AT&T DSL provides basic Internet access from 768 Kbps to 6 Mbps download speeds at competitive prices, with the first 12 months' costs heavily discounted. Only subscribers to the fastest plans get Internet security software as part of the deal; all others must pay monthly for it. AT&T receives good overall customer satisfaction ratings for its lineup of Internet services.
Good range of plans. AT&T DSL offers several service plans. DSL Basic is among the least expensive broadband services available, but its 768 Kbps downstream speed isn't the fastest. Higher-speed plans top out at 6 Mbps (*Est. $46 per month). As with all DSL plans, however, the fastest speed you can subscribe to may be limited by your distance from the nearest telephone company central office. All plans offer substantial reductions in first-year costs for new subscribers. Those without AT&T phone service may pay $5 more per month.
Free parental controls. AT&T DSL service plans include free parental controls and free pop-up-catcher software. However, the Internet security suite is available only to DSL subscribers with a plan of 3 Mbps or more; everyone else must pay $5 per month.
Just average. AT&T generally fares well in surveys and customer reviews, but subscribers in the Southeast seem slightly happier despite paying a couple of dollars more for the company's higher-speed plans. AT&T wins in the Eastern U.S. for Internet customer satisfaction as reported in J.D. Power and Associates' extensive 2012 survey.
ConsumerReports.org ranks ISPs on their value, reliability, connection speed and customer support. No dial-up services are included, only high-speed ISPs. The results are available only to ConsumerReports.org subscribers.
Review: Internet Service Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, May 2011
2. J.D. Power and Associates
J.D. Power asked subscribers to rate their ISPs on six criteria: overall satisfaction, customer service, cost of service, performance and reliability, billing, and offerings and promotions. AT&T gets above-average ratings in the North Central and South regions, but average or below-average scores elsewhere. (J.D. Power reports results by geographical region: East, North Central, South and West.) The ratings don't separate fiber-optic and DSL service.
Review: High Speed Internet Service Provider Ratings, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, Oct. 28, 2010
Depending on the geographic region, AT&T wins a Silver or Bronze Star award here. Ratings are based on feedback provided in user-written reviews of the service, with an average six-month rating of 73%. Quite a few are recent posts. Links are provided to user reviews, some of which are highly detailed, and include follow-up postings and comments. User forums for various ISPs, including AT&T's DSL service in various parts of the country, are also available.
Review: All Reviews of AT&T Yahoo, Contributors to BroadbandReports.com, As of Oct. 2011
PCMag.com reports on customer satisfaction with ISPs based on its annual survey. AT&T ranks fourth overall among DSL services, with a very slightly below-average score.
Review: Readers' Choice Awards 2011: Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Network Routers, Ben Gottesman, June 22, 2011