But Verizon wasn’t always a fiber provider. In fact, their core service offering has long been good old-fashioned DSL Internet, which is currently sold as “Verizon High Speed Internet.”
For customers who can’t get Fios, Verizon High Speed Internet is a passable plan B. It can’t compete with Fios on speed and bandwidth, but it can be a good “budget option.”
Verizon DSL Plans vs Fiber and Cable
To understand the pros and cons of Verizon High Speed Internet, you have to understand what DSL is.
In short, DSL is Internet delivered over your phone line (the same one that carries landline phone service).
Compared to cable and fiber, DSL tends to be slower and less reliable. The wire is smaller, there’s less room for high-bandwidth activities, and phone lines often get knocked out by storms and trees.
While it’s not as ideal as cable or fiber, the price is often much lower. This is certainly the case for Verizon, with baseline plans starting at half the cost of the competition. In most areas, the cable alternative will be Comcast.
Verizon DSL Speeds: Workable, if Not Perfect
Verizon High Speed Internet Download Speeds Over Time
|City||Verizon High Speed Internet Average Speed||Verizon High Speed Internet Top 10% Speeds|
|Alexandria, Virginia||41 Mbps||95 Mbps|
|Baltimore, Maryland||2.2 Mbps||4.8 Mbps|
|Boston, Massachusetts||7.0 Mbps||8.5 Mbps|
|Bronx, New York||38 Mbps||62 Mbps|
|Brooklyn, New York||27 Mbps||74 Mbps|
|Buffalo, New York||12 Mbps||19 Mbps|
|Flushing, New York||54 Mbps||106 Mbps|
|Jamaica, New York||53 Mbps||116 Mbps|
|Jersey City, New Jersey||56 Mbps||99 Mbps|
|New York, New York||38 Mbps||101 Mbps|
|Newark, New Jersey||46 Mbps||98 Mbps|
|Norfolk, Virginia||4.1 Mbps||7.7 Mbps|
|Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||73 Mbps||169 Mbps|
|Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||39 Mbps||94 Mbps|
|Reading, Pennsylvania||1.9 Mbps||4.4 Mbps|
|Richmond, Virginia||109 Mbps||230 Mbps|
|Silver Spring, Maryland||52 Mbps||110 Mbps|
|Staten Island, New York||63 Mbps||134 Mbps|
|Virginia Beach, Virginia||50 Mbps||96 Mbps|
|Washington, District of Columbia||53 Mbps||142 Mbps|
Verizon DSL starts pretty low on the totem pole when it comes to speed, with base plans offering around 1–15 Mbps (as opposed to the 30–200 Mbps standard for cable). As you can see in the graphs above, equipment and network improvements have been pushing that speed up in some areas.
This may sound limiting, but it’s actually enough for most online activities in a small household. It won’t let you stream SD or HD video without frequent buffering, but it’ll be enough to surf the web and check Facebook.
Assuming you’d like to spend some evening streaming Netflix and Hulu, you’ll need to look at an absolute minimum download speed of 3–5 Mbps. Again, these modest speeds come at a modest cost with DSL, making it a good option if you have a very tight budget for entertainment.
Verizon High Speed Internet (DSL) Plan Options
Verizon keeps their DSL plans simple: you can either opt for High Speed Internet or High Speed Internet Enhanced.
Downloading a 10 Minute SD video (such as your standard YouTube video) will take 16.7 minutes on the basic plan. The enhanced plan will get the job done in 1–5 minutes.
The difference in price is only $10 or so, so we’d highly recommend the enhanced plan.
Both of these plans usually come with a 1-year contract, and almost always require that you subscribe to home phone service as well. (For the best pricing, anyway.)
|Deals||Price Monthly||Internet Speed||Phone|
|High Speed Internet Enhanced||$3499||3.0 Mbps DSL||(855) 692-2990|
|High Speed Internet||$2499||1.0 Mbps DSL||(855) 692-2990|
Additional Features: Hotspots Are The Perk That matters
Some of Verizon’s DSL plans also offer access to their extensive network of Wi-Fi locations at no additional charge. They maintain an easy-to-use webpage for finding Verizon public Wi-Fi hotspots.
All of Verizon’s DSL plans include e-mail accounts complete with webmail, 24/7 telephone support, and 10 megabytes of personal web space. That said, there have been cases in the past where Verizon deleted emails that were not accessed within a certain time frame. As a rule of thumb, we recommend using a third-party email provider such as Gmail or Fastmail.
Verizon security suites including firewall and antivirus software are also available for an extra monthly fee. These can be worth the cost for users who’d rather not monkey around with their security settings and just want cheap, easy peace of mind.
As with email, you’re likely to get better quality and value if you invest the time in researching and setting up third-party options instead. But for the average user, it’s a great add-on that makes keeping your data safe relatively straightforward.
Verizon DSL Coverage Data
Verizon High Speed Internet Coverage & Availability Map
Verizon High Speed Internet is available throughout much of New England, and particularly popular in rural and suburban areas underserved by other Internet providers.
Like other DSL providers, Verizon offers to either let you self-install for free or have a professional technician install the wiring and equipment for you.
Unlike some other providers, Verizon provides installation for free. This is a huge bonus for less tech-oriented customers who want their Internet to “just work.”
Verizon information on installation hardware is available at their site. All equipment is included with your plan.
Verizon’s Equipment Options: Simple, but Limited
As with Fios, Verizon encourages customers to lease their “gateway” router/modem device along with their service.
They are less friendly towards customers who want to use their own equipment, and their support page for home networking is significantly less user-friendly than their sign-up pages.
While they don’t make it obvious, it is perfectly fine to use your own modem and router to save on monthly fees in the long run. This can add up to hundreds in savings over a couple years.
Here is their list of compatible modems for Verizon DSL.
Our Take: Verizon High Speed Internet is the “Budget-Friendly Option”
If you’re a heavy Internet user who does a lot of streaming, uploading, and online gaming, it probably won’t be enough. (Particularly if there are several people on the same connection, as in a family home or apartment with roommates.)
On the other hand, it can be perfectly fine for the average Internet user who just wants to surf the web and stream the occasional YouTube video.
Verizon High Speed Internet at a Glance
|Statistic||Verizon High Speed Internet|
|Price Range||$24.99 - $34.99/mo+|
|Customer Recommendation Rating on BroadbandNow.com||40.0%|
|ACSI Customer Service Rating|
|Phone Number||(855) 692-2990|
Jessica Sims is a technology blogger and broadband industry veteran. Her background as an administrator and customer support employee for a major ISP informs her passion for helping consumers understand their service options.
James Webb is a tech and gadgets expert with a focus on educational content development. He draws on his background in the startup world to make complicated technologies and topics easy to understand for normal folks.