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AT&T internet review: Good speeds at fair rates

  • July 31, 2021

Boasting the second most wide-reaching fiber network, ATT Fiber delivers ultra fast speeds with over 99% reliability. ATT Internet (or DSL), on the other hand, may be slower and less reliable than fiber, but it can compete with cable. 

These plans range from 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps (based on location), enough for a smaller household to regularly stream Netflix and browse social media. In addition to solid speeds, ATT ranks higher in customer satisfaction than any other major cable company

To gain a better understanding of these offerings, we spent over three weeks analyzing five popular plans, and comparing them across four top providers. What we found is a service that offers plenty of perks and money-saving bundling options. 

If it’s available in your area, ATT Internet is a sure bet for good speeds at fair rates.

ATT Internet plans and prices

Wide array of DSL speeds, each requiring a contract

Data effective 06/14/2020

* Package availability depends on location, prices may vary


The introductory rates require a 12-month contract. After that, the price will be increased to the standard rate of $59.99 per month. This does not include taxes, which vary depending on which state you are in. Some customers could also find a $10 a month equipment fee and non-government required monthly cost recovery surcharges. 

There are two possible one-time charges, one for self-install and one for professional install. If you choose the self-install, you’ll need to set up the equipment yourself. The activation fee for this is $35. If you choose the professional installation, you won’t have to lift a finger, but the installation fee is $99.

Estimated speeds

Internet speed depends on how many devices are accessing the internet and what activities you do on them. For example, if you’re just going to browse every once in a while you can get the slowest internet available if you want. If you and your spouse are using the internet for different things (such as streaming and/or gaming), you’ll need a faster connection speed. If you have four different people on different devices all doing different things, you may want to get the fastest internet speed available with no data caps. 

DSL plans, speed, and data

Higher speed DSL connections offered for low to moderate internet usage

  • Speeds: ATT offers a wide array of hybrid DSL connections (called IPBB) ranging all the way from 768 Kbps to 100 Mbps. Although lower speeds are becoming increasingly more uncommon, there’s still a chance your household is limited to Internet Basic plans (768 Kbps – 5 Mbps). 
  • Capabilities: For these low-speed plans,  you may have trouble doing things like streaming videos in HD or playing games online — and the farther you are from the provider’s central hub, the slower speeds will get. For smaller households planning on gaming or connecting 10+ devices at once, Internet Basic won’t cut it. You would be better served by ATT Internet (10 Mbps – 100 Mbps), if it’s available where you live.
  • Reliability: Although Performance and Reliability varies by region, ATT Internet often delivers quality service at prices that won’t break the bank. 
  • Data Allowance: ATT Internet also offers a 1TB monthly data allowance on its standalone service, more than enough for most families. In fact, you’d have to work pretty hard to use up that much data: According to ATT’s data calculator, it would take about 400 hours of HD video streaming to hit that cap. That equates to 13 hours per day. If you’re still worried about hitting your limit, you can purchase unlimited data for an extra $30 per month.

How fast is ATT Internet?

ATT’s reputation reflects competitive DSL speeds and high performance ratings

In the FCC’s latest broadband report, ATT’s DSL speeds far exceeded expectations, delivering speeds of 86% or better to 90% of its panelists. ATT is reputed to have speeds that exceed other internet service providers such as CenturyLink and Verizon, although recent findings have faced scrutiny. However, indications of high performing speeds align with J.D. Power’s five-star rating for Performance and Reliability in ATT’s largest operating market — the south. 

It’s worth noting that the FCC only measured ATT’s speeds up to 45 Mbps, meaning it’s “ultra-fast” fiber speed was not taken into consideration. Given that fiber connections are much more reliable than DSL, we expect these findings to only improve over the coming years. 

Whatever ATT plan you have available, you can count on receiving the speed you’re paying for. 

Does ATT have data caps?

ATT data caps vary from different types of service. The ATT DSL service has a data cap of 150 GB. The ATT Fixed Wireless Internet has a data cap of 250 GB. And the ATT Internet Speed Tiers offered has a data cap of 1 TB. The average American who wants to browse casually can go with either the DSL or Fixed Wireless Internet plans. You’ll need the 1 TB data cap if there are a lot of devices used for streaming and gaming.

Where is ATT internet available?

Limited availability across 21 states, with an expanding fiber network.

Unfortunately, ATT’s availability is fairly limited, with only 21 states having access to their service. 

The good news? If you’re lucky enough to have it, the chances of having a fiber connection are much higher compared to other broadband providers like CenturyLink and Frontier. And even if you don’t have fiber available, ATT Internet should be more than sufficient for moderate use.

Other factors to consider

Simple equipment

Basic equipment that you must rent or purchase from ATT directly.

Setting up your internet service with ATT requires ATT’s Wi-Fi Gateway, a modem/router combination device from ATT that is used to connect your devices to the internet. 

While some plans may include this gateway at no extra cost, most require you to pay an additional $10/month. And since ATT doesn’t allow you to use your own equipment, the only way around this monthly charge is by purchasing the gateway upfront (up to $100). Although this hefty upfront cost may hurt your wallet initially, you’ll end up saving hundreds down the road.  

ATT will walk you through the specific equipment needs of your home, and professionals can install the system. The company also offers a self-installation option with a detailed guide and ample resources.

Contracts and fees

Transparent fees and 12-month minimum commitment, with costs typically increasing after that period.

ATT requires a 12-month contract on all of its internet plans, with a prorated early termination fee of $180 if you decide to cancel before the year is up. 

While every plan is different, most will go up in cost after the 12-month promotional period is over. Fortunately, ATT is one of the more transparent providers and clearly states what that second year price will be in the offer details before you’re locked in. 

There are a few fees when you first sign up too — $35 self-installation fee and $99 professional installation. However, if you sign up with a qualifying bundle, the installation fee may be waived. 

Notable fees

  • Equipment lease fee: Up to $10/mo.*
  • $99 professional installation*
  • $35 activation (self-installation)*

*Sometimes waived for certain packages or online orders.

TV bundles: ATT U-verse and DIRECTV

ATT U-verse and DIRECTV bundle options available with nationwide availability

If your home needs TV service in addition to internet, you can bundle for a better price on both. Bundling ATT internet with either ATT TV or DIRECTV typically starts around $90 per month and comes with free installation. 

Purchasing an individual DIRECTV package starts at 155+ channels for $50 per month. DIRECTV is a satellite service, which means it’s available nationwide. It also offers some of the best options for sports fans. 

ATT TV packages independently start at 65+ channels for $50 per month. With ATT TV , availability will depend on your location, and so will the exact bundle offers. However, given that the cheapest ATT TV plan starts at $50, we recommend looking into other TV streaming services — like YoutubeTV — that offer more channels at a similar cost. 

How does ATT rank for customer service?

ATT scores at the top among competitors for customer service

ATT’s customer service continues to outperform every internet service provider, finishing at the top in every market it operates in – South, West, and North Central. 

In J.D. Power’s most recent Internet Satisfaction Study, ATT earned a perfect score in Customer Service, far exceeding top providers like CenturyLink, Xfinity, and Spectrum. Furthermore, ATT earned perfect scores across the board in Communications and Promotions, as well as Billing and Payment. This is no easy feat considering no other provider earned a perfect score in any of these three factors. 

Where ATT falls short in contracts and second year pricing, it makes up in how it treats and responds to its customers over this time period.

How does ATT rank for customer satisfaction?

ATT ranks #2 for customer satisfaction among competing internet service providers

According to the 2019 ACSI Telecommunications Report, ATT Internet ranks as no. 2 for customer satisfaction, leading the pack over popular cable internet service providers like Optimum, Spectrum, and Comcast Xfinity. The only service ranking higher, Verizon Fios, is fiber optic internet. 

The report links ATT Internet’s customer satisfaction to the expansion of its fiber service, but the company’s sales reps might also have a positive impact on its score. The reps we spoke with were kind, helpful, and patient with our questions. They also never pressured us to buy or to stay on the phone.

ATT vs. other competitors

*Prices for stand-alone internet service, current at time of publication. Prices may vary by location. Contract length may vary and it’s subject to the starting price presented above.

What is ATT’s best plan and how much does it cost?

ATT’s best plan is their Internet 1000 plan, powered by ATT Fiber. You’ll get a 1000 mbps connection speed. It starts at $50 per month, not including taxes, fees, or surcharges. 

Where is ATT available?

ATT is available in 21 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming. There are specific areas in each of the states where ATT provides fiber internet services. It is not yet state-wide. 

The bottomline

ATT offers a wide variety of internet plans, and you’re sure to find one that suits your needs whether you’re browsing the internet or need a higher speed for gaming, streaming, or working from home. You can get the basic ATT internet or ATT Fiber internet for some amazing speeds. ATT has the best customer service. If you have any questions or concerns call their customer service number. The customer service agents will happily help you in any way possible. 

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