- AT&T: AT&T Fiber is the best choice for most users, but it isn’t available everywhere. AT&T’s DSL-based server is available almost everywhere in the downtown area, but is far slower.
- Spectrum: Spectrum is available nearly everywhere in Downtown Dallas, and offers the best basic internet plan if speed isn’t your focus.
- Earthlink: This company uses AT&T wires, so it’s available everywhere they are, but sometimes offers similar service for cheaper.
How to choose between AT&T and Spectrum in Downtown Dallas
If you’ve just moved to Downtown Dallas and you’re trying to decide which internet service provider to go with, I’ll give you a very simple recommendation based on what is most important to you:
If speed is your number one priority, try AT&T Fiber first.
If you’re just looking for the best overall basic internet option, check with Spectrum.
Having said this, if AT&T Fiber isn’t available, Spectrum may actually be the next best choice over the former company’s DSL offering. Note that if you call AT&T, they may try and sell you on an “IPBB” or “fiber-to-the-curb” service. Make sure you’re explicitly signing up for gigabit fiber-to-the home, otherwise I wouldn’t recommend it if Spectrum’s superior cable connection is also available.
If AT&T’s lower-end service is all that’s available in terms of wired providers, there are a few other alternatives I’d recommend checking on before opting for that service, including 5G home internet. More on that below.
Compare internet providers in Downtown Dallas
Here’s a broad strokes look at the metrics for Spectrum and AT&T fiber downtown:
|Feature||AT&T Fiber||Spectrum Cable|
|Download Speed Range||Up to 1000 Mbps||Up to 100 Mbps|
|Network Type||Fiber (FTTH)||Cable|
AT&T also offers a DSL or “IPBB” internet service locally, but it caps out at 100 Mbps (if you’re lucky and close to a fiber switch) with lower overall performance than cable, and we don’t recomend it.
Compare internet plans and pricing in Downtown Dallas
If you’re a basic internet user, don’t get too caught up in the various plans and tiers available to you: for most people, Spectrum’s basic 100 Mbps plan is going to be enough. That said, AT&T Fiber’s gigabit internet-only plan is competitively priced, if it is available to you:
|Plan Name||Speed Down/Up||Promo Price||Final Price|
|Spectrum Internet||100/10 Mbps||$49.99/mo||$69.99|
|Internet 1000 (AT&T)||1000/Variable Mbps||$49.99/mo||$59.99|
If, like many of us, you find yourself working from home these days, it’s important to note that the 10 Mbps upload speed limit on Spectrum’s base plan might be an annoyance, especially if you have to frequently upload large files and participate in video chats. Any plan that offers 20 Mbps or more should be sufficient, but obviously, fiber is going to be ideal, if the price is right for you.
Low-Cost internet options in Downtown Dallas
If paying more than $60 per month isn’t feasible for you, then you do have a few options at your disposal in Downtown Dallas. Here’s a brief overview:
- Subsidized internet packages. If you currently participate in public assistance programs like SNAP, you may be eligible for reduced rate plans from providers like Spectrum. Be sure to ask your sales rep about these when calling to sign up for service.
- Earthlink. This provider was prominent in the nineties, and in recent years, they’ve rebranded and begun offering services using AT&T’s lines. To entice new business, they will sometimes offer the same level of service at AT&T, but for a slightly cheaper rate. Either way, it’s worth calling them and seeing what’s available.
5G home internet service availability in Downtown Dallas
As of fall 2020, Verizon has begun the slow rollout of 5G home internet in Downtown Dallas. This is an entirely new form of home connection that relies on short-range radio waves, and as such they can only travel a few hundred feet at most, meaning you’ll need to have a “small cell” transponder on your street to be eligible for service.
5G home internet is likely to continue rolling out gradually across parts of downtown Dallas well into 2021. If and when it becomes available in your building, you’ll need access to a window in order to install a device that can receive a signal from the street below. To check the latest coverage for Verizon’s new 5G service, enter your address on their website.
Why aren’t there more internet service choices in Downtown Dallas?
Having only two major providers to choose from is not a problem that is exclusive to downtown Dallas. Unfortunately, it’s also a problem that’s as old as the internet itself. Here’s how this situation plays out in cities and towns across America: one provider will own the phone lines, while another owns the cable lines. Perhaps, if you’re lucky, one of these will build some fiber as well. These companies will then exist in said town under a de facto duopoly, preventing any other real competition.
In Downtown Dallas, this is largely the case with Spectrum and AT&T. Other neighborhoods in Dallas, such as Deep Ellum, have independent providers like Ellumnet that shake things up, but unfortunately, the downtown area is not so fortunate.
If you’re on the hunt for a new provider, be sure to check back on this page periodically. We’ll update our recommendations if any new options become available later in 2021.
DSL vs Fiber: Understanding AT&T’s Options in Downtown
As discussed briefly above, AT&T has several different internet options in downtown Dallas. Years of branding and rebranding their services has led to a lot of confusing terminology: U-Verse, AT&T Internet, AT&T DSL….it can be overwhelming.
As of 2020, AT&T only offers two real types of internet in the downtown area: DSL, and fiber optic. The former is slower than competitor Spectrum’s cable service, while the latter is faster. AT&T may tell you that they have “hybrid fiber,” “fiber-to-the-curb,” or “high-speed IPBB” internet service at your building; be warned, none of these are actually fiber. What matters is what we call the “last mile” of the connection, which in all these cases is copper phone wiring.
Alternative internet providers in Downtown Dallas
If you’re searching for a lesser known alternative to the big players in downtown Dallas, I’m afraid you might be disappointed.
- 5G internet: Not widely available yet, but a potentially enticing option if all you have access to otherwise is AT&T’s DSL plans.
- Satellite internet: Slow, expensive, and not ideal for an urban environment.
- Mobile broadband: You can opt to just pay for a hotspot on your existing cellular plan, but service inside your building might already be spotty, and this isn’t ideal for multiple users sharing a single connection.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the fastest internet service in downtown Dallas?
AT&T Fiber offers the fastest internet service in the downtown area, though availability isn’t guaranteed. Spectrum’s cable plans are a solid alternative, and much more widely available, offering up to 940 Mbps in some cases.
Is 5G internet available in downtown Dallas?
Although 5G home internet is still very new, Verizon has begun rolling it out in select areas around downtown Dallas as of October 2020. Be sure to check their website to see if it's available in your building.