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CenturyLink swapped its Price for Life guarantee out for a few new promises: no price hikes, no contracts, and no data caps on any of its plans. We've updated this review with all that info so you can decide if you prefer Cox or CenturyLink internet.
If you’re after fast internet speeds, Cox is your best bet. But if you’re budget-savvy, you may not want to pass up CenturyLink thanks to its promises of no price hikes and no contracts.
We sifted through details on pricing, speed and data, and customer service for these two internet service providers (ISPs). Let’s dig in and find out which is better for you, Cox or CenturyLink.
Prices and plans: Cox vs. CenturyLink
|$49.99–$109.99*||100–1000 Mbps||1.28 TB||View Plans|
|$30–$70†||100–940 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
When comparing prices and speeds, Cox starts out as the better deal. Cox offers plans with anywhere from 25 Mbps up to 940 Mbps, and its prices range from about $30 a month to $100 a month.
|Cox Internet Preferred 250||$59.99/mo.‡||Up to 250 Mbps||Cable||View Plan|
|Cox Internet Ultimate 500||$79.99/mo.‡||Up to 500 Mbps||Cable||View Plans|
|Cox Gigablast||$99.99/mo.‡||Up to 1000 Mbps||Cable||View Plan|
Cox’s 50 and 150 Mbps plans are kind of the sweet spot when it comes to price for the speed you get. The 50 Mbps plan is a good starting point for a single internet user who’s not doing anything outrageous online. You know, like going live on YouTube or becoming the next Shark Tank winner with your home business.
The 150 Mbps plan is good for a family of light internet users or a couple of heavy internet users. Some folks on our team are die-hard gamers, and they play online with speeds around 150 to 200 Mbps.
But if you can get CenturyLink’s faster speeds, it quickly topples Cox as the best value internet provider. CenturyLink’s Simply Unlimited Internet comes in speeds of 15 to 100 Mbps, and each plan costs $50 a month—a price that the ISP promises to not to change. And CenturyLink’s fiber internet delivers speeds of 940 Mbps for about $65 a month.
|Simply Unlimited Internet 100 Mbps||$50.00/mo.^||Up to 100 Mbps||DSL||View Plans|
|CenturyLink Fiber Gigabit||$70.00/mo.°||Up to 940 Mbps||Fiber||View Plan|
The not-so-great news? With CenturyLink, it’s kind of hard to tell what download speed you’ll get until you sign up. (Except for its Fiber Internet plan, which comes with gig speeds and gig speeds only.) The ISP offers you the fastest speeds available in your area when you sign up, and those speeds range from 15 to 100 Mbps.
So the CenturyLink Simply Unlimited Internet plan could be a pretty good deal if you can get 100 Mbps speeds in your area—or it could be a bad deal if you’re stuck with only 15 Mbps.
But if a good deal is what you're after, it's kind of hard to beat CenturyLink's promise to not jack up your price. The ISP also won't cap your data or make you sign a contract. That’s the gold standard of internet deals, in our opinion.
On the other hand, Cox does offer promotional prices for three whole years on its 50 Mbps and faster plans. That’s a long time to stick with a price in internet land, where most ISPs jack up your price after only 12 months.
If your internet needs to support a large family or your home office, you’ll need more speed. But we think you’ll find better deals than Cox’s 500 and 940 Mbps plans. Especially if you live in a city where you can get CenturyLink’s fiber internet. CenturyLink’s price for gig speeds is one of the lowest around.
Internet speed and data: Cox vs. CenturyLink
Prices aside, we also place a lot of weight on an ISP’s speeds. Not just the speeds they advertise, but the speeds they actually deliver, mind you.
At first glance, Cox and CenturyLink offer almost the same range of speeds. But remember, CenturyLink internet speeds will vary based on where you live. So even though it advertises 15 to 100 Mbps speeds for its DSL service, you might see only certain speeds advertised in your area.
We mentioned before that Cox offers cable internet, while CenturyLink offers both DSL and fiber connections. Of course, CenturyLink’s fiber internet plan is the most expensive—but fiber tends to be the most reliable type of internet, so it usually has our vote.
Cox vs. CenturyLink: Which is faster?
Cox is the better bet for faster, more reliable download speeds, according to our latest report on the fastest ISPs in the US.
Advertised download speeds are all well and good, but you want to pay attention to how well your internet provider delivers on the speeds it promises too.
In our analysis of what internet speeds Cox and CenturyLink customers saw, Cox ranked 16th out of 38 total ISPs. On the other hand, CenturyLink ranked 28th out of 38.
These rankings are a combo of average download speeds, upload speeds, and latency. And they’re based on speed test results that Cox and CenturyLink customers saw between January 1 and December 31, 2019.
We can only hope both ISPs improve their speeds in the future, and we fully expect CenturyLink’s fiber internet service to zoom past its DSL internet.
Cox vs. CenturyLink: Data caps
Cox caps your data at 1.25 TB. CenturyLink also used to cap data for its DSL internet plans, but now every single CenturyLink internet plan comes with unlimited data. That calls for a celebration, because now you won’t need to worry about downloading 15 new games during the Steam summer sale or juggling multiple large files while you hammer out work projects at home.
- Cox data cap: 1.25 TB
- CenturyLink DSL data cap: Unlimited
- CenturyLink fiber data cap: Unlimited
Customer service: Cox vs. CenturyLink
We won’t beat around the bush: ISPs have a bad rep when it comes to customer service. Sadly, Cox and CenturyLink are no different.
Cox improved their customer service scores in the past year while CenturyLink slightly declined in theirs, but sadly these two ISPs still fall below the internet industry average score of 65 out of 100 on the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report.1
We hope CenturyLink and Cox continue to improve their customer service. After all, happy customers, happy life. (Wait, that doesn’t rhyme … )
If you do need to call your ISP, take a deep breath and try some of these customer service tips on for size. They might get you through your customer service call without flipping a table.
- Cox customer service: 1-800-234-3993
- CenturyLink customer service: 1-866-642-0444
Cox vs. CenturyLink: Which is better?
Based on performance, we think Cox is best for anyone looking for reliable speeds—unless you can get CenturyLink fiber internet in your area.
But if you’re a budget-savvy internet user who’s not relying on download speeds to keep streaming or gaming, CenturyLink is hard to beat.
- Prices: CenturyLink. We’re mighty impressed with CenturyLink’s promise to not hike up prices. Cox does offer fairly competitive prices for its slower plans, yes, but they’ll get bumped up after one or three years.
- Internet speed: Cox delivers faster download speeds than it advertises, so it’s clearly our pick for internet speed. CenturyLink tends to underdeliver, and its fiber internet remains unproven so far.
- Data: CenturyLink. CenturyLink internet comes with unlimited data. Compared to Cox's 1.25 TB data cap, that's a dream come true.
- Customer service: Both Cox and CenturyLink need to work on their customer service. Just like most ISPs.
|Cox Internet||$49.99–$109.99*||100–1000 Mbps||1.28 TB||View Plans|
|CenturyLink Internet||$30–$70†||100–940 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
We spent hours comparing prices, internet speeds, availability, and customer service data to rate Cox and CenturyLink internet. We focused our review on which provider and plans offer the best value, which ISP delivers the fastest speeds, and what you can expect when it comes to dealing with customer service.
We also gathered our own in-house data on how these ISPs perform when it comes to speed so you can get an idea of what it’s actually like to use these internet providers.
Cox vs. CenturyLink: FAQ
What is the data cap limit on CenturyLink data plans?
CenturyLink used to cap its DSL internet plans at 1 TB, but now all CenturyLink internet plans come with unlimited data.
What is the data cap limit on Cox data plans?
Cox internet has a 1.25 TB data cap on all of its plans.
Is CenturyLink a DSL or cable provider?
CenturyLink is primarily a DSL internet provider, but it also offers a fiber internet plan in certain cities across the US.
Is Cox a DSL or cable provider?
Cox provides cable internet to 19 states.
What bundling options does CenturyLink have?
What bundling options does Cox have?
Cox lets you bundle your internet with its own TV service, and you also have the option to add phone service. We’ll help you weigh all your Cox bundling options in our review.
- American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), “ACSI Telecommunications Report 2019–2020,” June 2021. Accessed December 15, 2021.