ByAnne Dennon Home Technology Writer

Anne has covered home security and home automation for for two years. She's interested in human-computer interaction and tech ethics.

Verizon DSL Review

If you’ve ever experienced the headache of a telecom service with poor service and poor communication, Verizon is the tonic you’ve been hoping for. Third-party rankings and customer reviews show Verizon to excel at all the customer experience elements that its competitors fall short, with top-notch resources, multiple communication channels, and clear billing. Even better: Verizon fulfills all these promises without requiring you to make any promises of your own: No contract required. You can cancel Verizon service at any time without penalty, whether you’re moving or just shopping around.

Verizon’s customer service, no-contract structure, and sky-high data limit (a generous 1.5TB that you’d have a hard time reaching) make it an attractive DSL internet provider. The company shares its one area for improvement with all of DSL — speeds could improve. Average users or a small household should have all the speeds they need, but gamers or a click-happy clan might feel constrained, especially if they are looking to download lots of music or video. If that sounds like you, look into whether fiber internet is available in your area. Verizon FiOS’ speeds leave the capabilities of DSL in the dust.


Price $35 – $50 per month
Standout features
  • No contract
  • High data limit
  • Standard bundle with phone
  • Multiple bundling packages
  • Exceptional customer service ratings
Availability 11 states
Ratings #1 in customer service according to J.D. Power
Download speeds 0.5 Mbps – 15 Mbps
Upload speeds 384 Kbps – 768 Kbps
  • Early termination fee: None
  • Equipment lease fee: Standard - $40, Enhanced - None
  • Installation fee: None

The Claim

Verizon DSL delivers consistently fast speeds and a wide variety of speed tiers.

Is it True?

A qualified yes.

While Verizon isn’t the fastest DSL internet you can find (actually offering some of the slowest speeds out of the big DSL players), its speeds have a track record both for consistency and for outpacing the advertising. Every other company overstates the speeds customers experience by 10-20%. Verizon flips the script, running at 113% of stated speeds.

Verizon DSL Internet Pros

✓ Best for one or two average internet users who don’t do a ton of downloading.
✓ Great customer service
✓ No contract required
✓ Multiple packages and speed offerings
✓ No credit check required

Verizon DSL Internet Cons

✗ Not for heavy internet users who require a ton of upload and download speed.
✗ Compulsory phone service enrollment

Excellent download rates

As far as DSL speeds go, Verizon Wireless performs well on the downloading side of the speed equation with their best plan offering up to 15 Mbps. This is considerable for DSL, and more than enough if you only go online occasionally. If you stream a lot of entertainment in your household, those big download speeds will go a long way to keeping all the screens in your house lit up.

Free modem with certain packages

Verizon gives all customers who sign up for one of its Enhanced plans a free modem with their purchase. (Enhanced plans are essentially any DSL Internet package that offers download speeds in excess of 1 Mbps.) Offers like this one are rare among internet service providers, who tend to find more opportunities for fees rather than freebies.

No credit check necessary

You do not have to go through a credit check to sign up for Verizon’s DSL service, which is actually unusual. Many companies require this of their customers prior to receiving service. While avoiding a credit check may or may not be a priority for you, it’s notable that Verizon puts one less hurdle between prospective customers and high-quality DSL service.

Possible Drawbacks

Phone service required for DSL

There is no way to sign up for Verizon’s DSL internet without also signing up for phone service. This limitation, one that most other DSL providers don’t have, also means that Verizon’s service may be a little more costly than you’d expect. However, if you’re interested in bundling Verizon’s Internet, landline phone, and TV services, or some combination of the above, you’ll benefit from having just one highly rated, customer-oriented company for all your home services.

Upload speeds needs improvement

Verizon’s download speeds are quite good for DSL internet, but its upload speeds are among the slowest in the industry. Its best plan only has a 768 Kbps limit. If you’re like most people, you’ll be downloading much more often than uploading, and this gap between speeds won’t have much of an impact on your internet experience. But if you contribute a lot of content to the internet, you’ll be twiddling your thumbs.

The Competition

AT&T Internet
11 states
39 states
38 states
21 states
Actual speeds
113% of advertised
94% of advertised
90% of advertised
108% of advertised
Contract length
1 month
2 years
1 year
Data cap
1.5 TB
300–600 GB
1 TB
J.D. Power customer satisfaction rating
Requires phone plan

Verizon vs. CenturyLink

CenturyLink covers over three times the number of states as Verizon, but there’s very little overlap in their coverage areas. While CenturyLink’s impressive 39-state jurisdiction concentrates in the Pacific Northwest, Southwest, and Midwest, Verizon clusters in New England and Mid-Atlantic states. If you happen to have your choice between the two providers, it’s essentially a choice between data, speeds, and rates. CenturyLink’s data limit is puny in comparison to Verizon’s, but its speeds are better suited for households with a lot of streaming and uploading needs. And while neither ask for a long-term commitment, CenturyLink offers to lock in a price for as long as you continue service, while Verizon’s no-contract model may leave you vulnerable to price hikes.

Verizon vs. Frontier

You would have to stage a data marathon to hit Verizon’s 1.5TB data limit. But if you’d rather have no ceiling than a really high one, Frontier offers unlimited data. Frontier’s DSL service is hamstrung by the same speed limits as Verizon, meaning you might not be able to consume much of that all-you-can-eat data. That said, Verizon and Frontier both generate speeds fast enough for most.

An average household of average users won’t have any trouble navigating multiple devices, even if two are streaming video simultaneously. Uploading is another story, and neither Frontier nor Verizon will be able to meet the demands of gamers or vloggers. Where Frontier and Verizon really diverge is on customer service. Verizon is the best in the biz; Frontier consistently gets its wrist slapped from ranking services like J.D. Power.

Verizon vs. AT&T

Only AT&T can hold a candle to Verizon’s customer service track record. In addition to high scores for communicativeness and billing clarity, it’s also making customers happy through its constantly improving speeds. Regular infrastructure improvements over the past several years means that its over 100 million customers (it’s the biggest DSL provider hands down) aren’t kept waiting on old technology.

That said, the speeds still aren’t stellar. But the handicap belongs to DSL and not AT&T per se. Its biggest plans can easily meet the speed needs of a mid-sized family. A high data allowance (a full TB) and lots of bundling options make AT&T a solid choice and a good equivalent to Verizon, but it’s not particularly worth comparing them head to head: the two coverage areas don’t overlap.

Verizon Internet FAQ

What is DSL internet?

DSL stands for digital subscriber line, it’s a type of internet technology that makes use of existing copper telephone wires. Like dial-up, it sends data back and forth between your computer and the internet by piggybacking on phone lines. But unlike old-fashioned dial-up, DSL transmits its data at a frequency separate from the one used for voice calls. It’s analogous to different wavelengths. The wavelength that brings your radio to life won’t interfere with the wavelength that microwaves your lunch. Using DSL internet won’t interfere with your landline, which is one improvement over dial-up. Another improvement is that it’s much faster.

There are several formats of DSL, but the one residential customers use is ADSL, Asymmetric DSL. It’s asymmetric because the speed of transferring data is typically a lot faster moving in one direction than the other. Upload speeds are slower across the board that download speeds: 3Mbps as compared to 24 Mbps, respectively.

What are Mbps?

It’s a long acronym for a tiny thing. Mbps, or megabits per second, refers to the speed your internet transfers megabits of data. Like it is with metric system, you have to pay attention to capitalization of acronyms to know how big of a bit you’re talking about. Mbps (little b) = Megabits per second. MBps (big B) = Megabytes per second — a megabit to the power of 8.

Is DSL and Fios the same?

No. DSL relies on the copper wires found in traditional phone lines to transmit high speed internet signal to the user. Fios utilizes fiber-optic cables and transmits signal at the speed of light (literally). DSL signal tends to weaken the greater the distance it must travel from the telephone office to the user’s computer. Fios doesn’t typically have this problem, however, it can be far more expensive and is only available in a limited number of areas.

Is DSL good for streaming?

Depending on the speed of your network, DSL might be able to handle streaming so long as this activity is limited to one user. If you have a family of avid YouTube and Netflix streamers, you might see a decline in the clarity of the video. In cases like that, you would be better served looking for a faster cable connection.

Is Verizon available where I live?

Verizon offers internet across 11 Mid Atlantic states: stretching from New York to Virginia, from Pennsylvania to the farthest peninsula of Massachusetts. Despite its relatively constrained geographic reach, Verizon is the 2nd largest residential DSL provider in the U.S. according to BroadbandNow.

Coverage Map – Verizon High Speed Internet

The Bottom Line

Verizon is the perfect DSL internet solution if you’re looking to bundle internet with phone service, have average upload speed needs, and don’t want to be tied down with a contract. Its uploading speeds are more impressive than downloading speeds across the board, but together provide enough bandwidth for the internet habits of the majority. More impressive than any of Verizon’s hard offerings is its customer experience track record. In an industry where opaque and even unfair customer treatment is all too common, Verizon makes time for communication and clarity.

You might also like