Internet service in Deep Ellum is a mixed bag. There are a few solid options to pick from, but many websites you come across may show you results that aren’t actually available at your address.
There are four providers offering internet services in Deep Ellum: Ellumnet (a local fiber provider), Spectrum, AT&T, and EarthLink. Of these, it’s AT&T and Spectrum are the most widely available, but Ellumnet provides well-rated local service and gigabit speeds.
In terms of internet speeds, Ellumnet and AT&T Fiber are the two options to check for first, as they both offer 1000 Mbps (gigabit) upload and download options. Here is a basic overview of the playing field:
- Ellumnet: Limited availability, but likely the best option if you can get it.
- AT&T: AT&T Fiber is a solid choice, but has limited availability in Deep Ellum. The company’s DSL footprint is larger in the Deep Ellum area, but much slower as well.
- Spectrum: Widely available, and has the best unlimited basic internet plan if speed isn’t your top priority.
- Earthlink: Same speeds and service as AT&T, but sometimes a bit cheaper depending on the plan.
How to determine the best option at your building
If you’ve just moved to Deep Ellum, or are simply searching for a better option than what you have, I’m going to recommend following the steps below exactly.
It’s going to take a bit of work (and a fair bit of patience), but it will always ensure that you find the absolute best plan available at your home. The truth is, you’ll never be able to tell what’s available from looking at marketing websites online.
- Check for Ellumnet service. Ellumnet is a local provider that has earned itself a reputation for its speedy service, affordable pricing, and local customer service. Call the company at 214-989-6700 and ask if they have gigabit service at your address. If they don’t….
- Check for AT&T Fiber. AT&T Fiber is the next best bet if Ellumnet isn’t operating in your building yet. Call them at 866-861-6075 to ask if they have fiber internet at your address. This part is important; ask them: “is 1,000 mbps fiber-to-the-home internet available at my address?” Here’s the reason for the specificity: if they don’t have this top-end fiber at your address, they will almost certainly try and sell you on a lower-end package, and they will probably call it something like “IPBB, fiber to the curb, or just “high-speed” internet. Don’t be fooled, this is DSL, and it isn’t ideal.
- Check for Spectrum. If neither Ellumnet nor AT&T have fiber at your address, then your next best option is probably going to be Spectrum. Call them at 855-707-7328 and ask what is available. Chances are, they will have wiring in your building, and their base plan of 100 Mbps up and 10 Mbps down is pretty decent overall.
Compare internet providers in Deep Ellum
As you can see, the pricing is quite similar between ISPs locally, but going with a fiber provider will get you much higher performance:
|Ellumnet||AT&T Fiber||Spectrum Cable|
|Download Speed Range||Up to 1,000 Mbps||Up to 1000 Mbps||Up to 100 Mbps|
|Data Cap||Unlimited data||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Network Type||Fiber (FTTN)||Fiber (FTTH)||Cable|
Entry-level internet-only plan comparison
If you’re just looking for a quality, basic internet plan, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the variety of options some providers have. If this is you, I’d recommend keeping it very simple and just get the fastest entry-level internet-only plan at your location.
Here’s how the basic tiers compare for internet-only from Ellumnet, Spectrum, and AT&T in Deep Ellum:
|Plan Name||Speed Down/Up||Promo Price||Final Price|
|Ellumnet 300 Mbps Internet||300/300 Mbps||$45/mo||$45|
|Spectrum Internet||100/10 Mbps||$49.99/mo||$69.99|
|Internet 1000 (AT&T)||1000/Variable Mbps||$49.99/mo||$59.99|
Keep in mind that if you’re working from home, Spectrum’s base plan might be a bit limiting with its 10 Mbps upload speed. Upgrading to the next tier would be more ideal, but opting for Ellumnet or AT&T Fiber’s symmetrical speeds would be the best, all else being equal.
Spectrum and AT&T both use “promo pricing” as well, which means that the price changes after your first year of service. Spectrum make’s it even more complex by adding an automatic “discount” after the first year, while simultaneously rising the base price, so that your price slowly creeps up by around 40% over 2–3 years.
For comparison, the AT&T base plan goes up 20% after months.
AT&T DSL vs AT&T Fiber: Knowing the difference is key
AT&T’s internet offerings in Deep Ellum can be difficult to understand at first glance. Over the past several years, the company has been rebranding services left and right, while also expanding their fiber footprint into new areas. Here’s a quick and dirty guide to simplifying what the company has to offer:
As of 2020, all of AT&T’s internet options have been condensed down to two basic forms: AT&T Internet and AT&T Fiber. The former is DSL, and the latter is, of course, fiber optic. If your building has fiber, you’re lucky, as the company’s fiber coverage in Deep Ellum is not especially widespread.
If your location doesn’t have fiber-to-the-home, it’s essentially DSL. What AT&T and other providers may call IPBB or “fiber-to-the-curb” service is actually just plain old DSL copper wiring at the “last mile,” the part of the connection that connects you to the internet itself. This is the part that matters; if it isn’t fiber, then you’ll be looking at much slower speeds, even down to 5 Mbps, as well as potentially restrictive data caps to boot. For these reasons and more, be very clear on what service you are signing up for before confirming your new AT&T internet plan in Deep Ellum.
Low-Cost internet options in Deep Ellum
If you are looking around for the cheapest possible internet plans in Deep Ellum, here are a few options worth considering:
- Subsidized internet plans. Low-income residents who participate in public aid programs like SNAP may be eligible for reduced cost plans from certain providers. Be sure to ask about this when calling each provider. You can read my write-up about low-income internet plans in Dallas here.
- Earthlink. Earthlink was an internet provider that operated widely in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. More recently, they have rebranded and started offering service again using AT&T’s existing lines. To entice new customers, they may offer the same performance, but for a cheaper rate. Just keep in ind that your customer service experience might not be ideal, as the company likely uses overseas contractors to save money.
5G home internet service availability in Deep Ellum
In October 2020, Verizon began rolling out 5G home internet in areas in and around Dallas. I haven’t been able to confirm exactly where these services are available, but it might be worth checking your address at the company’s website to see if it is available.
These services rely on short range, millimeter wave signals to work, and so the rollout of 5G home internet is likely to be gradual in Deep Ellum. That said, it is reasonable to expect that Verizon and other companies will continue to expand this new type of service in the area well into 2021 and beyond.
If 5G internet happens to be an option for your location, know that you will need to place a device on your window to receive a signal from the street below. This is also a very novel technology, so expect some bumps in the road if you sign up amongst the first wave of subscribers.
Internet alternatives in Deep Ellum
There aren’t many alternative options for internet service that we haven’t covered already in this local guide. That said, let’s recap a few things worth looking into outside of the traditional “wired” providers in the neighborhood:
- 5G home internet: currently only available in select areas, and not all buildings are compatible with it (IE you’ll need a window).
- Satellite internet: Very slow and expensive, except for newer forms like SpaceX’s Starlink, though this is not currently available, and is being touted as more of an option for rural communities.
- Mobile broadband: Using your phone’s data connection as your home network can work in a pinch, but don’t expect great results for anything but the most basic tasks online. You’ll also be subject to lower data caps and throttling thresholds than with a wired connection designed for home use.
Why aren’t there more internet options in Deep Ellum?
Although having 4 different options is, on paper, better than the situation in many other areas of the U.S., it’s been my experience that many apartment buildings in Deep Ellum really only have 2 providers to choose from. For example, when spot-checking addresses in the neighborhood, I found that many buildings only had Spectrum and AT&T – sometimes the latter had fiber, sometimes only DSL.
The reason for this can be annoyingly simple: many apartment buildings in Deep Ellum have agreements with certain providers to only offer their services to residents. In some extreme cases, this might even entail full exclusivity, leaving tenants with only one option to choose from.
As 5G home internet begins to become more common in the area, the number of alternatives you have access to may increase. For now, be sure to check back here, as we’ll update this guide if a new provider substantially increases their footprint in Deep Ellum.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who has the best fiber service in Deep Ellum?
Ellumnet is a local provider that offers fantastic gigabit fiber plans that start at $50 a month. If they aren’t available, AT&T Fiber also has a selection of fiber-based plans, depending upon where in the neighborhood you are.
Are there alternatives to Spectrum in Deep Ellum?
Although Spectrum is the most widely available internet provider in Deep Ellum, there are several alternatives worth looking into. These include fiber providers like Ellumnet and AT&T Fiber, as well as DSL-based options like AT&T Internet and Earthlink.
Can I get fiber internet in Deep Ellum?
Fiber internet is not available everywhere in Deep Ellum, but many parts of the neighborhood do have limited access. Both Ellumnet and AT&T Fiber have options that provide up to 1,000 Mbps upload and download speeds.