DSL vs. Starlink: Is DSL better than Starlink?

About DSL vs. Starlink, the Digital service line (DSL) is among the oldest internet access technologies, though it remains relevant today.

But how does it fare in comparison to satellite internet?

The primary difference is that satellite internet doesn’t require transmission cables like DSL.

However, that’s not the only variation you’ll learn from this DSL vs. Starlink guide.

Find out in detail how each fares in different parameters. 

Table of Contents

What Is DSL Internet?

Digital subscriber line (DSL) is an internet technology that uses conventional telephone lines for data transmission.

The technology delivers faster speeds than dial-up internet, and although fiber and cable internet are faster, DSL remains a popular option. 

Its main selling point is that its accessible even in rural areas, like satellite internet. 

DSL Icon. 

DSL Icon. 

Here is a side-by-side comparison of DSL vs. Starlink Internet. 


Starlink is available in US and Canada. 

Starlink is available in US and Canada. 

You can access Starlink’s internet from anywhere in the US and Canada.

Although Starlink is not fully available in all areas, you can still use its internet even while moving, thanks to the Starlink RV package

Moreover, Starlink is present in rural areas where no other internet service is available.

Therefore, you can rely on it anytime you want an internet connection, even on a short-term basis, as you don’t need a contractual arrangement to access the service. 

DSL internet is also widely available, but the fundamental requirement is that your house must have an operational working telephone line.

However, you can always ask an ISP to install the lines to your house if it is absent. 

Winner: Starlink Internet. 


Slow and fast internet concept. 

Slow and fast internet concept. 

With Starlink, you’re assured of top download speeds of approximately 200Mbps making it a reliably fast internet service.

Also, there are limited downtimes with Starlink as the internet service is available at top speeds at almost all times. 

DSL internet is also relatively faster than the former dial-up internet service.

Its download speeds can rise as high as 400 Mbps.

Therefore, it is a reliable internet option for your home, provided it’s cheaper than cable internet. 

Winner: A tie


A young woman on a video conference. 

A young woman on a video conference. 

DSL internet has less latency than Starlink, making it ideal for video calls and online gaming activities. 

Starlink is still better in latency than other satellite internet options, such as Hughesnet, which uses geostationary satellites.

On average, Starlink’s latency is around 50ms. 

Hence, of the two options, DSL has lower pings and better latency than Starlink, but this depends on factors such as the proximity of your home from your ISP, among others. 

Winner: DSL Internet. 


A Starlink Satellite. 

A Starlink Satellite. 

Depending on your data use and requirements, you can subscribe to any of the two Starlink’s main packages. 

First, the Starter package has a contract term, data cap, and maximum speed of 20Mbps.

Also, you can opt for the Starlink Unlimited package with no limitations and a maximum speed of 200Mbps. 

On average, the cost of either of the packages ranges between $199-$249, depending on the internet speed you choose. 

Conversely, DSL is cheap and has a better package combining internet and phone services.

The internet comes at top speeds of  400 Mbps; the costs are relatively lower than Starlink’s especially given that with DSL, you get two services at a go. 

Winner: DSL is a more affordable option. 

Equipment and Installation

Starlink antenna. 

Starlink antenna. 

DSL is cheap as you incur zero equipment costs with an existing telephone line.

You only need to hire an installation professional, although some ISPs have modems you can self-install. 

Starlink charges $599 for equipment, although this is a one-time charge, and the amount is refundable in case you quit the service.

But this makes it more pricey than DSL service, whose equipment cost is unlikely to rise to that value. 

However, you don’t need a professional to install Starlink, as its kit comes with the self-install feature. 

Winner: DSL Internet. 

Customer Service

Online chat. 

Online chat. 

It is easy to access Starlink’s customer service representatives through either of the following two main avenues: 

  • Via an online forum
  • By calling them directly

The advantage of the online forum is that it features responses to common issues raised by other customers.

Hence, it would be best to consider checking the forum before engaging the agents via calls. 

Conversely, you can communicate with most DSL service providers via the chat feature on their sites.

Also, they have a call service, so you can reach out through this channel if there’s a queue on the chat platform. 

Winner: It’s a tie. 

For Gaming

Online Gaming. 

If you’re a gamer, either of the internet services is ideal, although they are not as good as other fast and low latency options such as fiber internet.

Starlink is better than other satellite internet options such as Viasat and HughesNet primarily because its satellites are very close to the earth’s surface. 

DSL service, on the other hand, is also ideal.

Primarily, it guarantees unlimited access to the internet for the more expensive packages.

You can also choose it for gaming, but with other faster options, Starlink and DSL should be second choices. 

Winner: It’s a tie

The DSL Pros and Cons

DSL Internet ProsDSL Internet Cons
It is a cheap internet option that allows you to customize your package’s features depending on your budget. It is not available anywhere, and you cannot access it if you don’t have a telephone line connection. 
The internet service is fast, with relatively high bandwidth and upload speeds of 8Mbps. It is incompatible with wireless devices. 
It is easy to set up as it doesn’t require sophisticated equipment. 
Starlink ProsStarlink Cons
With the basic package, you’re assured of excellent internet speeds of up to 200Mbps. Starlink Internet is pretty expensive (from the equipment to monthly costs).
It has a lower latency than widely available alternatives such as cable internet. Unlike DSL, it doesn’t come with bundled phone service. Hence, you need to spend further on phone service. 
Starlink gives customers services depending on their internet needs and budget.

Starlink is the better option if you’re looking for a speedy connection and top download and upload speeds.

It is also consistent and doesn’t experience frequent lags. 

You may still opt for DSL if you are cost-conscious and don’t need fast internet connection speeds.

But overall, Starlink fares better than DSL, although the high costs of the former are a big issue. 


DSL remains a viable internet service if a phone line is connected to your home.

However, it would be best to consider Starlink, especially for speed and reliability.

From our guide, we’ve equipped you with all the insights on the two internet services.

Hence, we leave it to you to decide which fits your needs and budget best.