What is EarthLink?
You may recall EarthLink from the 1990s when it flogged dial-up connections and broke new digital ground by offering one of the first unlimited internet plans for a flat monthly fee. It’s still selling plans without data caps, but now in DSL and fiber flavors, branded Hyperlink. It’s the country’s most widely available DSL provider, so your home is likely in its coverage area.
But you might be dismayed by the prices you see. EarthLink’s prices vary wildly by region and, in some areas, are more expensive than comparable plans from competitors. It’s also tricky to figure out which speeds are available in your area and in some areas the only available speeds can be downright glacial.
Connection Types: What kind of connection can I get with EarthLink?
EarthLink sells both DSL and fiber plans.
- DSL: available to around 165 million people in 36 states, with speeds ranging between 15Mbps and 100Mbps and prices starting at $50/month.
- Fiber: available to around 25 million people, with speeds of 200Mbs and 1Gbps, with prices starting at $90/month.
Fees: How much does EarthLink internet cost?
EarthLink prices vary by region and in your area may be higher than competitors charge.
For instance, EarthLink charges some customers $50/month for a DSL package with download speeds of just 15Mbps and $60/month to upgrade to 30Mbps speeds. In comparison, Xfinity’s entry-level cable package offers speeds of 25Mbps for just $30/month and Windstream is even cheaper, with download speeds of 25Mbps available for $26/month. That said, customers in some areas reportedly pay just $25 for EarthLink’s 25Mbps plan, so it’s really the luck of the draw.
EarthLink’s DSL plans top out at 100Mbps for $80/month. Fiber packages start at $90/month, for 200Mbps downstream, or $100/month for 1Gbps. You’re required to sign up for a 12-month contract, but lock in your prices for that term.
But remember to add to your bill the $7/month EarthLink charges you to rent one of their routers. And there’s no ducking this fee: EarthLink insists you use one of their four router types.
You’ll also pay a $70 installation fee, lower than some other ISPs charge for a professional installation but without the cheaper option of installing it yourself. Occasionally, EarthLink runs promotions allowing you to waive that installation fee, so keep your ear to the ground.
What speeds can I get with EarthLink?
EarthLink offers internet plans with the following download speeds:
- 15Mbps (DSL)
- 30Mbps (DSL)
- 80Mbps (DSL)
- 100Mbps (DSL)
- 200Mbps (fiber)
- 1000Mbps/1Gbps (fiber)
Availability: Can I get EarthLink internet in my state?
EarthLink is the US’s more widely available DSL network, available to 165 million in 36 states, primarily in the eastern half of the country and California and Nevada.
Its fiber service is, as of 2020, available in 21 states, primarily in the South and Midwest, regions other fiber providers overlook.
To find out if EarthLink sells services in your state, use our interactive map. To see which specific EarthLink plans and prices are available to your address, along with those of competitors, enter your ZIP code into our comparison engine.
Extras and TV packages
EarthLink exclusively sells internet so won’t try to upsell you a TV bundle. However, if you are looking for cable TV, you can save money and simplify your telecoms bills by taking out an internet and cable TV bundle from another provider.
EarthLink’s service is fairly no-frills, offering just straightforward internet with no flashy extras. Good if you’re looking for simplicity, but disappointing if you like your internet plan with perks.
Who should get EarthLink internet?
EarthLink isn’t the cheapest internet option in many areas, but it is reliable and reasonably fast. Its fiber plans are particularly compelling for customers in “flyover states” who might not have another fiber option.
Heavy data users will be wooed by EarthLink’s longstanding commitment to not imposing data caps on its connections. And EarthLink’s live chat—still surprisingly rare among internet providers—makes its customer service more accessible than most. But customers on a budget will likely find comparable or even faster speeds for the same monthly price from competitors.
Households in some lucky regions will find very affordable plans from EarthLink but their opaque pricing model means you’ll need to run a comparison to see if those deals are available to you, or if you’re in one of the states paying through the nose for the same service.