What is DSL?

A digital subscriber line is a broadband internet connection that uses an analog phone line to connect to the internet. Dial up internet is much slower than DSL. Even though it uses a phone line, DSL will not block calls from coming into the home. This allows the homeowner to have a constant DSL connection without worrying about missing phone calls.

How does it work?

Local phone, cable or other utility companies are the best places to find providers of DSL. The company will establish a DSL connection by running a signal to your modem from their central office using your phone line. This eliminates the need for a second cable running to your home, yet you can still use your phone while using the DSL.

DSL connections are provided using existing phone lines. This means that an analog phone line is required to receive DSL. Digital phone services will not work with DSL. Some regions of the country can receive wireless DSL which does not require phone service. Check with your provider for more information on what is required to receive DSL.

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How fast is it?

Your broadband speed is often directly affected by the proximity to the DSL company's main office, which is why DSL is usually not available rural internet. The closer you are to the source, the faster the connection you may receive. DSL speeds can range from 500 to 6000 kbps (kilobits per second). For a comparison, dial-up is reaches speeds of only 20-40 kbps. Even the slowest download speeds on DSL can work for normal web-surfing, email, and most audio and video streaming, but if you are going to be using more than one computer, play online video games, or download large files frequently, you will want to get one of the higher speed plans available.

How much does it cost?

The cost of DSL depends on many factors. The higher speeds will be more expensive while the slower speeds will cost less. Most people should expect to pay between $15 and $100 a month including equipment for DSL. The cheaper plans will often be the worse with dropped connections, slow downloads and other unsatisfactory service. The higher priced plans are worth the extra cost. Companies like to add hidden charges, equipment fees and cancellation fees so be sure to read everything carefully before committing to a plan. Also be aware that the introductory price will increase after a few months.

How to get DSL?

The first step to getting DSL is to find a local company. You can visit Rural Internet Headquarters to find a list of companies that provide broadband internet or you can search the web. When you find a company, check out their website and look at prices, speeds and contract information so you can find the right plan for you.