Who has DSL, and which company is best

Our new apartment complex won’t let us use cable for some reason, and insight is the only cable company in town. So we’ll have to use DSL. Offhand the only companies that serve our area for DSL are direcTV, verizon, SBC & Earthlink.

For DirecTV they say their download rate is 1.5Mbps, but I really doubt that. What would be a realistic download rate with verizon/DirecTV? Would it be about 150Kbps?

Is Verizon the best provider or does it depend on the city and how close you are to the switching station? How do you find where the switching stations are in your town for which providers?

I don’t know who’s best, but I’m happy with Verizon.

I’ve said this before but it bears repeating.

If your ILEC (Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier - basically you phone company) is SBC and you buy Verizon, EarthLink etc. DSL for whatever reason, guess what?

You have SBC DSL.

I have Verizon, and they’ve been pretty good. They are much better on the DSL then they are on the phone stuff. The operators are very courteous and mostly knowledgeable.

The wife and I moved to Bloomington two years ago and last year we got SBC DSL instead of Insight’s cable internet because SBC was much cheaper. I wasn’t all that thrilled with it because I ran speed tests that showed I was only getting 160 kbps when the SBC sight said I would get between 384k and 1.5m. I now have 384k but it’s a lot slower than when I had cable.

If what zoid said is true here, then it won’t make a difference who is the “carrier” (except for maybe the price) but your speed will depend on where in town you live and the quality of the phone lines in your building. I lived in Brandon Ct apartments until we moved to a townhouse last summer. We could not get DSL at Brandon Ct because it wasn’t in our area of town yet. Then we couldn’t get it because the phone lines were crap. I was glad when we moved out (not getting DSL was far from the only reason we left)

Hmm. So should we go with a different phone company than SBC then if every DSL company ends up being SBC anyway? 160kbps isn’t terrible considering that dialup is only about 5-10kbps.

I’ll live in beau terrace on the corner of 2nd & grant, and I don’t know where all the switching stations are relative to there.

I have SBC at home. On the DSL speed test (or whatever the site is), it shows my speed at 2.3Mbs. In practice, actually DL’ing stuff, I get about 325~350Kbs. I realize that location will have some bearing on your actual speed, but I went from 5kbs dial-up, so I’m happy.

I already had my local and long distance through SBC, so getting their DSL wasn’t a big deal.

One other thing, slightly off topic unless you get SBC DSL. I built a new computer to celebrate getting DSL. The build went flawless (even though I hadn’t built one since the Slot A Athlon days…), right up until I installed the DSL CD onto my hard drive. Even then, it worked great, but when I would power down and power back up, I had no icons or task bar…only the wallpaper background. I re-installed everything fresh, same thing.

So I wiped it and started over, but powered down after every installation step. Sure enough, everything worked until the DSL stuff. I noticed that 3 programs had been installed off the CD, one was “BroadJump Client” I think. I left it, uninstalled the other 2, and have had nothing but flawless service ever since.

I’m not sure how Verizon, Earthlink, etc uses SBC’s lines. From what zoid said, I assume they just buy the service from SBC and resell it to the customer. The difference may only be in price.

I’m talking about kilobits (not kilobytes) per second. If you’re only getting 5-10 kilobits per second with dial-up, there is something very wrong with your service, phone lines, and/or hardware. Depending on your modem you should be getting up to 50k.

I don’t know where the switching stations are either, but I do know they have improved (and may be continuing to improve) the service in B’ton. Like I said, I went from 160k in July '04 to 384k this year.


they cost a bit more than your vanilla SBC, but they’re very reliable, offer a wealth of handy features (static ips, hosting space) and have far superior technical support.

I’m not sure how Verizon, Earthlink, etc uses SBC’s lines. From what zoid said, I assume they just buy the service from SBC and resell it to the customer. The difference may only be in price.


BINGO, except the only difference may not be in price.

Another ISP may offer you more bells and whistles (e-mail addresses, hosting a personal page etc.)

I’m not saying another ISP is bad. Just don’t fool yourself into thinking, “I HATE SBC so I’m gonna stick it to ‘em and go with someone else!”

Perhaps, Wesley Clark, et al, you may get some good info from


Just suggesting, is all.

I’ve got Rapid Cable. They SUCK. It goes out every time it rains. Sometimes it comes back on, other times it does not. We have SBC for our phone service, but they don’t have DSL capabilities out here…and probably won’t, according to one of the phone tech guys. I’m in a little hick town that doesn’t even have a damn sewer system (It was voted down by the community at one of their town board meetings). We’ll NEVER get anything civilized out here! But, we do have a cable company, which is Rapid Cable. They provide analog and digital cable and cable internet access. Depending on the day…

I have SBC, and I’m very pleased with it. Super fast and reliable, but don’t expect their tech support to be any help.

(I use this site: http://www.dslreports.com/stest?loc=97) for testing.

Tested today:

2005-08-10 17:47:15 EST: 2335 / 413
Your download speed : 2391380 bps, or 2335 kbps.
A 291.9 KB/sec transfer rate.
Your upload speed : 423222 bps, or 413 kbps.

That’s what I was using, last time I tested. But today, when I typed in dslreports.com, I ended up at the link posted above.

Awhile ago, the local Cable repairman was at my house and the question of speed - DSL vs Cable - came up.

“Lemme show you how cable is three times faster than your DSL,” he said, waddling to my computer.

He brought up his URL (something with “toast” in it), ran a comparison, and to his embarrassment, he discovered that my SBC DSL is signficantly faster than his Charter Cable.

But I agree with other SBC customers who complain that the service is pretty bad.
The techies just aren’t qualified. On the other hand, my neighbor tried Cable and gave up on it. Every time he turned around it was down. It’s uncommon when my DSL goes down, which is hard to admit because I don’t particularly like the company.

The broadbandreports.com website is the best source for testing. I think you generally have to be no more than 17,500 feet from a central office (some providers want no more than 12,500).

I use Cavalier DSL and I think the speed and reliability are superb. (Now I have jinxed myself). My wife works for a competing CLEC and prefers Cavalier to her own company’s service as far as speed.

My SBC service isn’t bad. My activation date was 12-06-04 and I have never had an interruption in service.

I just ran mine thru the dslreports test and got nearly identical numbers to DeadlyAccurate,

So I’m happy, or blissfully ignorant. I have Direct TV, so cable wasn’t a choice.

We got SBC 2 years ago when the price hit 39.00. I am very happy with the service and the speed is real consistent. You can call them and they may be able to do a line test on your phone line. That is what I did and it turns out I am real close to a remote switch. The price just keeps going down too as now our rate is 29.95. The Connection Manager software isn’t very good so plan on getting a router to do the dialing.

In addition to the speed tests on dslreports (aka broadbandreports) they have a prequalification tool. Plug in your phone number and address, and it will give you the distance in feet between you and the CO.

Depending on carrier, 15,000 feet is the maximum distance you can be. Some quit at 13,000 feet and others will try to push something to you at 17,000 feet. If you’re at 15,000 feet, don’t expect to be able to get more than 384k.

If the prequal tool says you’re too far, don’t despair as there may be what’s called an “RT” in your area. For example, my home lists as 22,000 feet from the CO, but I’m enjoying 6meg service because there’s an RT 4000 feet away from here. Check with your prospective ISP - they’ll be able to find out if there is an RT or not.

dslreports also has ratings of ISPs that are definitely worth looking at.

Is there a way to find out how far my apartment is from the switching station/central office? I can’t find an SBC home office in Bloomington, and the only Verizon office I can find is Verizon wireless, which may not be the same thing.

I’m on dialup at 44 kbps right now.

Cost isn’t really a concern per se, $20 vs. $50 a month service isn’t a major difference for two people if there is a noticable difference in download/upload speed.

Is there a site on broadbandreports.com or anywhere where you put in your address or zip code and they tell you what speeds are in that area?

What is a CO? I put my zip/address into something and it said I was 2291 feet from a Covad CO. However we don’t have a phone just yet, I just put in my address & zip code. I don’t know if that matters an y.

Do I have to get my DSL through Covad to take advantage of the CO that is only half a mile away? Will any DSL company go through that station or just Covad? I live in a highly residental area (about 20 apartment complexes in a square mile) so I’d assume a CO is nearby.

CO = central office, I missed that the first time around.