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Comprehensive review of Earthlink's DSL and recently upgraded Fiber Internet Services
While EarthLink has traditionally been known for its DSL internet service, the company has come a long way since its early days in the mid-90s. EarthLink expanded its network and services substantially in 2020, with high-speed fiber internet service now available to customers in 21 states.
EarthLink’s recently upgraded HyperLink internet service offers speeds of up to 1000 Mbps (1 Gig). Plans start at just $49.95/month, and although a 12-month contract is typically required, there are no data caps. You can browse, stream, and game to your heart’s content without needing to worry about speed throttling or overage charges.
EarthLink’s speeds and prices vary by location, and not all plans are available in all areas. Like most internet providers, the company doesn’t explicitly outline all available options on its website. It lists the starting price of $49.95/month that we mentioned earlier, but that’s about it.
We did some additional research and based on our findings it seems like this starting price covers speeds of 15 Mbps in most areas. If you’re looking for faster speeds, EarthLink’s 1000 Mbps fiber internet plan is only $99.95/month as of August 2019.
This may not sound cheap, but compared to similar plans from other providers, EarthLink’s 1000 Mbps plan is on the lower end, price-wise—and it comes with the added benefit of no data caps.
EarthLink launched in 1994 in Pasadena, CA. Heralded as one of the pioneers of dial-up internet service, EarthLink was one of the first U.S. providers to offer homes unlimited internet access for a flat rate. The company started offering business internet services in 1995.
Throughout the late 90s and early 2000s, EarthLink was consistently recognized for its excellent service and high customer satisfaction by notable publications such as PC World, PC Magazine, CNet, and J.D. Power and Associates.
Today, EarthLink serves over 1 million customers in the U.S. Although the company isn’t the behemoth it once was, it is banking on the future. With its recent network expansion and investment in fiber-optic technology, EarthLink is poised to compete with the biggest players in the market.
Fiber may be the future of the internet, but the higher prices can keep people stuck to their regular broadband. Since fiber infrastructure is still fairly expensive to implement, the cost of fiber internet service tends to be much higher than cable or DSL.
HyperLink, on the other hand, is actually affordable—relative to its competitors at least.
Plans start at $49.95/month and come with unlimited data, meaning they are 100% free of any data caps or extra fees for using over a certain amount. This explains why EarthLink’s new slogan is “Unlimit your options”.
HyperLink fiber internet service also offers free dial-up, if that’s your thing. Most people don’t use dial-up anymore, but it’s still useful if you’re away from home and don’t have enough data available with your wireless plan.
EarthLink internet service requires professional installation for a one-time fee of $69.95. Occasionally, there are promotions offered to waive the Installation fee, so take advantage of this opportunity if it is available.
EarthLink requires a 12-month contract for most of its plans, with a early termination fee (ETF) of up to $200 for breaking the contract. Unfortunately, this is standard practice, as most national internet service providers require contracts ranging anywhere from 12-36 months.
When it comes to HyperLink internet service, the only equipment you need is EarthLink’s required modem, which costs $6.95/month. EarthLink does specify in their offer details that you cannot use your own modem and must use the one they provide during the professional installation. Keep this in mind when calculating your estimated monthly bill.
EarthLink advertises their HyperLink internet service as being available in 21 states. While this may sound low, fiber internet is still a long way off from being as widespread as DSL, so 21 states is actually pretty good. Plus, EarthLink is planning to expand its network and increase its coverage more over time.
EarthLink is also known for having decent coverage in rural areas, so it’s likely that you’ll have some variant of their service available to you even if you can’t get HyperLink.
Customer service tends to be a unanimous issue among major internet service providers. EarthLink’s customer reviews aren’t phenomenal, but the bulk of them seem to reference outages and connection issues that the company used to suffer from in its pre-fiber days. These issues are unlikely to continue now that they have significantly expanded their network.
EarthLink offers a live chat support option, and that is a huge plus in our book. You’d be shocked by the amount of companies that don’t offer that option, even though it’s 2020 and many users prefer live chat to email (slow) or talking on the phone (inconvenient).
EarthLink’s website also has a FAQ page that is actually quite helpful, if not a bit outdated in its appearance. Plus, the MyEarthLink mobile app lets you pay your bill and access your email from anywhere.
EarthLink is a solid choice for affordable high-speed internet with no data caps. They might not be the first provider that comes to mind when you think of internet service, but we think this will start to change.
The company’s recent network expansion and investment in fiber-optic technology should help customers feel confident choosing EarthLink for their internet service.