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According to Nielsen, nearly one in five American households now have some type of high-speed Internet connection. Because of regulatory tie-ups and equipment difficulties, DSL use is in only about a third of the households, but many providers are working to shine up DSL’s image and capture more customers. However, even if DSL can escape associations with its shabby past, there is still a major hurdle for potential subscribers: how to choose from among the scores of carriers?

A new Web site,, aims to help consumers understand the market and navigate their way toward selecting a local carrier. Although it requires a healthy amount of scrolling, the site’s setup is very clear and useful. Each company is on a grid for easy comparison, and the site gives information on rates, fees, contract length, bonuses, year-long cost, and geographical availability grade. After the basics, an opinion is included and coverage areas are detailed.

The nice thing about the site is its objectivity. There is no fear of a bad grade here, as shown by the “D-minus” garnered by SBC Pacific Bell. For some carriers, there is also a remarkable amount of information about their terms, and it’s presented with a clarity you’d never find in a carrier’s brochure. This simplicity of explanation also lends itself well to the FAQ section.

In terms of downsides, there are only about two dozen carriers described, and unlike, there is no opportunity for individuals to chime in about their own experiences and add opinions. But is a strong effort for a new site, and when it adds more carriers, it will undoubtedly be tough to beat as a DSL information hub.

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