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CenturyLink Internet Review 2022
All CenturyLink internet plans now have unlimited data, but you could end up with bumbling DSL download speeds.
We've taken another look at CenturyLink's internet plans and updated our review with all the new, juicy details. Here's how this DSL internet provider stacks up going into 2022.
CenturyLink's internet service comes with a handful of perks that make it appealing to anyone on a budget: unlimited data, low prices, no contract, and a price lock guarantee.
But those perks might not outweigh the downsides of confusing download speed availability, lackluster internet speeds, and notoriously difficult customer service.
Let’s compare the pros and cons of CenturyLink internet service and find out if it’s right for you.
CenturyLink prices and plans
CenturyLink offers two types of plans: DSL, which you're most likely to see, and fiber.
Both plans are reasonably priced, though the Fiber Internet plan is the better deal if you can get it where you live.
The value for the Simply Unlimited Internet plan depends on what speeds you can get. CenturyLink promises to connect you to the fastest speed in your area—anywhere from 15 to 100 Mbps. So you can see why your download speed determines whether the $50 a month price is good value or not.
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.
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
If you live in a rural area, CenturyLink is a great option, but it's also worth checking out other good rural ISPs like Kinetic by Windstream to see which one offers more coverage in your area.
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.
Is CenturyLink internet cheap?
CenturyLink internet prices are some of the lowest of the low. Combine that with its price lock promise, 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.
As for the CenturyLink Fiber Internet plan, you'll be hard-pressed to find a lower price from other fiber internet plans with gig speeds. A couple of internet service providers (ISPs) with gig plans come close in price, like Frontier Fiber Internet 500 plan, Xfinity’s Gigabit plan and AT&T Fiber’s Internet 1,000 plan.
|CenturyLink Internet||$30–$70||100–940 Mbps||DSL/Fiber||View Plans|
|Frontier Fiber Internet||$44.99–$154.99||500–5000 Mbps||Fiber||View Plans|
|AT&T Fiber||$55–$180||300–5000 Mbps||Fiber||View Plans|
|Cox Internet||$49.99–$109.99||100–1000 Mbps||Cable||View Plans|
|Xfinity Internet||$19.99–$80||75–1200 Mbps||Cable/Fiber||View Plans|
CenturyLink internet speed and data
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.
It’s important to know how fast your download speeds need to be. Pay for speeds that are too slow, and your kiddos will start nagging you about their TV shows buffering all the time. Pay for speeds that are too fast, and you’ll likely pay too much money each month.
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.
Compared to Xfinity, Cox, or AT&T Fiber, you'll likely see slower actual speeds from CenturyLink's DSL internet. But its Fiber Internet plan should keep up with the pack.
Advertised download speeds
Advertised upload speeds
|CenturyLink Internet||100–940 Mbps||10–940 Mbps||DSL/Fiber||View Plans|
|AT&T Internet||75–100 Mbps||8–100 Mbps||DSL||View Plans|
|AT&T Fiber||300–5000 Mbps||300–5000 Mbps||Fiber||View Plans|
|Cox Internet||100–1000 Mbps||5–35 Mbps||Cable||View Plans|
|Xfinity Internet||75–1200 Mbps||10–35 Mbps||Cable/Fiber||View Plans|
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
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 up to $15.00 a month to rent one of its modems. Or you can pay a one-time fee of up to $200 to purchase your modem outright.
- CenturyLink modem rental: Up to $15/mo.
- CenturyLink modem purchase: Up to $200 one-time cost
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.
|Zyxel C1100Z (Renewed)||DSL plan||$149.97||3.5 out of 5 stars|
|Greenwave C4000LG||DSL plan||$264.41||4 out of 5 stars|
|Actiontec C3000A||DSL plan||$275.99||4 out of 5 stars|
|Greenwave C4000XG||Fiber plan||$207.96||3.5 out of 5 stars|
|Zyxel C3000Z||All plans||$229.95|
4 out of 5 stars
Data effective 05/24/2022. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*Amazon.com List Prices (as of 05/24/2022 at 1:07 PM 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.)
Are you stuck with your modem in a far corner of your basement? A Wi-Fi extender might help get that wireless connection all the way up to your second floor so you can watch Netflix in bed. (#LifeGoals)
CenturyLink doesn’t hammer you with any extra fees out of the blue, although it does charge $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: $99 one-time fee
- Early termination fees: None
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 dropped from a score of 63 out of 100 in 2020 to 62 out of 100 in 2021.2 And that’s below the industry average of 65 out of 100.
|ACSI 2020–2021||62 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, take a quick look at these customer service tips to make your experience at least a teensy bit better.
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 11/30/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*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).
**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.
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.
CenturyLink’s download speed isn’t the most reliable—it scored 28th out of 38 different internet providers in our 2021 analysis of 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 low monthly prices.
EarthLink and CenturyLink are similar providers but are two separate companies. Both providers offer high-speed DSL and fiber internet with a variety of pricing options.