EarthLink Reviews



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EarthLink Review by

EarthLink, founded in 1994, is a household name when it comes to Internet service. They service both the residential and business markets nationwide. This review is focused mainly on the residential high speed Internet services they provide.

The Good

Internet offerings include dial up Internet, broadband Cable Internet, high-speed DSL, freestanding DSL (does not require phone service subscription), Satellite Internet and Wireless Internet on-the-go (4G, with coverage spanning 29 states currently) so there is something for everyone.

Their website makes it easy to find out which of their offerings are available at your location by simply entering your phone number and address. The results will be presented to you, allowing you to learn more about each option or to select one.

If you have a traditional telephone line or have Cable coming into your home there is a good chance that a service will be available to you. That is because EarthLink utilize infrastructure of existing Cable and Telephone providers rather than purely their own network. Even your bill may come from your local provider as a line item, making one less bill to receive and pay.

Cable download speeds of up to 15Mbps are available currently (depending on what Cable operator services your region). As with other providers, going with a Cable solution typically requires professional installation by your local Cable provider.

DSL services are available with download speeds of up to 6Mbps. The actual speeds available will depend on your location. Self-installation is available with this option. DSL services typically require you to subscribe to the local phone service also. They have a "freestanding DSL" option which does NOT require a home phone line subscription. This is only available at locations where Verizon provides local phone service.

Satellite Internet service is through HughesNet. Download speeds of up to 15Mbps are available, plus data allowances of up to 20GB per month. This option is worth considering mainly if you are unable to get Cable or DSL services at your location. A clear view of the southern sky is required to get this service.

Cable and DSL Internet plans come with 20 hours of free dial-up service to use when on the go. Dial-up service has many toll free numbers that you can dial for service.

EarthLink Protection Control Center is included with your service and provides online security against viruses, spyware, hackers etc.

A Home Networking option is available where they will help design your home network for you and provide 24/7 support. This service is provided for a fee and equipment charges may apply.

Customer support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via a toll free phone number. You can also contact them via live chat or email. A solid self help knowledgebase is available through their website, with tutorials, troubleshooting guides, set up guides and more.

The Bad

As EarthLink are not a Cable TV or telephone provider they provide their services over existing provider infrastructures in many cases. This potentially means you could be paying higher fees.

If you are using their DSL service then you need to let them know if you decide to change your local phone company or change your phone number.

Term commitment for DSL service is 12 months with special offer deals.

Early termination can incur a fee of up to $90. Cancellation must be made by phone, US mail, or fax. You must contact both the local service provider AND EarthLink when you cancel services.

Cable service has a monthly data usage limit of 250GB. Exceeding this limit consistently can lead to termination of services if proposed actions are not taken.

If you exceed the 20 hours of monthly dial-up service allocated then additional usage will be charged at $1 per hour.

The Bottom Line

  • Cable: Plans available depend on who your local Cable operator is. For Comcast serviceable areas there is a 6Mbps download speed service that starts at $29.95 per month for the first 3 months increasing to $45.95 per month afterwards. Users who have Cable serviced by Time Warner/Brighthouse networks have a few options. A 1Mbps service for $29.95/month, a 6-10Mbps service that is $29.95/month for the first 6 months and then $41.95/month afterwards, and a 10-15Mbps service starting at $39.95/month for the first 6 months increasing to $51.95/month afterwards.
  • DSL (local phone service required): Plans are available with introductory offers as low as $14.95 per month for the first 3 months. Regular monthly rates vary based on the service speed selected. A 1.5Mbps service will cost $29.95-$39.95 per month, a 3Mbps service is $34.95-$44.95 per month, and 5Mbps and higher service will be $39.95-$49.95 per month. Activation and the self installation kit (including modem) are both free. These prices do not include the fee for local phone service.
  • Freestanding DSL (local phone service NOT required): The regular rate for this service is $39.95 per month. Special offers go as low as $14.95 per month for the first 3 months for a 1.5Mbps service.
  • Satellite (Hughesnet): Plans start at $49.99 per month for 5Mbps download speeds, 1Mbps upload speeds and 10GB data allowance per month. Other packages are available with increased speeds and monthly data allowances, with monthly rates increasing up to $129.99 per month for their highest package. Free installation is included.
  • Additional Options: A Home Networking service is available for $7.95 per month (higher if you are not an Internet customer).

Overall Thoughts

EarthLink provide a one stop shop for Internet services nationwide. It is likely that at least one of their offerings will be available to your location. However, as they utilize existing provider infrastructures in many cases it may well be that you can get higher speeds at lower prices from your local provider directly. We would recommend at least doing the comparison before making a decision.

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