kid try the tin-can-and-string telephone?
It's not the best system, but everybody's got the
materials. And it works…pretty well.
Digital subscriber line (DSL) will win the residential fast
access race for the same reason: Telephone wire (which is what
DSL uses) wasn't designed for high-speed data transfer, but
everybody's got it.
And it works…pretty well.
This isn't news to my readers. I've told you before why DSL
will win over cable modems Click
for more. Today I'll tell you how DSL is
gaining ground, and offer tips for staying out of DSL hell.
THE NEED FOR SPEED
You knew the thirst for fast
access was great. Did you know how soon most people will be
able to sign up for DSL?
DSL will be available to at least 70% of U.S. homes
by 2004, according to The Pelorus Group. Click
Cable modem subscribers still outnumber DSL users,
but the gap is closing fast. EMarketer reports there will be
1.84 million DSL users by year-end, compared to 2.94 million
cable modem users. Expect DSL users to outnumber cable users
by 2003. Click
You can also see the frenzy to sign
up new customers in the headlines.
- The government tells phone companies they must share
their phone lines with DSL providers. Click
- Covad offers 178,000 Ford employees DSL for $25 per
- Verizon Online cuts prices on DSL subscriptions for
existing customers and waives modem fees for new sign-ups.
- Juno Online Services Inc. now offers DSL to 39 new
markets throughout the United States. Click
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DSL
If you're lured
by the promise of DSL access, here's what you need to know
Who offers it. DSL runs over your phone line, but
your phone company, thankfully, isn't the only one to offer
the service. But don't expect them to tell you about
the others. 2Wire's Web site will tell you about ISPs that
support DSL in your area. Be sure to click on the "Total DSL
Search Results" tab, otherwise you just get 2Wire's partners.
for more. Or you can go to ZDNet's ISP
Finder to compare not just DSL providers, but all flavors
of high-speed access in your neighborhood.
When to expect it. Don't Expect DSL to be installed
quickly. If you're lucky, no one will have to visit your house
and you can install the DSL modem yourself. If you live in a
rural area, you're probably out of luck.
How much you'll pay. Some telcos offer sign-up
incentives that cut out the cost of the DSL modem, or at least
reduce the cost. Expect to pay nothing or $100 or more for the
hardware, more if you have to have someone install it for you.
After that, you're looking at $35 to $200 per month depending
on what type of line you want.
How fast it will be. Entry level DSL will be about
256kbps, but NorthPoint now offers DSL of speeds up to
1.5mbps, or about the same as a T1 line. Monitor your speed:
Some consumers aren't getting the speed they thought they
The best information comes from the experiences of others.
For tales from the trenches, go to DSL Reports or check out
the links section of xDSL.com.
And for a nuts-and-bolts primer, go to ZDNet's DSL
DSL may be the best and cheapest way to get fast access for
a lot of people. It's not flawless -- but it beats tin cans
Are you ready for the switch to DSL? Do you already have
it? Hit the TalkBack button and tell me your story, or go to
Alerts Forum where the discussion has already started. And
please take a moment to take my QuickPoll below.