1,000 Mbps
Price range
$40 - $70 per month
Show more details
Product image
Connection
Fiber
Speed range
500 - 5,000 Mbps
Price range
$50 - $155 per month

Frontier Communications

Best for straightforward pricing

Our take - If you're interested in DSL for the basic pricing, Frontier DSL internet service is sure to impress. At first glance, Frontier internet service plans are priced about the same as other providers, but then you realize that the equipment fees, including the modem, are included in the monthly price. On top of that, Frontier plans come with unlimited data and no contract requirements. The latter is less impressive, as all providers on our list are contract free, but the unlimited data is a nice DSL internet service standout.

Read full review
Or call to learn more: (877) 628-8655
Connection
Fiber
Speed range
500 - 5,000 Mbps
Price range
$50 - $155 per month
Show more details

Best DSL providers: Honorable mentions

These DSL providers all have sizable footprints throughout the US, but lack the speed, value or consistency of other providers to make our list of the best. They're still worth checking out if available in your area. 

EarthLink

EarthLink established a fairly large DSL network by acquiring or using networks from other providers. DSL internet plans start at $45 per month for speeds around 25Mbps, but pricing and internet connection speeds can vary widely by location.

Verizon

While Verizon Fios is the flagship of Verizon's internet service, the ISP does offer DSL service in select areas. The starting pricing for its DSL plan is high compared to other providers, and speeds any higher than 10Mbps are tough to find.

Ziply Fiber

Wave Capital recently acquired DSL and fiber-optic networks from Frontier Communications in the Pacific Northwest and transferred service to its new brand, Ziply Fiber. Though "fiber" is in the name, the provider still offers DSL service. Plans start at $40 per month, but the download speeds are "variable."

Best DSL providers recap

DSL providerBest forStarting monthly priceMax download speedsEquipment feeData capContract
AT&T
Read full review
Availability$55 100Mbps$10 1.5TBNone
CenturyLink
Read full review
Rural areas$50 140Mbps$15 1TBNone
Frontier
Read full review
Straightforward pricing$55VariesNoneNoneNone
Kinetic Fast DSL$37 232Mbps$10 NoneNone

DSL internet is a common internet option thanks to high availability and low pricing, but relatively slow speeds will almost always fall well short of cable or fiber internet plans. That said, all of the DSL providers on our list offer speeds up to 100Mbps or higher in select areas, which is plenty of speed for streaming in HD and gaming online. Most providers also come with favorable service terms, such as unlimited data or high data allowances, contract-free service and price guarantees.

Locating local internet providers

DSL internet FAQs

Is DSL better than cable internet?

In most locations, no. Cable typically offers faster speeds and lower cost per Mbps than DSL. Some high-speed DSL providers, such as Kinetic, can deliver speeds that rival low or midlevel speed tiers available from a fiber-optic or cable provider. Additionally, DSL does offer slightly better availability than cable internet, especially in rural areas. 

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Why is DSL internet slow?

DSL speeds are like the noise level at a concert. The closer you are to the stage, the louder it will be. With DSL, providers often use fiber-optic or coax cables to run service to local service hubs and from there use a telephone line to carry service to your home. These service hubs are like the stage at a concert. The closer your address is to a provider's service hub, the faster your speeds are likely to be. This is why residents of more remote, rural areas are often stuck with the slowest DSL speeds. 

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Is DSL just fancy dial-up?

Though DSL also uses your phone line for service, DSL and dial-up are two completely different internet connections. DSL uses the phone line differently than dial-up or your home telephone service, enabling an "always on" connection and simultaneous use of your home phone for making calls.

For more information about DSL internet and how it compares to other internet types and providers, view our list of the best internet providers of 2024.

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Why do we ask for your address?
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Prefer to speak with an expert live? Call (833) 888-6076 for availability in your area.
Enter your address to view what's available near you
Why do we ask for your address?
We ask for your address to help pinpoint which providers and plans are available in your area.
Prefer to speak with an expert live? Call (833) 888-6076 for availability in your area.