Is Satellite Internet Better than DSL?

What Mobile
November 12, 2020

Choosing an internet service for either a home or a business is dependent on several factors, one of which is the availability of fibre-optic cable-centric services in one’s location. That said, the bulk of today’s internet subscribers avail of a digital subscriber line or DSL as many telecommunications companies offer the service, particularly in urban areas.

However, for those in rural districts or places where conventional telecommunications networks aren’t available, the alternative is to resort to satellite internet services where data transmission occurs via geostationary satellites.

We point out several points of comparison that customers need to look at before deciding which one to use.

Four Points to Ponder

Availability: Can You Access the Internet from Where You Are?

As DSL services are readily available in most cities, it’s easy to assume that you can get them anywhere. Unfortunately, there are still many places where telecommunications companies have trouble placing fiber optic cables due to terrain and accessibility issues for maintenance.

Satellite broadband internet, on the other hand, is available anywhere in the world. As long as one has a clear and unimpeded view of the sky – and a ready satellite dish – users can quickly go online.

Reliability: How Stable is the Connection?

24-7-365 may sound like a numerical motto or slogan for a convenience store, but it also applies to a DSL connection. As long as your phone line or fibre-optic connection is okay, it’s all systems go. However, during inclement weather conditions, access will get cut if the phone lines are damaged. Even the accidental cutting of a line by an unwary technician can result in a loss of access.

The same thing goes for satellite internet. However, putting your dish and transceiver in a position covered by thick foliage or blocked by overhanging roofs may prevent signals from coming in and result in a lack of service.

Speed: How Fast Can It Go?

Access speed is where DSL excels: on average, download speeds can go as fast as 40Mbps – and that’s fast compared to the maximum speed of 15Mbps for most satellite broadband providers. Upload speeds are roughly the same, however, with both clocking in at 1 to 2Mbps.

In terms of latency (the delay incurred during data processing), DSL rates are shorter as these run between 75 to 100 milliseconds. For satellite internet, latency can run between one and two full seconds.

Price: How Much Do You Need to Spend for Your Service?

The average cost of a monthly DSL subscription ranges between $19.99 and $50 based on any add-ons that customers may want to include in their packages. Satellite internet is pricier as subscription packages begin at $50 to over $100 a month, excluding the cost of installation and whether one is buying or leasing a satellite dish.


DSL connections appeal to many internet users as these are faster, easier to install, and are reasonably priced. However, for those in far-flung areas, satellite internet is reliable enough to connect users to the net.

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