From the sparsely populated countryside to the bustling urban centers, AT&T and EarthLink are powering American households with gigabit and multigigabit internet connectivity. With maximum internet speeds up to 5 Gbps, both internet carriers are a member of the prestigious 5000 Club and can get you online for as low as $55 per month. Often referred to as the ‘sister ISPs’, EarthLink and AT&T are similar in many ways. But in today’s comparison blog we will take a closer look at their differences and settle this debate on EarthLink vs AT&T- which one is better, once and for all.
So, let’s spiral into the vortex of multi-gig connectivity to declare the winner of the AT&T vs. EarthLink squabble.
EarthLink and AT&T Internet are on the list of the nation’s top 10 internet service providers. Both can deliver up to 5000 Mbps of equal upload and download speeds for a starting price of around $55 per month. On the surface level, it may seem that EarthLink and AT&T Internet are similar and offer the same kind of broadband experience to their customers. But a deep dive into their internet plans, pricing, and perks will tell you that one internet provider is significantly better than the other.
EarthLink and AT&T’s coverage overlaps in 21 states of the USA, so there is a high chance that you will have both internet carriers available in your area. In such a case, our side-by-side comparison table below will help you to quickly determine EarthLink vs AT&T- which one is better for your home?
|Type of Internet||DSL, cable, fiber & fixed wireless||IPBB, DSL, fiber, & fixed wireless|
|Speed Range||100 Mbps to 5000 Mbps||25 Mbps to 5000 Mbps|
|Price Range||$54.95 to $189.95/mo.||$55.00 to $180.00/mo.|
|No. of Plans||9||7|
|Coverage Area||48 states||21 states|
|Promo Pricing||Not available||Not available|
|Customer Service||4.0 out of 5 stars||3.7 out of 5 stars|
EarthLink is America’s second-largest internet provider in terms of coverage area. Through several partnerships and acquisitions, today, EarthLink is successfully offering broadband services to 78 percent of the households in the contiguous USA.
The foundation of EarthLink Internet was laid in 1994, when Sky Dayton, a 23-year-old tech whiz spent a week trying to connect his computer to a dial-up internet service. He realized the need to offer residential and business customers user-friendly dial-up internet, and with his investors, Reed Slatkin and Kevin M. O’Donnell formed EarthLink in Pasadena, California. Just a year later, EarthLink Internet’s dial-up broadband service was in use in 98 cities, and by the mid-2000s, EarthLink had added DSL, cable, and satellite internet services to its portfolio. Apart from the internet, EarthLink was also offering web hosting and VoIP phone services to its nationwide customers.
At the moment, EarthLink is using the networks of prominent internet service providers in the USA to offer up to 5000 Mbps of symmetrical internet speeds for a starting price of $54.95 per month. EarthLink customers can choose between DSL, cable, satellite, fiber-optic, and fixed wireless internet services to get the best broadband speeds at home.
Operating from its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, EarthLink has become the benchmark for world-class customer service. Its 5 million customers are actively enjoying the affordability and reliability that comes with the service.
The American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) is the oldest telecommunications company in the United States. Being the co-inventor of fiber-optic internet technology, AT&T is recognized as the nation’s best and fastest internet service provider. AT&T’s broadband coverage area includes 21 states in the southeast and midwest regions.
The story of AT&T Inc. started in 1875 with the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell. Formerly known as the Bell Telephone Company, AT&T established a network of telephone lines, and for almost a hundred years, it held a monopoly over the country’s phone services. After the advent of internet technology, the same telephone cables were used to deliver dial-up and DSL internet connections to individual homes.
Today, AT&T’s long list of products and services includes DSL, IPBB, and fiber-optic internet. Apart from high-speed broadband, AT&T also offers home telephone, mobile phone, satellite TV, TV streaming, home security, and cybersecurity services.
AT&T Fiber internet customers can enjoy up to 5000 Mbps of symmetrical speeds for a starting price of $55 per month. AT&T has installed more than 1.3 million route miles of fiber-optic cables around the world. In the USA alone, AT&T Fiber internet services are accessible in over 18.5 million customer locations. According to AT&T’s CEO, John Stankey, 6.3 million Americans are subscribed to AT&T Fiber, and nearly 7.6 million customers are using its DSL and IBPP internet services. With a market share of almost 45 percent, AT&T is the most-subscribed internet service provider in the USA.
EarthLink and AT&T offer a diverse and customized broadband experience to their customers. They have taken into account the limited availability of fiber-optic internet within the country, which currently stands at 43 percent. To bridge this connectivity gap, they offer wired and wireless internet services to their rural, suburban, and urban customers at the lowest possible rates.
EarthLink uses the existing internet infrastructure of other internet providers like AT&T, Frontier, CenturyLink, T-Mobile, and Viasat to distribute the best available speeds to its customers. So, even though it claims to offer services very similar to those offered by the owners of wired and unwired internet networks, the ground reality may be different because of data prioritization.
First up, we will compare EarthLink and AT&T’s fiber-optic internet plans.
EarthLink Fiber mostly uses Frontier Communications and AT&T’s fiber-optic internet cables to transmit up to 5000 Mbps of equal internet speeds to its subscribers. There are four tiers of speed that you can choose from. Every plan comes with unlimited data, full-home WiFi connectivity, and 12 months of price guarantees. You will be required to sign an annual contract, but on the plus side, you get free installation and $100 worth of credit on your Mastercard© gift card.
EarthLink Fiber Plans
|Plans||Price||Speed||No. of Devices|
|Best Value||$54.95/month||100 Mbps||Connect up to 5|
|Most Popular||$69.95/mo.||300 Mbps||Connect up to 12|
|Fast||$89.95/mo.||1000 Mbps||Connect up to 15|
|Fastest||$189.95/mo.||5000 Mbps||Connect unlimited|
In contrast, AT&T Fiber internet plans are available in five-speed tiers, and you do not have to sign an annual contract to enjoy ultra-fast symmetrical speeds and exciting perks. AT&T Fiber internet plans include unlimited monthly data, full-house WiFi coverage, and price guarantees. As AT&T and EarthLink do not offer introductory/ promo rates on their internet plans, you can rest assured that the price will remain the same in the second and third years of service (unless changed due to inflationary pressures). New subscribers of AT&T Fiber get a free self-installation kit and up to $150 in credit on their Visa Reward Card.
Next up, we will compare EarthLink and AT&T’s fixed wireless home internet service for rural and remote areas in the USA.
EarthLink’s wireless home internet service is EarthLink Fiber Internet Plans
in most rural areas across its 48-state footprint. EarthLink uses the LTE towers of local and prominent fixed wireless internet providers, like T-Mobile, Rise Broadband, and Starry Internet, to deliver 4G and 5G home internet service to its customers. EarthLink fixed wireless internet plans include data caps, and you can get up to 100 Mbps of download speeds for a starting price of $69.95 per month. You do not have to worry about early termination, installation, and equipment fees because EarthLink 5G Home Internet promises no-contract service and zero-extra costs for an enhanced wireless experience.
EarthLink Fixed Wireless Plans
|Casual Surfer||$69.95/mo.||Up to 100 Mbps||100 GB|
|Social Butterfly||$89.95/mo.||Up to 100 Mbps||150 GB|
|Digital Nomad||$119.95/mo.||Up to 100 Mbps||200 GB|
|Web Wizard||$169.95/mo.||Up to 100 Mbps||300 GB|
AT&T is bridging the digital divide in the rural areas of America through its fixed wireless home internet service. At the moment, AT&T’s fixed wireless internet service is available in the following 18 states:
|States with AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet|
For a fixed price of $59.99 per month, subscribers of AT&T fixed wireless internet plan get up to 25 Mbps of download speed and upload speed of up to 1 Mbps. The plan includes a data cap of 350 GB per month, and in the case of data overage, you will have to pay $10 for every 50 GB of excess data. All the equipment costs, such as the monthly rental of the WiFi gateway router, are included in the price. AT&T fixed wireless internet service for eligible rural households is perfect for basic connectivity.
In fiber-deprived areas across its coverage map, AT&T uses a hybrid fiber-optic and copper cable system, known as internet protocol broadband (IPBB), to deliver up to 500 Mbps of asymmetrical speeds to its customers. All the plans on its IPBB network have a fixed price of $65 per month for the first 12 months of service. In the second year, the price increases by $10, and subscribers must pay $75 per month. AT&T IPBB customers get a $10 discount per month if they opt for the AutoPay and paperless billing method. The IPBB internet service includes a data cap of 1 TB per month, and in the case of exceeding the data limit within the same monthly cycle, you will be charged an additional $10 for every 50 GB of extra data.
AT&T IPBB Plans
|Plan||Price||Download Speed||Upload Speed|
|Internet 25||$55.00/mo.||25 Mbps||5 Mbps|
|Internet 50||$55.00/mo.||50 Mbps||10 Mbps|
|Internet 75||$55.00/mo.||75 Mbps||20 Mbps|
|Internet 100||$55.00/mo.||100 Mbps||20 Mbps|
|Internet 500||$55.00/mo.||500 Mbps||100 Mbps|
EarthLink uses either AT&T’s or Frontier Communications’ fiber-optic cable network to offer high-speed internet service to most households within its service areas. AT&T Fiber and Frontier Fiber can offer up to 5000 Mbps (5 Gigs) of internet speeds on their 100 percent fiber-rich networks. Therefore, EarthLink too conforms to these claims. But subscribers of EarthLink Internet must be aware that during peak hours and network traffic congestions, AT&T and Frontier will prioritize their customers and restrict bandwidths for EarthLink customers. So, because of data prioritization, EarthLink customers are most likely to experience reduced speeds during the daytime.
Even in the case of DSL internet services, EarthLink internet customers are more likely to experience speed throttling because of data prioritization. EarthLink mostly relies on CenturyLink’s vast, nationwide DSL internet network to deliver up to 100 Mbps of download speeds to its subscribers. In contrast, AT&T DSL internet customers get consistent speeds with 99.9 percent network uptime.
EarthLink and AT&T’s fiber-optic internet service offer unlimited data on all the plans. However, data caps are on fixed wireless, satellite internet, and IPBB services. Data caps can be a nuisance, especially if the carrier follows a policy of offering hard data caps. In this case, you will be required to pay data overage charges for using excess data in a single billing cycle. AT&T charges its customers $10 for every 50 GB of extra data. If you exceed the data limit on your EarthLink fixed wireless internet plan, you will have to purchase additional data in 5 GB blocks. Every 5 GB of additional data costs $6.95, so in the long run, EarthLink can turn out to be a very expensive option for the internet.
Summary of Data Caps on EarthLink & AT&T Internet Services
|Internet Provider||Type of Internet Service||Data Cap|
|EarthLink||Fixed Wireless||300 GB/mo.|
|AT&T||Fixed Wireless||350 GB/mo.|
AT&T is a no-contract internet service provider. It doesn’t matter which type of internet connection you choose to install in your home, you will not be asked to pay an early termination fee because AT&T does not bind you to an annual agreement. You can cancel your AT&T Fiber, DSL, IPBB, or fixed wireless internet service any time you like and walk away without a hefty fine. AT&T Internet’s no-contract clause allows you to move on to the next big broadband carrier, unchained and unbothered.
But this is not the case with EarthLink Internet. Whether you opt for EarthLink Fiber, DSL, satellite, or cable internet service, you will be required to sign an annual contract to get the 12-month price lock guarantee. Only its fixed wireless home internet service is contract-free. EarthLink charges its customers an exorbitant early termination fee of $200 for canceling the service mid-term. You must also return the equipment within 30 days of service cancellation to avoid an additional equipment non-return fee of up to $150.
You will need different equipment for different types of internet services, and therefore, the monthly fee for your equipment rental will vary from service to service. Generally, EarthLink charges its customers up to $14.95 per month for leasing an advanced modem-router gateway. In comparison, AT&T charges its customers $10 per month for renting a compatible modem and WiFi gateway. Both AT&T and EarthLink also give their customers the option to purchase the equipment at an upfront cost of around $250. With this one-time investment, they can save a good amount of money in the long run and avoid the hassle of returning the equipment to the internet provider upon service cancellation.
The professional installation of EarthLink DSL, cable, and fiber internet costs $79.95. An authorized technician is sent to your house with the necessary equipment, and within 2 hours, your internet connection is set up and activated for use. The installation fee for Earthlink satellite internet is ambiguous. EarthLink uses Viasat’s fleet of satellites to offer extraterrestrial broadband to its customers. In some areas, Viasat waives the installation fee for its customers, but at other locations, new subscribers are required to pay a professional installation fee of $99 per visit. So, it is best to call the service provider and check whether or not you are eligible for a free installation. All those who enroll for EarthLink’s fixed wireless home internet service get a free self-installation kit.
The expert installation of your AT&T Fiber, DSL, IPBB, and fixed wireless internet will cost $99. For AT&T Fiber customers, another option is also available. All AT&T Fiber internet subscribers are eligible to receive a free self-installation kit at their addresses. The kit contains a compatible modem-router gateway, Ethernet cables, a power cord, and an instruction manual to get you going.
With AT&T and EarthLink Internet, freebies are bound to find their way to you. EarthLink and AT&T Internet plans include giveaways like free cyber/ device security and gift cards that can be used to purchase more products and services.
All the plans of AT&T Fiber internet include free and complete access to the ActiveArmor security suite. The antivirus software is installed on 3 devices of your choice to give you full and round-the-clock protection against malware, hacks, data breaches, and more. Similarly, EarthLink Internet plans include free 30-day access to EarthLink Security and EarthLink Guardian for complete cybersecurity and parental control.
All first-time customers of EarthLink Fiber are now eligible to receive a free $100 Mastercard© gift card. They can use this card to shop for products and services of their choice at any store where Mastercard© gift cards are accepted. AT&T Fiber internet customers can also get up to $250 in credit on their VISA reward card when they apply for the service using the promo code EXTRA100. New customers of AT&T Fiber are given up to $150 in credit on their VISA reward card upon enrollment. They can use the reward cards to purchase products and services at AT&T online and physical stores.
There is a marked difference when it comes down to EarthLink vs AT&T’s coverage area throughout the country. EarthLink’s internet service is available throughout the contiguous USA. Whereas, AT&T’s broadband network is limited to 21 states within the southeastern and mid-western regions. These are the 21 states where AT&T Internet coverage is available:
|States With AT&T Internet Coverage|
|States With EarthLink Internet Coverage|
|Arkansas||Kentucky||New Hampshire||South Dakota|
So, if you are a frequent mover but hate to compromise on the best internet service, then you will love the nationwide availability of EarthLink Internet. No matter where you go, EarthLink Internet will follow.
Even AT&T, the nation’s first and most-loved internet service provider cannot beat the customer service excellence of EarthLink Internet. Over the years, EarthLink has become the proud recipient of more than 20 accolades, making it an award-winning internet service provider that values its customers’ needs. In 2019, EarthLink was recognized as the Most Affordable Internet Provider by Broadband Now. In 2020, EarthLink was declared the No.1 Internet Service Provider for Customer Satisfaction by HighSpeedInternet.com. In 2021, EarthLink took the top spot on the American Customer Satisfaction Index, and in 2022, EarthLink won the CNET award for the Best Rural Internet Service in the Country. EarthLink also has an A+ rating for its customer service on the Better Business Bureau website. According to Forbes Home magazine, EarthLink’s customer satisfaction rating is 4 out of 5 stars.
In contrast, AT&T has bagged the title of Best Customer Satisfaction for Residential Internet Service in the South and North Central Regions for four consecutive years. The J.D. Power survey results indicate that customers have recognized AT&T’s customer-centric approach to business and are happy with the service and on-call tech support that they receive during times of crisis. However, Forbes Home Magazine has given AT&T Internet 3.7 out of 5 stars for its customer service, and the telecom is not registered with Better Business Bureau.
The global eSports market is a multi-billion dollar industry. It is projected to reach an annual revenue growth of $5.48 billion by 2029. Professional gamers in the USA can earn between $12,000 and $60,000 per year by playing the most popular online games, like DOTA, Counter-Strike, League of Legends, Fortnite, Call of Duty, etc. The competitive online gaming industry relies on superfast internet connections. Gamers go online to participate in multiplayer games and live stream their gameplay to followers on mediums, like Twitch, YouTube, and Vimeo. There are three things that pro gamers pay particular attention to when choosing the best internet provider for online gaming.
Latency or Ping: Measured in milliseconds, latency or ping is the amount of time it takes for data signals to leave the device, reach the server at the data center of the ISP, and come to the customer. A latency of 40 milliseconds or less is considered ideal for online gaming.
Upload Speed: In professional gaming, upload speed is more important than download speed during live streams. A superfast upload speed of 500 Mbps or more will mean that you can go live with your gameplay on YouTube or Twitch, and your viewers will get to see your gaming expertise in real-time, without any lags or glitches.
Data Caps: Professional gamers need unlimited data on their internet plans. On average, online games consume 300 MB of data per hour because of high-resolution graphics and constant action. So, if you are subscribed to an internet plan with a data cap, most likely, you will exceed your monthly data limit and will be required to pay data overage charges.
EarthLink and AT&T offer an average latency of 25 milliseconds and unlimited data on their fiber-optic internet plans. But in regards to superfast upload speed, AT&T fares better. As we mentioned earlier, EarthLink mostly relies on the AT&T Fiber network to deliver fiber internet to its customers, but during peak hours, AT&T uses data prioritization to increase bandwidths for its customers and restrict bandwidths for EarthLink customers. As a result, EarthLink Fiber customers experience slower internet speeds, whereas the upload and download speeds for AT&T Fiber subscribers remain consistent. So, if you are a pro gamer and live-streaming is a vital source of your income, then ditch EarthLink and pick AT&T.
AT&T and EarthLink are both among the nation’s top-rated internet service providers that can deliver up to 5000 Mbps of symmetrical speeds for a starting price of $55 per month. If you happen to live in one of the 21 states where AT&T and EarthLink’s internet service intersect, then it can become a little difficult to weigh the pros and cons of each service provider and pick the best one for your home. On a surface level. The two providers may seem to be offering a similar broadband experience but an in-depth analysis of EarthLink vs AT&T will prove otherwise.
EarthLink Internet is available throughout the mainland USA (i.e. in 48 states, excluding Alaska and Hawaii). On the other hand, AT&T offers its fiber-optic, DSL, and IPBB internet service in 21 states. Its fixed wireless service for rural internet users is only available in 18 states. So, in terms of nationwide availability, EarthLink is an undefeated champion. But while EarthLink is widely available throughout the country, the more than average monthly prices of its internet plans impede its rise to the top. EarthLink internet plans are at least $10 more expensive than AT&T Internet plans that offer the same speeds. AT&T also offers better perks, consistent speeds, and no-contract service. These are a few things that Earthlink internet cannot promise to its subscribers. However, EarthLink’s world-class customer service is unmatched, and its customer satisfaction rating is 0.3 stars higher than AT&T’s. Last but not the least, our advice for pro gamers is “want zero-glitch, then throw EarthLink in a ditch” because its slow and fluctuating upload speed will interrupt your live stream.
So, AT&T vs. EarthLink- which one is better? Simply put, it is your priorities that matter.