CenturyLink Internet vs. Google Fiber

Both CenturyLink and Google have a streamlined approach to internet service, and their fiber plans are a great deal where available.

Best availability
Prices
$50-$75
Download Speeds
100-940 Mbps
Data Cap
Unlimited
Best prices
Prices
$70-$150
Download Speeds
1000-8000 Mbps
Data Cap
Unlimited
Easton Smith
Mar 13, 2024
Icon Time To Read8 min read

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We’re happy to report that CenturyLink and Google Fiber offer great fiber-optic plans with high speeds and no data caps or contracts. But if you're looking for a lower-speed plan, both companies leave something to be desired.

We’ve consulted a variety of sources to determine the key similarities and differences between these companies to help you determine which ISP is the best fit for you and your home.

CenturyLink Internet vs. Google Fiber: Prices and plans

Google Fiber and Centurylink offer similar deals for well-rounded 1 Gig internet, but have limited options for lower speeds.

Google Fiber is a pretty specialized provider, bringing a handful of superfast symmetrical internet plans to a handful of lucky cities across the U.S. Meanwhile, CenturyLink Internet has a comparable fiber-optic network in a handful of different cities.

Both companies offer similar 1 Gig internet plans with admirable terms of service that will likely appeal to most users. Google Fiber provides three even faster plans to meet the demands of more highly connected families, but we feel that 1,000Mbps should be plenty for the vast majority of households.

On the other end of the spectrum, CenturyLink Internet operates a DSL network with a much wider geographical reach than either company’s fiber-optic networks. While more widely available, these lower-speed DSL plans might not be the best deal in town.

Google Fiber Internet plans and prices

Google Fiber plans and prices
Plan
Price
Download speed
Upload speed
Details
1 Gig$70/mo.*1000 Mbps1000 Mbps
2 Gig$100/mo.*2000 Mbps1000 Mbps
5 Gig$125/mo.5000 Mbps5000 Mbps
8 Gig$150/mo.8000 Mbps8000 Mbps
* 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.
Available in select markets only. 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.

Google Fiber is in the business of providing only high-speed internet. The company’s internet plans start at a staggering 1,000Mbps and only go up from there.

For reference, we estimate that a family of six with ten or more connected devices would be comfortable with a 500Mbps connection for uses including HD streaming, casual gaming, running a home office, or using home security and smart home devices.

How much internet does your home really need?
Info Box

We put together an article about internet speeds to help our readers determine how much internet is enough (or too much) for their specific household needs.

Google’s entry-level 1 Gig plan will appeal to a lot of different users, including professionals, families, students, and anyone who wants reliable and fast home internet. At just $70 per month, it’s a good deal compared to other providers with similar fiber-optic plans.

And if you need more than 1,000Mbps, Google’s price per megabyte gets better as the speeds increase up to 8 Gigs (8,000Mbps) for $150 per month.

1 Gig fiber internet plans comparison
Provider
Price
Plan
Download speeds
Details
Frontier Fiber Internet$60.00/mo.1 Gig1,000Mbps
Google Fiber$70.00/mo.1 Gig1,000Mbps
CenturyLink Internet$75.00/mo.GigabitUp to 940 Mbps
AT&T Fiber$80.00/mo.Internet 10001,000Mbps
Verizon Fios Home Internet$90.00/mo.1 GigUp to 940 Mbps
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Google Fiber fees, terms, and contracts

We think customers will be happy with Google Fiber’s straightforward terms of service. None of Google’s plans require a contract, meaning you are welcome to cancel service at any time without penalty.

All of Google Fiber’s potential fees are handled transparently. Potential fees are mostly related to equipment replacement and upgrades, and the company provides a full list of possible fees on its website.

Another perk of Google Fiber is that all internet plans come with free equipment rental. Depending on the plan, this may include a wireless router and up to two Mesh Extenders to ensure that you’re getting full bars of Wi-Fi signal in every corner of every room in your home.

Other Google Fiber perks include unlimited data, 1 TB of free cloud storage, and (in most cases) free professional installation!

CenturyLink Internet plans and pricing

CenturyLink Internet prices and plans
Plan
Price
Download speed
Details
Simply Unlimited Internet 100 Mbps$50/mo.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 100 Mbps).

If you thought Google Fiber’s options were streamlined, just wait until you see CenturyLink! With only two plans, the company makes your choice pretty easy: Unlimited low-speed DSL internet or unlimited high-speed fiber-optic internet.

The Simply Unlimited DSL plan costs $55 per month and offers speeds that cap out at 30, 80, or 140Mbps.

It’s worth noting that while CenturyLink’s Fiber Internet plan is priced pretty average among its competitors (comparison chart above), the Simply Unlimited DSL plan might not be the best option for the price. After all, many cable internet providers and 5G internet providers offer the same or better speeds at a similar price.

If you’re curious about what options exist in your neighborhood, try out our handy zip code tool below for a full list of providers.

reviews.org next zip logo

CenturyLink’s fiber internet plan is a much better deal than DSL, offering up to 940Mbps speeds for a reasonable $75 per month. If you were already thinking that the DSL plan might be a little too slow for your modern-day internet needs, we’d recommend shelling out the extra $20 per month for ten times the power.

CenturyLink Internet terms, contracts, and fees

The good news is that none of CenturyLink’s plans require a contract, so you are welcome to end your service at any time without penalty. Furthermore, CenturyLink is known for not implementing price hikes, so if you’re happy with the price you signed up for, you’ll probably enjoy paying that price for years.

The less-good news is that one of CenturyLink’s plans has better fees and terms than the other. Again, we are more impressed with the Fiber Internet plan than the Simply Unlimited DSL.

Like Google Fiber, CenturyLink’s fiber plan comes with free Wi-Fi equipment rental, free installation, and unlimited data.

Unfortunately, CenturyLink’s DSL plan comes with more strings attached. First, customers need to provide their own equipment or rent a modem for $15 per month, with the option to buy a modem straight from the company for $200.

CenturyLink’s Simply Unlimited plan might also come with a one-time installation fee. These can run from a $15 self-installation to $149 professional installation, depending on what telecommunication infrastructure already exists in the home.

Overall, we’d say that the fees are another reason to recommend CenturyLink’s fiber plan over DSL. Once you add in equipment fees and installation, you’re basically paying the same price anyway!

Google Fiber vs. CenturyLink Internet speed

Google Fiber has a slight edge over CenturyLink for high-speed fiber internet, but only CenturyLink offers a low-speed alternative.

Fiber internet is the new gold standard for fast and reliable home internet with its reliable and lightning-fast download and upload speeds. So we’re happy to report that both Google Fiber and CenturyLink offer top-tier fiber-optic internet connections for those who want 1 Gig speeds or faster.

Google Fiber’s speeds go much higher than CenturyLink, with four options ranging from 1,000Mbps to 8,000Mbps symmetrical download and upload speeds.

CenturyLink might not offer comparable plans above 1 Gig, but the company offers a DSL plan on the lower end (up to 140Mbps) that Google Fiber hasn’t bothered to compete with. However, DSL is an inferior technology to both fiber and cable internet, so we recommend shopping around to see if another type of connection might better suit your home internet needs.

In summary: If you are a light internet user, a DSL connection might be all you need. However, highly-connected households with heavy internet traffic might be better off with fiber internet, especially if they need fast upload speeds for a home office, social media, or certain types of online games.

CenturyLink Internet vs. Google Fiber internet speed comparison
Provider
Download speeds
Upload speeds
Details
Google Fiber1000-8000 Mbps1000-8000 Mbps
CenturyLink Fiber GigabitUp to 940 MbpsUp to 940 Mbps
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Take note that advertised speeds are not always what you actually get. Often, the fine print will specify that connections are delivered up to a certain speed. Anecdotally, we’ve heard that DSL users clock their connections at well below the advertised maximum speed. Fiber connections are less likely to experience this phenomena because signals sent with light-based technology are less likely to degrade over long distances.

CenturyLink Internet vs. Google Fiber availability

CenturyLink’s DSL network is widely available coast to coast, but both companies’ fiber networks are notably limited

DSL networks have the advantage of utilizing preexisting phone lines to deliver internet to basically any household with a phone. That’s why CenturyLink is able to offer internet services in at least 37 U.S. states from Washington to Florida.

A map showing CenturyLink internet availability, mainly in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado

In the coverage map, darker blue shades indicate a higher density of CenturyLink connections.

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Type in your zip code to see if CenturyLink or Google Fiber are available in your area.

While the convenience of DSL coverage is a big plus, many users will be more interested in where they can get CenturyLink’s superior Fiber Internet. CenturyLink offers fiber connections in at least 20 specific metro areas, including:

  • 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

Similarly, Google Fiber offers fiber internet in a select number of cities nationwide, with more added every year. The current list includes:

  • Huntsville, Alabama
  • Orange County, California
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • West Des Moines, Iowa (coming soon)
  • Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri
  • Charlotte and The Triangle, North Carolina
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Austin and San Antonio, Texas
  • Provo and Salt Lake City, Utah

Google also offers a niche service known as Webpass in additional cities. To learn more about Webpass and its availability in your area, check out our full Google Fiber Review.

Google Fiber vs. CenturyLink Internet: Customer service

In an industry with low customer service expectations, Google Fiber shines, while CenturyLink is a mixed bag

Internet service providers have a long reputation for subpar customer service. However, both Google Fiber and CenturyLink seem to be bucking the trend. According to the American Customer Service Satisfaction Index (ASCI) for 2023, both companies are in the top three for customer satisfaction.

Granted, customer satisfaction is determined by more metrics than just customer service. But it would be pretty hard for these companies to score in the top three if their customer support and call centers weren’t doing something right.

We’ve heard more positive feedback about Google Fiber’s customer service experience than virtually any other company, including from some of our own team members!  On the other hand, we’ve heard mixed accounts about CenturyLink’s customer support, especially when it comes to the DSL services.

Those accounts are confirmed by another comparative study, which scored CenturyLink and Google Fiber’s customer service at 3.5 and 4.2 respectively out of 5.

Whichever company you go with, be sure to consult our customer service tips before giving them a call or opening a chat. When you’re ready, here’s how to reach them:

Google Fiber customer support:

CenturyLink customer support:

CenturyLink Internet vs. Google Fiber: Which is best?

So which ISP is going to get you the most bang for your buck? All things considered, we’d say go with Google Fiber if it’s available to you. It’s a close competition, but Google has a slight edge over CenturyLink Fiber Internet in most categories, including price, speed, and customer service.

The big exception is availability. Centurylink is simply available in more areas, but their widespread DSL network might not be fast or reliable enough for many households.

Let’s review the hard facts, point by point:

  • Price: Google Fiber’s 1 Gig plan is slightly cheaper than CenturyLink’s, but both are fairly priced compared to other ISPs. The latter offers a lower-priced DSL plan and the former offers great prices for 2–8 Gig speeds.
  • Terms, Fees, and Contracts: Neither company has contracts or data caps. Google Fiber has minimal fees and admirable pricing transparency. CenturyLink’s Fiber plans offer the same perks as Google, but the DSL plans might come with costly equipment rental and installation fees.
  • Speed: Google Fiber and CenturyLink Fiber offer great upload and download speeds, while CenturyLink’s Simply Unlimited DSL speeds are limited by outdated technology.
  • Availability: Both companies’ fiber networks are limited to a few select cities around the country. CenturyLink’s DSL network is widespread, with customers in most U.S. states.
  • Customer service: Google Fiber is an industry leader in customer support, but CenturyLink seems to be working hard to keep up.

Methodology

We know that the internet can be overwhelming, especially when you are looking for advice on a specific topic. This is why we take so much time and care to research and compile all that information into a helpful and concise format. We strive to provide complete, accurate, and up-to-date information to help you make the best choices possible.

In this review, we’ve utilized a variety of sources to compare CenturyLink Internet and Google Fiber, includING first-party publications, user testimonials, internal research, external research, industry surveys, and customer reviews. Whenever possible, we relay information directly from the companies themselves.

We hope that this article will help readers understand the potential similarities and differences between ISPs, and which of those differences might best meet their specific internet needs. If you have any questions or feel that this article could be improved, please don’t hesitate to contact us at the link below.

Easton Smith
Written by
Easton Smith
Easton has worked as a freelance writer and researcher for several years, reviewing health, lifestyle, and technology products. He has probably read more Terms of Use contracts than any human alive. When he’s not sitting in front of a computer, Easton spends his time camping, climbing, and volunteering with humanitarian aid organizations.

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