Does Free DSL Internet Service Exist?

A knotted network connection cable plugged into a laptop
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During the dot-com era, some Internet service providers gained notoriety by offering free (or very low cost) Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) service to residential customers. If providers could somehow deliver on this promise, you would both enjoy high speed Internet and save a lot of money. However, the better known providers of "free DSL" during that time, such as freedsl.com and HyperSpy, went out of business while the mainstream providers all charge contract fees.

Does free DSL really exist?

No - free DSL is not really an option for residential customers.

First, free DSL was never really free. While the monthly service charge may have been zero, you were likely to incur any number of hidden costs such as the following:

  • very long waiting period before hook-up
  • high up-front installation fees
  • requirement to purchase a bundled DSL modem at high cost
  • requirement to supply detailed personal information for demographic and marketing purposes
  • long-term committments with high cancellation fees
  • always-on advertising banners or toolbars
  • significantly lower "throttled" speeds than those of a paid service plan
  • lesser-grade technical support

The Hyperspy system additionally required you to successfully refer other customers to that service each month to remain qualified for free service.

At best, you may still find a few offers for 30-day free DSL service trials. Given the economics of high-speed networking businesses, don't expect much more.

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