SBC Yahoo DSL offers fast, reliable broadband at a bargain price. In fact, it's cheaper than a lot of dial-up ISPs, including America Online. How cheap? It costs just $14.95 per month for SBC Yahoo DSL Express and $24.95 per month for the faster DSL Pro with a one-year contract. Without a contract, SBC's month-to-month plans are overpriced: $49.95 for DSL Express, or $55.99 for DSL Pro. Obviously, SBC's cut-rate broadband has proven popular; the service has 6 million subscribers in its 13-state region, which includes California, Texas, Connecticut, and a large swath of the Midwest. Overall, we think EarthLink offers a better package.
|Monthly price||$15.95 for SBC Dial (six-month contract), or $21.95 for month-to-month service. Or $9.95 when ordered with a qualifying package of SBC phone services.||With a one-year contract, $14.95 for DSL Express; $24.95 for DSL Pro. On the month-to-month plan, DSL Express is $49.95, and DSL Pro is $59.99.|
|Setup fee||No setup or activation fee.||No setup or activation fee. If you require a technician to install DSL, it'll cost $200.|
|Equipment fee||You supply the analog modem.||DSL Modem: price $99.00 - $49.01 instant credit = $49.99 - $49.99 mail-in rebate = $0 (taxes and a $12.95 shipping and handling fee apply).
Wireless Home Networking Kit: price $149.00 - $49.01 instant credit = $99.99 - $49.99 mail-in rebate = $50 (taxes and a $12.95 shipping and handling fee apply).
Wireless Home Networking Bundle for laptops: price $179.00 - $49.01 instant credit = $129.99 - $49.99 mail-in rebate = $80 (taxes and a $12.95 shipping and handling fee apply).
DSL Router: price $199.00 - $119.01 instant credit = $79.99 - $79.99 mail-in rebate = $0 (applicable taxes apply).
|Contract length||Six months for $15.95-per-month package.||One year|
|Early termination fee||$25||$200|
|Support||(ex: Available M-F, 9-5 PT)||24/7 phone and Web-based support|
Setup is easy. Unlike cable broadband, SBC Yahoo DSL is a do-it-yourself install. (For $200, SBC will install it for you, though.) After ordering SBC Yahoo DSL via phone or the Web, you receive an installation CD, the required cables, and a DSL modem or router in the mail. Our setup kit arrived within a week. The well-organized CD uses illustrations to guide you through hardware setup, which consists mostly of connecting the DSL modem or router to the PC, an AC outlet, and a phone line. You'll also have to place a DSL line filter (supplied by SBC) on every phone, fax, or answering machine that shares the same line. Software installation involves a few mouse clicks and some minimal data entry and is painless. We were done within an hour.
SBC Yahoo's basic DSL modem, the Siemens 5100, is free, but if you have multiple computers, consider purchasing the $50 2Wire Home Portal 1701HG, a wireless gateway for the home that lets you connect computers, printers, audio streamers, and other peripherals via Ethernet (four ports), USB (one port), or Wi-Fi. The $80 Wireless Home Networking bundle for laptops from SBC Yahoo adds an 802.11g wireless PC Card adapter. (Note: All prices are after rebates. You'll also pay sales tax and a $12.95 shipping fee.)
SBC Yahoo provides a respectable security bundle, too, including antispyware and antispam tools. It uses Norton AntiVirus to scan e-mail on the server, and Computer Associates' antivirus software--an optional free download--for the desktop. E-mail storage is plentiful: 2GB for each of your 11 mail accounts. DSL Express and DSL Pro each include one dynamic IP address. For a static IP address, you'll need to upgrade to the SBC Yahoo Static IP package, which provides five static addresses. Unlike EarthLink, SBC Yahoo does not include free Web site creation, although, separately, Yahoo GeoCities does offer 15MB sites for free.
Using the CNET Bandwidth Meter, SBC Yahoo DSL performance was impressive in our tests from the greater Los Angeles area, with download speeds for DSL Express ranging from 926Kbps to 1151Kbps. Performance can very widely from location to location. We encourage you to check out our user comments and add share your own experiences.
SBC's 24/7 toll-free phone support deserves kudos as well. We were able to connect quickly to SBC tech reps, even on weekends, although we had to navigate a tedious automated attendant to reach them. The techs were polite and provided adequate answers to our setup and antivirus questions.