CenturyLink Internet Review 2021
All of CenturyLink’s DSL plans now have unlimited data, which makes the internet service provider a pretty enticing option. This internet service provider (ISP) gives you a lot of value and a lot of bang for your buck.
But do those perks outweigh the downsides of confusing download speed availability, lackluster internet speeds, and notoriously difficult customer service?
Let’s dig into those CenturyLink internet details and find out if it’s right for you.
|Plan||Price||Download speed||Connection type||Details|
|Simply Unlimited Internet||$50*||Up to 100 Mbps||DSL||View Plans|
|CenturyLink Fiber Internet||$65†||940 Mbps||Fiber||View Plan|
- Unlimited data for all plans
- No contracts and no cancellation fees
- Gig fiber internet option for select cities
- Confusing availability for download speeds
- Not-so-great speed performance (28th out of 38 ISPs)
- Poor customer service
CenturyLink prices and plans
CenturyLink earned our Editor’s Choice thanks to its Price for Life guarantee and low prices.
CenturyLink’s DSL internet plan speeds range from 15 to 100 Mbps, while its Fiber Internet plan pushes the limit all the way to 940 Mbps. But most of us in CenturyLink’s service area will likely get the DSL plans.
|Plan||Price||Download speed||Data cap||Details|
|Simply Unlimited Internet||$50*||Up to 100 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|CenturyLink Fiber Internet||$65†||940 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
CenturyLink connects you to the fastest speed you can get in your area—anywhere from 15 to 100 Mbps.
While it’s nice to know you’re paying the same price for the most juice CenturyLink can give you, you may not like starting out somewhat clueless about what download speed you’ll get. We feel you.
But CenturyLink still has a few cards up its sleeves, like unlimited data, comparatively cheap prices, and a large service area, that may turn the tables.
Is CenturyLink internet cheap?
CenturyLink internet prices are some of the lowest of the low. Combine that with the Price for Life guarantee on its DSL internet plans, and you’ve got a recipe for some of the cheapest internet in the US.
Of course, that depends on what CenturyLink speeds you get in your area.
If you’re stuck with some of its slower plans, like 15 and 20 Mbps, you’ll find a few cheaper internet plans out there. (Shout out to Cox’s 10 and 50 Mbps plans and the Xfinity 100 Mbps plan. But remember, both Cox’s and Xfinity’s prices go up after about a year.)
Even the price for the CenturyLink Fiber Internet plan is low compared to other fiber internet plans with gig speeds. A couple of ISPs come close in price, like Xfinity’s Gigabit plan in the northeastern US. And AT&T Fiber’s Internet 1,000 plan is one of the few gigabit plans that ring in at a lower price.
|Provider||Monthly price||Download speeds||Learn more|
|CenturyLink Internet||$50–$65‡||100–940 Mbps||View Plans|
|AT&T Fiber||$35–$60^||300–940 Mbps||View Plans|
|Xfinity Internet||$34.99–$94.99°||50–1200 Mbps||View Plans|
Where can you get CenturyLink internet?
Currently, CenturyLink offers internet service in 36 different states, including Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Minnesota, and North Carolina, among others. Unfortunately, those in states like California and New York can’t get CenturyLink internet.
In the internet availability map above, states in dark blue have more CenturyLink internet coverage, while states in light blue have less coverage. And states in gray have no CenturyLink internet coverage.
As for the CenturyLink Fiber Internet plan, it’s available only in these 19 cities:1
- Phoenix, Arizona
- Tucson, Arizona
- Boulder, Colorado
- Denver, Colorado
- Fort Myers/Cape Coral, Florida
- Ocala/The Villages, Florida
- Orlando, Florida
- Idaho Falls/Pocatello, Idaho
- Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
- Columbia/Jefferson City, Missouri
- Springfield, Missouri
- Omaha, Nebraska
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Portland, Oregon
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- Seattle-Tacoma, Washington
- Spokane, Washington
- La Crosse, Wisconsin
- Platteville, Wisconsin
To double-check that CenturyLink internet is in your city or town, enter your zip code below, and we’ll pull up all the internet providers near you. Easy, peasy.
CenturyLink internet speed and data
CenturyLink’s speeds may fall short of your expectations, but the ISP offers unlimited data on all its plans.
We mentioned before that CenturyLink’s DSL internet hooks you up with the fastest possible download speeds in your area, up to 100 Mbps, of course.
And if you live in one of the cities with CenturyLink Fiber Internet, your download speeds will skyrocket to 940 Mbps.
|Plan||Download speed||Upload speed||Data cap||Details|
|Simply Unlimited Internet||Up to 100 Mbps||30 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|CenturyLink Fiber Internet||940 Mbps||940 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
We’ll help you figure out how much internet speed you need so you can pull a Goldilocks and pick the plan that’s just right.
Is CenturyLink internet fast?
Most of CenturyLink’s internet connections are DSL. That puts it at a slight disadvantage when compared to speeds from cable and fiber internet providers.
So it’s not much of a surprise that CenturyLink didn’t earn top marks in our latest report on the fastest internet providers. It ranked 28th out of the 38 ISPs we analyzed, below other DSL providers like AT&T. Still, CenturyLink’s weighted speed score was several ranks above providers like Windstream, Viasat, and HughesNet.
|Provider||Overall score||DSL providers score|
|CenturyLink||20.2 out of 100 (28th)||9th out of 10|
All of CenturyLink’s internet plans come with unlimited data. This is a great option for someone who works from home, as it provides a seamless experience for uploading multiple large files, video streaming, and even generating a hotspot for your tablet, computer or phone.
- CenturyLink data cap: Unlimited
CenturyLink contracts, equipment, and fees
No contracts, no early termination fees. CenturyLink just charges you for your modem and installation.
Cue the hallelujahs. CenturyLink doesn’t make you sign a contract for any of its internet plans.
That means you keep your service for as long as you want and duck out at any time with no early termination fees (ETF) raining on your parade.
But what about equipment and other fees? Here’s what you can expect from CenturyLink on those fronts.
Sometimes renting your ISP’s equipment is the easy way. With CenturyLink, you’ll pay $9.99 a month to rent one of its modems—or you can pay a one-time fee of $99.99 to purchase your modem outright. (That $99.99 one-time fee is cheaper than prices we’ve seen listed on Amazon too.)
- CenturyLink modem rental: $9.99/mo.
- CenturyLink modem purchase: $99.99 one-time fee
If you’re a new customer, CenturyLink will likely hook you up with one of its newest modems.
Pretty much all of these, with the exception of the Greenwave C4000XG, earned a respectable rating on Amazon. So you shouldn’t feel like you need to bring your own modem and router unless you really want to.
|Modem||Compatibility||Amazon price*||Amazon rating|
|Actiontec C3000A||DSL plans||$379.00||4 out of 5 stars|
|Greenwave C4000LG||DSL plans||N/A||N/A|
|Greenwave C4000XG||Fiber plan||$189.95||2.5 out of 5 stars|
|Technicolor C1100T (Renewed)||DSL plans||$109.99||4 out of 5 stars|
|Zyxel C1100Z||DSL plans||$128.89||4 out of 5 stars|
|Zyxel C3000Z||All plans||$269.98||4 out of 5 stars|
Data effective 12/7/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*Amazon.com List Prices (as of 12/7/2020 9:30 AM MST).
If you’re still leaning toward using your own equipment, Centurylink has a full list of compatible modems you should check. If you’re on the Fiber Internet plan, be aware that you’ll need to double-check that the modem you choose supports fiber technology and speeds up to 940 Mbps. (Otherwise, you’ll end up with slow internet speeds, among other troubles.)
CenturyLink doesn’t hammer you with any extra fees out of the blue, although it does charge $59.99 to install your internet devices and service.
Of course, from time to time, CenturyLink also runs free installation promotions. So if that one-time installation fee is making you hesitate, wait for a bit and see if you can land free installation instead.
- Installation fee: $59.99 one-time fee
- Early termination fees: None
CenturyLink subscribers say its customer service is a headache, but then again, so is most internet customer service. . .
We wish internet providers would level up their customer service efforts. This goes for pretty much every ISP out there, not just CenturyLink.
It was nice to see CenturyLink make an effort and bump up its score in the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report. It jumped from a score of 59 out of 100 in 2019 to 63 out of 100 in 2020—but that’s still below the industry average of 65 out of 100.4 But at least it’s headed in the right direction.
|ACSI 2020||63 out of 100|
But a number doesn’t tell the whole story. We talked to a handful of CenturyLink customers that we know, and almost all of them said they’ve had bad experiences with its customer service department.
One customer, Candice, told us her CenturyLink technician never showed up on the day her installation was scheduled.
She called customer service and CenturyLink ended up telling her that someone canceled her appointment. Candice finally managed to get her installation date rescheduled, but only after she talked to multiple people. Even then, her family didn’t have internet for six days.
Installation issues like this can be a real pain, just like outages and slow internet speeds. If your internet is on the fritz, check out our guide on what to do if your CenturyLink internet isn’t working. Or, if you end up having to call customer service, take a quick look at these tips to make your experience at least a teensy bit better:
- Don’t call unless you have to. Email, use live chat, or check social media instead. That way, you don’t put your life on hold while your call is on hold.
- Get everything in writing. If a promise is made, a refund is issued, or a price is confirmed, ask for an email detailing everything.
- Ask for a manager. If things aren’t going well—or going anywhere—don’t be afraid to ask for a manager. You gotta advocate for you!
- Be patient and kind. As they say, you catch more flies with honey. Not that you want to catch flies—but how about a deal on your internet service? Or a fix for a broken connection?
Recap: Is CenturyLink a good internet provider?
CenturyLink internet’s unlimited data plans, contract-free subscriptions, and low prices for its fast DSL and fiber internet options make it one of our top choices when it comes to value.
Of course, no internet provider is perfect, and CenturyLink does come with a few hiccups:
- If you live in a CenturyLink DSL internet area, your download speeds can range from 15 to 100 Mbps. We’d prefer a more definitive answer.
- Calling CenturyLink’s customer service “ho-hum” is a compliment. We’ve heard some horror stories—but keep in mind that pretty much every US internet provider has similar issues.
So is CenturyLink internet right for you? If the pros outweigh the cons, then yes. If you can connect to its Fiber Internet plan, even more yes.
CenturyLink internet plans recap
Data effective 12/7/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*Rate requires paperless billing. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. Speeds may not be available in your area.
**Rate requires paperless billing. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. Speeds may not be available in your area. Maximum download/upload speed of up to 940 Mbps via a wired connection.
Q: Is CenturyLink internet good for streaming?
Depending on which download speed you can get, CenturyLink should be okay for streaming. Its 80 Mbps and 100 Mbps plans should be fine even for a household of two to three people, while its Fiber Internet option has more than enough speed for even large families.
Q: How reliable is CenturyLink?
CenturyLink’s download speed isn’t the most reliable—it scored 28th out of 38 different internet providers in our most recent look at the fastest ISPs.
But if you prefer to save money over getting the fastest speeds available, CenturyLink is still an excellent choice thanks to its Price for Life guarantee and low monthly prices.
- CenturyLink, “Fiber Gigabit,” 2020. Accessed December 7, 2020.
- Catherine McNally, Reviews.org, “Fastest Internet Providers 2020,” August 2020. Accessed September 15, 2020.
- CenturyLink, “Internet Service Disclosure,” 2020. Accessed September 15, 2020.
- American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), “ACSI Telecommunications Report 2019–2020,” June 2020. Accessed September 15, 2020.
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