EarthLink is an ISP that has seen better days. Since 2005, they have cut thousands of jobs and closed down their in-house U.S. call centers. Since then customers have complained about inconsistent service and long waits on the phone to reach a customer service representative. However, they still have more access numbers for dial-up than many ISP services and they have access to cable lines to provide fast internet connections in some areas. They also acquired STS Telecom in 2011 to increase their coverage in Florida and Georgia.
This ISP offers low-priced dial-up services that include virus protection, an accelerator, 24/7 support, eight email addresses and a personal homepage. They offer DSL plans that range from 1.5Mbps to 6Mbps and cable connections ranging from 768Kbps to 15Mbps. They also offer satellite subscriptions through their partnership with HughesNet. As mentioned, they provide more access numbers than most, which means their dial-up customers have a better chance at acquiring a good connection quickly. In fact, they provide over 50 in the Miami area and over 45 in the San Diego area. In our tests, EarthLink was able to provide services in all eight test areas, including DSL to rural parts of New Mexico and South Carolina. In total, they provide services to over 1.5 million customers.
Some extras they offer include their protection center, Norton 360 Online, call waiting, home networking and data backup. Their protection center is free to subscribers and includes virus scanning, email protection, antispyware, a firewall and IM/chat protection. They offer Norton 360 for a low monthly fee and it includes internet protection as well as identity protection. They offer backup services through Carbonite, this service can back up files for a low month fee. Their internet calling service can screen calls, record messages and more, which are all necessary tools for dial-up customers. EarthLink 's home networking service can help you distribute internet to four computers and share peripherals such as printers. They also offer digital phone services.
If you need assistance, you can contact EarthLink by telephone, email or chat. We contacted them by email and received a response within a few days. However, customer complaints have increased since EarthLink shut down its stateside call centers in 2005 and outsourced its customer support. Many report extremely long wait times and hard-to-understand customer service representatives. The indirect support options they offer include getting started guides, email help topics, troubleshooting guides and billing FAQs. They also post information about known outages.
If dial-up is your only option, you may want to see if EarthLink can provide you with a long list of dial up access numbers in your area. We also suggest that you talk to others in your location to see if EarthLink provides them with sufficient speed, service and availability. If you live in a more populated area and have access to the cable internet packages EarthLink offers through another provider's cable lines, we would suggest you cut out the intermediary and go with the larger ISP. We will keep an eye on EarthLink to see if they pull out of some of the troubles they have been dealing with in the last few years and improve their service.
EarthLink has numerous access numbers for dial-up and they provide cable and DSL connections in many areas.
They do not include parental controls, they outsource their support and they often have third-party service technicians complete local repairs.
If you can find a fast cable or fiber optic option in your area, go for that. If not, investigate what kind of speed and service EarthLink offers in your area.