Expert Overview of EarthLink’s Services
EarthLink offers internet service across 36 states with the greatest coverage in California, Texas, and New York. DSL internet from EarthLink is available to an estimated 174.4 million people, making it the largest residential DSL provider in the U.S. by coverage area.
In addition to DSL broadband, EarthLink also offers fiber internet service—known as HyperLink. Its fiber service is available to approximately 26.5 million people, making it the 2nd largest provider of fiber broadband in the U.S. by coverage area.
Expert Overview of EarthLink Internet’s Services
Founded in 1994, just four years after the first public website in history was launched, EarthLink was one of the early pioneers of the internet. They continue to offer a variety of internet plans equipped with a range of speeds and zero data cap restrictions across the United States; specifically, EarthLink offers DSL and fiber networks throughout the Eastern and Southern United States. However, they do not offer phone or TV services.
After EarthLink was acquired by Trive Capital, they began to offer high-speed fiber internet with speeds up to 1000 Mbps, and since then, they have been rapidly expanding their coverage area—now covering over 50 percent of homes in the nation.
EarthLink DSL vs. Fiber
DSL and fiber internet have some fundamental differences in their capacities, speeds, and wiring.
DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) uses twisted copper phone lines to deliver data as a radio signal while fiber lines are made of tiny strands of glass and deliver data via light. As you might imagine, light travels significantly faster than radio waves. For this reason, fiber internet can provide a connection that is more than ten times faster than DSL.
Another interesting (and useful) distinction between DSL and fiber internet is that DSL cannot offer the same upload and download speeds. Download speeds are always significantly faster than upload speeds with DSL. On the other hand, fiber offers mirrored, or identical, upload and download speeds of up to 1000 Mbps.
For EarthLink customers, DSL is more widely available as it was historically their main internet connection type. It can be expensive and take a while to roll out fiber networks to individual homes; if EarthLink doesn’t yet offer fiber in your area, it should be just a matter of time.
What is EarthLink HyperLink?
First announced in 2016, “HyperLink” reflects all of EarthLink’s current fiber internet plans. Fiber internet is delivered to your home via fiber-optic cables, and data is transferred at the speed of light.
HyperLink plans start at $49.95/month with download speeds up to 50 Mbps and go all the way up to 1000 Mbps for $99.95/month.
Like their DSL plans, none of EarthLink’s HyperLink plans impose data caps.
EarthLink HyperLink: An Affordable Take on Fiber Internet
Most fiber internet providers begin their offers at 100 Mbps while EarthLink HyperLink offers a 50 Mbps plan to start, opening up fiber to customers who may not need the fastest download speeds but need better upload speeds.
HyperLink prices vary from $49.95–99.95/month for speeds ranging from 50–1,000 Mbps.
When compared to other fiber providers, HyperLink is neither the most expensive or the cheapest. However, when compared to other widely-available internet types, such as cable, DSL, or satellite, HyperLink can give customers a significant discount per Mbps.
For instance, the regular rate for EarthLink’s 15 Mbps DSL plan is $54.95/month, or $3.66 per Mbps. On the other hand, the regular rate for the HyperLink 50 Mbps plan is $69.95/month, or about $1.40 per Mbps.
EarthLink Hidden Fees
Most of EarthLink’s plans feature modem rental fees, installation fees, and promotional rates that last for as little as three months.
- Installation fees can range from $19.95–69.95
- Modem rentals cost $6.95/month
- Promotional periods range anywhere from three months to 1-year before the monthly rate increases.
Before committing to a plan, you should thoroughly review your contract and make sure that the agent fully explains the fees, taxes, and promotional rates, including how long they will last. Keep in mind that EarthLink’s plans can widely vary from city to city.
You can avoid some EarthLink fees by following these tips:
- Purchase your own modem and router that’s compatible with EarthLink services
- Opt for self-installation
EarthLink Modem and Router: What are your options?
When purchasing an internet plan from EarthLink, you will have the option of renting a modem and router combo to provide Wi-Fi to your home. EarthLink charges $6.95/ month to rent their equipment. While $6.95 might seem like an easy pill to swallow, over time, that money will add up.
In the long run, purchasing your own equipment will end up saving you money. Even if you spend $100 on a modem and router, in 15 months, you will more than break even. If you plan on staying with EarthLink for more than 15 months, purchasing your own router is a more viable financial route in the long run.
EarthLink has been around almost since the beginning of public internet providers. Six years after its founding, EarthLink merged with MindSpring, another internet provider, which expanded its customer base to 2.8 million people. The merger was in 2000 and in that same year, EarthLink reached 5 million customers.
As announced in 2016, EarthLink began to offer fiber internet packages under the name of “HyperLink.” Since 2019, when EarthLink was acquired by Trive Capital, EarthLink has been rapidly expanding its internet service coverage area and now covers over 50 percent of homes in America and offers speeds up to 1000 Mbps.