DSL ISPs Cable Companies Dialup Internet Service Providers
The high-speed competition
Cost Monthly charges vary widely. Most recently, U.S. West announced that it would charge $40 per month for 256K, $65 per month for 512K, and and less than $150 for 1000K service. Other services are oriented towards businesses (which will use more bandwidth) and cost $150 or more per month. Check to see if there are excess bandwidth charges.
Speed For typical ADSL, 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps), (1,500K) for downloading, 64K for uploading. Future versions of ADSL promise even higher rates. As with cable modems, bear in mind that your ISP won't be able to deliver the full potential bandwidth (see the section on cable modems for details).
Availability Like ISDN, ADSL is subject to length limits. For the fastest speeds with the least expensive equipment, the limit is 12000 cable feet from the phone company switch. The maximum distance is 18000 cable feet. Also like ISDN, ADSL uses existing two-wire twisted copper lines. While ISDN works well over those lines with little conditioning, ADSL is much more demanding, and some neighborhoods may have to be rewired.
Check the DSL ISPs page to see if DSL is available in your area.
ADSL Internet access has been extremely difficult to come by. BellAtlantic has trials in Virginia, but rollout has been slow. U.S. West's recent announcement may help.
ISDN, another telephone company creation, tells a cautionary tale for ADSL. ISDN has been around since the 1980s, but is just now taking hold. The phone companies themselves are largely to blame for pricing ISDN out of reach. ADSL may be deployed too slowly, and at too high a price, to reach critical mass.
DSL is an excellent technology for anyone needing high bandwidth. For the near future, DSL's high price is likely to restrict it to businesses and well-heeled enthusiasts.
Dan Kegel's ADSL Homepage
High Bandwidth Web Page -ADSL
Inter@ctive Week - US West Pulls Service, Angers ISPs
News.com - ADSL arrives in Canada
Packet: ADSL: All Delays Solved Later
PCWEEK: Study: DLS is a farfetched 'dream'
PCWorld - AmeriTech Plans High-Speed ADSL Rollout by End
Techweb - Special Report: ADSL's Copper Pipe Dream
Tele.com - Hurry Up & Wait
xDSL News - TeleChoice Inc.