An Honest CenturyLink Review, According to Customers

CenturyLink is a surprising customer pleaser that’s trying to step up its fiber game.

CenturyLink Internet at a glance
Centurylink
Overall Quality ⁃ 3.7/5
bullet 3.5/5 - Speed and reliability
bullet 3.8/5 - Dollar value
bullet 3.8/5 - Customer experience
man popping out of a laptop with a speech bubbles with Wi-Fi, thumbs up, piggy bank
Brianne Sandorf
May 30, 2024
Icon Time To Read7 min read

CenturyLink Internet includes both DSL and fiber (which are very different) at affordable prices. It doesn’t have contracts or data limits, and its customer service is well rated.

“CenturyLink has been reliable and affordable and offers enough speed for the average household,” says Cai Crawford, a customer (and Reviews.org staffer) who lives in South Jordan, Utah.

The main drawback to CenturyLink is its availability. It serves only a third of the U.S., and the slower DSL service is much more widely available than fiber—though CenturyLink intends to fix that.

Info Box

Honest reviews written by real people

Why should you trust Reviews.org? Because we are real people writing these reviews, and we talk to real people in order to do our research.

Our brand partners do not see or approve our articles before they are published, but we make a commission if you click an affiliate link. Learn more about Reviews.org on our About Us page.

reviews.org next zip logo
Look for CenturyLink service at your location.

Get to know CenturyLink: Plans and pricing

Plan
Price
Download speed
Internet type
Details
Simply Unlimited Internet Up to 40-80 Mbps$55/mo.*Up to 80 MbpsDSL
Simply Unlimited Internet 100 Mbps$55/mo.Up to 100 MbpsDSL
Simply Unlimited Internet 140 Mbps$55/mo.Up to 140 MbpsDSL
CenturyLink Fiber Internet 500 Mbps$50/mo.*Up to 500 MbpsFiber
CenturyLink Fiber Gigabit$75/mo.^Up to 940 MbpsFiber
* Service is not available everywhere. Offer is available to qualifying customers only. Limited time offer. Paperless billing required. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply.
Speed may not be available in your area. Paperless billing or prepay required. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. Get the fastest internet speed available at your location (max speed is up to 100 Mbps).
Speed may not be available in your area. Paperless billing or prepay required. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. Get the fastest internet speed available at your location (max speed is up to 140 Mbps).
^ Speed may not be available in your area. Maximum download/upload speed of up to 940 Mbps via a wired connection. Paperless billing required. Taxes and fees apply. Offer details. Offer includes professional installation at customer’s eligible location

CenturyLink deals in newfangled fiber internet sent through fiber-optic cables as well as old-fashioned DSL internet that runs through a phone line. Its DSL offers speeds anywhere from 80 to 140Mbps for $55 a month.

The fiber offering is a better deal—the 500Mbps plan is actually cheaper than DSL. There’s also a plan to goes up to 940Mbps for $75 a month, but most households don’t need that much speed. But take note—you probably don’t have your choice of DSL or fiber. You can probably find only one or the other in your neighborhood.

All in all, CenturyLink offers a pretty good deal. Neither the fiber nor DSL services are outrageously expensive, and the fiber speeds are excellent. You may have to dish out some money for installation or equipment rental, but there are no overage or contract cancellation fees, not even for the DSL plans.

You’re likely better off choosing a different provider if only CenturyLink’s DSL serves where you live, but that plan could be a great pick if you live in a rural area or small town where your only other options are satellite or fixed wireless.

Does CenturyLink DSL have contracts?
Info Box

No. CenturyLink might have DSL service, but it’s not very old school apart from the connection type. Neither CenturyLink’s DSL nor fiber have annual contracts or data limits. 

CenturyLink fees for modem and installation

Installation

$99.00 to $149.00 one-time fee

Modem rental

$15.00/mo.

Modem purchase

$200.00 one-time fee

Data as of 05/10/2024.

What makes this review legit?

Our fact-based research process centers on interviews with internet customers across the country to help us understand how internet services hold up against diverse needs and challenges.

To put together this review, we spoke with six CenturyLink customers, reached out to a spokesperson, and read a lot of confusing information about how CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber relate. We also compared CenturyLink’s prices with all its major competitors, read the fine print about installation and equipment costs, looked at results from our speed test, and pored over a range of customer satisfaction surveys and other data.

how we review products and services

The rundown—CenturyLink by our criteria

For all our internet reviews, we give a rating based on three main criteria: Speed and reliability, dollar value, and customer experience—which we then average to make an overall score.

Want to know how CenturyLink stacks up? See our full take below.

Overall score: 3.7/5

Speed and reliability

internet speed
3.5/5.0

You can count on excellent speeds from CenturyLink’ fiber service, which is capable of hitting download and upload speeds up to 940Mbps—plenty of bandwidth to support streaming, gaming, video calls, livestreams, and lots more on multiple devices.

The customers we spoke to were all happy with the speeds they were getting, and even DSL customers had good things to say. “They are faster, cheaper, and more reliable than my previous cable internet,” says Bruce of Hurricane, Utah, a CenturyLink customer since 2019.

DSL is normally a sluggish service. Technically, it tops out at 100Mbps, and speeds are often much slower than that. CenturyLink’s non-fiber service is DSL, but the provider is able to deliver faster speeds in some areas using a technique called pair bonding, which uses twice the amount of paired copper wiring to deliver data and thus increases the connection’s total possible bandwidth to 140Mbps.

Reviews.org’s proprietary speed test tells a slightly different speed story. According to our data, CenturyLink’s average download speed is 54.83Mbps, far slower than its cable and fiber competitors. The slower speeds are likely because CenturyLink’s DSL network is much bigger than its fiber network. But even with these slower speeds, CenturyLink still beats out satellite internet providers, including Starlink.

Bruce’s assessment of CenturyLink’s reliability is right on the money, though—everyone we spoke with agrees the service is dependable.

Dollar value

dollar value
3.8/5.0

CenturyLink's dollar value is up to scratch with its affordable prices, decent advertised speeds, no contracts, and unlimited data.

“It’s an extremely good deal for very high speed,” Bruce enthuses.

Compared to its main DSL competitor, EarthLink, CenturyLink offers higher speeds at lower prices. Its fiber prices aren’t bad, either—just a little more per Mbps than flagship fiber provider Google Fiber. If you had to choose between DSL and fiber, we definitely recommend fiber as the better deal. CenturyLink’s 500Mbps fiber plan is actually cheaper than the slower and less reliable DSL plans—a common trend you can see with other DSL providers as this increasingly outdated connection type drops in popularity.

Pro tip:
CenturyLink used to have a Price for Life guarantee, but unfortunately, new customers no longer appear to be eligible. Still, CenturyLink is a good deal even with a modest price increase. And if things get too expensive, you can take advantage of the lack of contracts to bail and switch to a new provider.

Customer experience

customer experience
3.8/5.0

The CenturyLink customer experience varies. DSL customers have slower, less stable connections than fiber customers, which is a point of contention for some.

“I wish they upgraded to fiber someday,” says DSL customer Peter C. of Phoenix, Arizona. The first time he contacted customer service, the reps were quick to reply. But he’s only needed to contact customer service a couple times in his history with the provider—a good sign, since it means that he doesn’t have to deal with

In contrast, Cai Crawford of South Jordan, Utah, had a completely different experience getting help with his fiber service. “They were not very responsive when I did have an issue,” he says. Other CenturyLink customers also complained that some service representatives aren’t always helpful, appearing to rely heavily on scripts and making generic troubleshooting suggestions.

HighSpeedInternet.com’s research indicates that CenturyLink customer service is okay but could be better. The company scored 3.5 on HighSpeedInternet.com’s customer satisfaction survey, just below average. Meanwhile, in the American Customer Satisfaction Index survey for 2023, CenturyLink’s fiber service took second place with 78 points, while its DSL came in at 62 points—four points below average.

How long it took to get a real human on the phone: I was on the phone for about two minutes but never reached a real human—the bot hung up on me after I declined to share my address. I probably would have gotten through if I’d had an existing account.

How the chat service is: The chat service connected me to a fellow called Michael S., but I’m not sure if he was fully human. Some of his responses seemed canned, and I had to repeat myself a few times to get a direct answer to a simple question (Are the plan prices listed on your website?).

Overall quality

overall quality
3.7/5.0

Overall, CenturyLink holds its own for a provider with mostly DSL plans. The plans are fast and reliable enough for home use, prices are reasonable, and customer service isn’t utterly awful. We definitely recommend the fiber over DSL, though.

CenturyLink add-ons and perks

CenturyLink doesn’t offer the type of eye-popping internet deals you can get from other major internet providers, but new customers can sometimes take advantage of smaller add-ons and perks.


Add premium streaming channels to your order

Ask a representative


Get 20% off Bark online monitoring

Ask a representative


What do customers think of CenturyLink?

The six customers we spoke with were highly positive about most aspects of CenturyLink internet.

“I love that I've never had an issue with service,” says Reddit user FearthePack, who gets fiber internet from CenturyLink at his home in a major Minnesota metro area. FearthePack sounds borderline ecstatic with their CenturyLink package, especially since they were lucky enough to sign up when prices were lower and the Price for Life guarantee was available. As the policy promised, they get the same price on their plan year after year, with no worries about price hikes.

“Service is generally really good.” -Cai Crawford

Cai Crawford, a staffer on the Reviews.org team, agrees that the service is excellent. “It's hard to beat the price I have, and service is generally really good.” However, he once had to deal with a bothersome technical malfunction.

Recently, CenturyLink technicians accidentally cut a line while running fiber to a nearby street. The damage left Crawford and his neighbors without Wi-Fi for an evening—a major inconvenience, especially if you have important work to do or a TV series that you’ve been dying to binge-watch.

“They ended up getting it fixed the next morning,” Crawford recalls with a shake of the head. “Reaching support took half an hour or so, even though the outage was relatively localized—only a few dozen homes, I think. And they were really slow to get me an estimated timeline for the repair.”

Need to contact CenturyLink customer service or tech support?

Here’s what to do:

Digging deeper: Are CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber the same?

CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber aren’t the same. The same parent brand, Lumen, owns both, but Lumen makes clear on the CenturyLink website that CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber are discrete services. “While Quantum Fiber and CenturyLink are related, they’re on different paths,” the company says.

While CenturyLink Fiber and Quantum Fiber plans are identical, fiber plans still labeled with CenturyLink’s name aren’t part of the Quantum Fiber service at this time. Eventually, though, CenturyLink fiber customers will upgrade to Quantum Fiber.

“We are transitioning CenturyLink Fiber to the Quantum Fiber brand,” says Lumen spokesperson Courtney Morton. “Going forward, all new fiber-enabled locations will be Quantum Fiber.”

Some customers we spoke with have already transitioned, while others are waiting for the change.

Why the switch? Some folks suggest that Lumen is using the brand change to eliminate the CenturyLink 2017 “Price for Life” guarantee contracts, but that’s a rumor without clear evidence. It is true, however, that CenturyLink has been challenged in a class-action lawsuit for allegedly violating the guarantee.

Email
Have thoughts about home internet?

We’re eager to hear from internet customers about their experiences with their home Wi-Fi. Contact us at info@reviews.org to share your thoughts, recommendations, and hot tips.

Where is CenturyLink available?

CenturyLink is available in 16 states in the West and Midwest. Not every plan is available in every area, so you may not have access to fiber everywhere.

reviews.org next zip logo
See if you live at an address eligible for CenturyLink internet.

CenturyLink vs. the competition

CenturyLink holds up well next to competitors. In the DSL realm, it’s much more affordable than EarthLink. For instance, EarthLink charges $70 a month for 45Mbps; CenturyLink charges $55 a month for a minimum of 80Mbps. However, CenturyLink is far less available than EarthLink. So if you move a lot, EarthLink is probably a more realistic option.

CenturyLink’s fiber price-to-Mbps ratio is relatively close to other providers, like AT&T and Google. And it comes with a lot of the same perks, like no contracts, overage fees, or data limits. Rest easy knowing that you’re getting a solid deal when you sign up for CenturyLink fiber.

Compare internet providers and prices

Service
Prices
Download speed
Upload speed
Connection type
Details
CenturyLink Internet$50-$75°100-940 Mbps10-940 MbpsDSL/Fiber
Earthlink Internet$54.95-$189.95**45-5000 Mbps6-5000 MbpsFiber, DSL, fixed wireless
Google Fiber$70-$150††1000-8000 Mbps1000-8000 MbpsFiber
AT&T Fiber$55-$225‡‡300-5000 Mbps300-5000 MbpsFiber
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet$60.00/mo.^^72–245Mbps15–31Mbps5G
Verizon Fios Home Internet$49.99-$89.99°°300-2300 Mbps10-2300 MbpsFiber
Spectrum Internet®$19.99-$89.9930-1000 Mbps***4-35 MbpsCable
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
° Speed may not be available in your area. Paperless billing or prepay required. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply.
** With a 12 month contract.
†† Plus taxes and fees. Upload/download speed and device streaming claims are based on maximum wired speeds. Actual Internet speeds are not guaranteed and may vary based on factors such as hardware and software limitations, latency, packet loss, etc.
‡‡ Price after $5/mo Autopay & Paperless bill discount (w/in 2 bills). Plus taxes $ fees. Limited availability. May not be available in your area.
^^ w/ Auto Pay. Regulatory fees included in monthly price for qualified accounts. See full terms.
°° Price per month with Auto Pay & without select 5G mobile plans. Fios plan prices include taxes & fees
*** Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter.

Want CenturyLink? Find it in your area.

If you’re sold on CenturyLink, check to see if you’re in a service locale.

reviews.org next zip logo
See if CenturyLink is an option for you.
Brianne Sandorf
Written by
Brianne Sandorf
Brianne has a degree in English and creative writing from Westminster College and has spent 6+ years writing professional, research-based content. Before joining Reviews.org, she wrote safety and security content for ASecureLife.com. Her pieces and quotes are published across the web, including on MSN.com, Social Catfish, and Parents.com. Hobbies include wearing a seatbelt, wearing a life jacket, and keeping her arms and legs inside the ride at all times. Contact her at brianne@reviews.org.

Related Articles

An Asian woman props her head up on a pillow while watching TV.
Which Internet Providers Have Unlimited Data?
Running out of data? Consider switching to one of these internet providers with high or...
How-to-Get-Internet-Without-Phone-Cable-TV_feat (1)
Best No Contract Internet Providers
We talked to customers and consulted the data to find the very best no-contract ISPs....
Compare Unlimited Internet Plans Without Data Caps
Compare Unlimited Internet Plans Without Data Caps
If you don’t let anyone slow you down, you’ll love our list of internet providers...
An Asian woman sits at a wooden table with her laptop
Comcast Xfinity Discounts: A Loyal Customer Explains How To Get Cheaper Internet
Find the best deals and promotions for Xfinity internet—and get tips on other ways to...