DSL Internet Services, or (Digital Subscriber Line Internet Services) are usually available in metropolitan areas. These Internet access companies are generally the local phone service providers since phone lines are used to provide this type of high speed service. Although DSL uses phone lines, it does not interfere with regular phone service. You can browse at high speeds while still talking on the phone.
DSL services typically provide downloads ranging from 3 Mbps to 24 Mbps (Megabytes per second) or at least 60 times faster than a 56K dial-up service. Uploads are generally about twenty percent of the maximum download speed as service providers purposely throttle back uploads to prevent customers from running high load servers or file sharing on their lines. This type of high speed service is technically called Asynchronous (ADSL), and is the most common type of service offered. With DSL you must "logon" each time you use it, but no dial-up is required. Newer DSL equipment will keep users logged-on all the time and it essentially operates as an "always on" service. Many larger centers are now serviced by high speed Fiber Optic networks and DSL plans offering speeds of up to 150 Mbps are now available.
DSL Internet Services can be installed using existing lines, but the provider's technician will often install a new line for the service since many houses have older phone line wiring that is incompatible with newer broadband technologies. Your provider's DSL "Modem" connects to your your computer using an Ethernet or USB cable. Most newer computers can accommodate these types of connections, but if yours cannot the technician can usually supply and install an ethernet card into your computer.
If your new high speed internet service uses existing phone lines, the technician may install a small electronic filter on the lines connecting to your regular phones in order to prevent interference between your high speed internet and your regular phone. With newer DSL services and upgraded technologies this is no longer common. More often, the technician will install a new line and networking jack in your home.
Generally $25.00 to $55.00 per month depending on the maximum speed offered. High performance fiber optic internet plans may cost $25-$300 per month or more. "Lite" services can also be found in the $15.00- $20.00 range. They are slower, but fast enough for many, if not most, consumers. Some Internet access companies will ask you to buy the equipment (a high speed "modem" and ethernet card, if necessary). Some will ask you to rent it. Some will simply give it to you (returned to them if you cancel). Some providers offer to buy back the equipment if you cancel - some do not. Confused yet? Be sure to ask the provider when you call or read the fine print when applying online.
Most companies offer discounts on high speed internet service when the customer is subscribed to a bundle of services including digital television and phone services.
Performance is dependent on your physical distance from the high speed internet provider. If your home is on the edge of the the serviceable area, performance may be poor or reduced. Be sure to fully test your service before the service provider's technician leaves. Many companies now offer DSL equipment with integrated wireless or wired home networking eliminating the need for a seperate router or other networking equipment.
Be sure to evaluate all options before choosing a High Speed Internet Service Provider.