Cox vs. CenturyLink Internet Review

Cox’s faster internet speeds compete with CenturyLink’s lack of contracts and data caps.

Fastest Internet Speeds
Cox
Cox Internet
3 out of 5 stars
3
Starting from
$9.95
/mo
Download Speeds
100-2000 Mbps
Data Cap
1280 Mbps
Best for Price Lock
Centurylink
CenturyLink Internet
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starting from
$50
/mo
Download Speeds
100-940 Mbps
Data Cap
Unlimited
Catherine McNally
Mar 13, 2024
Icon Time To Read8 min read

CenturyLink vs. Cox basically boils down to this: 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.

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Cox vs. CenturyLink overview

A quick look at these two providers

Cox is faster, but it’s more expensive and has a data cap. CenturyLink service gets up to less than a gig, but its prices are lower, and there’s no data cap.

Both providers cover the two extremes: aging DSL and swift, new fiber. 

Both ISPs are fairly widespread in the US, but unfortunately, neither has particularly stellar customer service.

When all’s said and done, these two are locked up in a tie for us. Only you know which one would be better for your needs.

Prices and plans winner: CenturyLink

CenturyLink gives you more bang for the buck
Cox and CenturyLink internet comparison
Provider
Monthly price
Download speeds
Data cap
Learn more
$9.95-$149.99*100-2000 Mbps1280 Mbps
$50-$75100-940 MbpsUnlimited
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Prices exclude taxes, surcharges, usage-based charges, certain equipment, and other fees or charges, which are subject to change.
Speed may not be available in your area. Paperless billing or prepay required. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply.

When comparing prices and speeds, Cox starts out as the better deal. Cox offers plans with anywhere from 100Mbps up to 2000Mbps, and its prices range from about $30 a month to $150 a month.

Cox internet promotional prices
Plan
Price
Connection
Download speed
Data cap
Details
Connect Assist$30/mo.CableUp to 100 Mbps1280 Mbps
Go Fast$50/mo.^Cable100 Mbps1280 Mbps
Cox StraightUp Internet$50/mo.CableUp to 100 Mbps1280 Mbps
Go Faster$40/mo.^Cable250 Mbps1280 Mbps
Go Even Faster$50/mo.^CableUp to 500 Mbps1280 Mbps
Go Super Fast$60/mo.^FiberUp to 1000 Mbps1280 Mbps
Go Beyond Fast$110/mo.^FiberUp to 2000 Mbps1280 Mbps
Not available in all areas. No term agreement. Same price for 2 yrs. Pricing, packages, and policies are subject to change, including when adjusting or removing services or equipment.
^ Available in select markets only. No annual contract or cancellation fees.

Cox’s up to 100Mbps and 250Mbps plans are kind of the sweet spot when it comes to price for the speed you get. If it's available to you, the up to 100Mbps Connect Assist 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. And if Connect Assist isn't available, the StraightUp plan is a good alternative. It costs $20 more, but you'll get the same download speed plus a two-year price lock with no term agreement.

The 250 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 up to 100Mbps, unlimited data, and plans that cost $55 a month. CenturyLink’s fiber internet delivers speeds of 940 Mbps for about $75 a month.

CenturyLink internet promotional prices
Plan
Price
Download speed
Connection type
Details
Simply Unlimited Internet 100 Mbps$55/mo.°Up to 100 MbpsDSL
CenturyLink Fiber Gigabit$75/mo.**Up to 940 MbpsFiber
° 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. 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

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 two whole years on its StraightUp plan with up to 100 Mbps. 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 1000 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.

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Internet speed and data winner: Cox

Cox offers faster data speeds

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.

Cox vs. CenturyLink download speeds and upload speeds
Provider
Download speeds
Upload speeds
Learn more
Cox Internet100-2000 Mbps5-100 Mbps
CenturyLink Internet100-940 Mbps10-940 Mbps
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

We mentioned before that both Cox and CenturyLink offer both DSL and fiber connections. Cox's fiber internet plans charge double the monthly price of CenturyLink's fiber plans, but you also get double the download speed. So choosing a fiber plan will depend on how much speed you're willing to pay for.

CenturyLink vs. Cox fiber plans
Provider
Plan
Price
Download speeds
Learn more
CenturyLink InternetCenturyLink Fiber Internet 500 Mbps$50/mo.††Up to 500 Mbps
CenturyLink InternetCenturyLink Fiber Gigabit$75/mo.**Up to 940 Mbps
Cox InternetGo Super Fast$60/mo.^Up to 1000 Mbps
Cox InternetGo Beyond Fast$110/mo.^Up to 2000 Mbps
†† 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. 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
^ Available in select markets only. No annual contract or cancellation fees.

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.

Cox’s maximum speed is more than twice that of CenturyLink’s.

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. The best way is through a speed test.

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.

Cox is the better bet for faster, more reliable download speeds, according to our latest report on the fastest ISPs in the US.

Cox’s maximum speed is more than twice that of CenturyLink’s.

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. The best way is through a speed test.

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Your speed is faster than of our speed test results

We hope both ISPs improve their speeds in the future as technology advances.

And if your current internet service is agonizingly slow, we feel your pain. To help out, we put together 10 easy tips for speeding up your internet. Give them a try, and hopefully, your internet speeds will perk back up.

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 winner: Tie

Neither service is exactly a winner here

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 66 out of 100 on the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report.

Cox vs. CenturyLink customer service comparison
Provider
ACSI 2022–2023 rating
Cox Internet

64 out of 100

CenturyLink Internet

62 out of 100

Data as of 11/28/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

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

Equipment rental winner: Cox

Cox offers slightly cheaper equipment rental rates

When it comes to equipment rental cost, CenturyLink and Cox Internet offer different options at varying price points. Let's take a closer look:

CenturyLink Internet equipment fees:

CenturyLink provides customers with the option to rent equipment, typically including a modem and Wi-Fi router. The monthly rental fee can range between $10 and $15, depending on the chosen plan, promotional offers, and location.

Cox Internet equipment fees:

Cox also offers equipment rental, which typically includes a modem and Wi-Fi router. The monthly rental fee can range between $6.99 and $10.99, depending on the specific plan and location.

It's worth mentioning that both CenturyLink and Cox Internet may offer promotional discounts or waive the rental fee for a limited period as part of their ongoing promotions. Additionally, customers may have the option to purchase the equipment outright to avoid monthly rental fees, although the upfront cost would vary depending on the model and brand.

Overall, Cox gets the slight edge here, charging a few dollars less for the internet equipment.

Get free internet equipment for two years:

Customers who choose Cox's Go Faster, Go Even Faster, or Go Super Fast plans will get their internet equipment free for two years, after which they'll pay $15 a month.

 

Regional availability: CenturyLink

CenturyLink has more overall availability

When it comes to domestic availability, Cox Internet and CenturyLink Internet both have a huge footprint, but CenturyLink offers more coverage overall. Let's take a closer look at the states where they provide their services:

Cox Internet:

Cox Internet offers its services in the following states:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • Virginia

This list is not exhaustive, and Cox Internet continues to expand its coverage footprint. It's always advisable to check directly with Cox Internet or use their online availability tool for the most up-to-date information specific to your location.

CenturyLink Internet:

CenturyLink Internet provides its services in the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Similar to Cox Internet, CenturyLink continues to expand its coverage and may offer services in additional areas not listed above. To determine the availability in your specific location, it's recommended to check directly with CenturyLink or utilize their online availability tool.

Remember that availability can vary within states, even down to specific cities or neighborhoods. The easiest way to find out what ISP services your neck of the woods is by entering your ZIP code here:

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Compare Cox and CenturyLink internet prices and speeds in your area.

Cox vs. CenturyLink: Which is better?

Based on performance, we think Cox is best for anyone looking for reliable and faster speeds—even if you can get CenturyLink fiber internet in your area.

But if you’re a budget-savvy internet user who’s not relying on super high download speeds to keep streaming or gaming, CenturyLink is hard to beat.

  • Prices: CenturyLink. CenturyLink's plans run cheaper than Cox's with decent download speeds for most, but we recommend Cox for those who need faster speeds. 
  • 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 versus CenturyLink internet
Provider
Monthly price
Download speeds
Data cap
Learn more
Cox Internet$9.95-$149.99*100-2000 Mbps1280 Mbps
CenturyLink Internet$50-$75100-940 MbpsUnlimited
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Prices exclude taxes, surcharges, usage-based charges, certain equipment, and other fees or charges, which are subject to change.
Speed may not be available in your area. Paperless billing or prepay required. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply.

Methodology

Our comprehensive methodology focuses on key factors such as price, internet speed, availability, and customer service. Notably, we use in-house data, based on hundreds of thousands of user speed tests, to compare data speeds between CenturyLink and Cox.

Data Collection:

To ensure the validity and reliability of our analysis, we employed a meticulous data collection process. This involved utilizing various sources, including official ISP websites, product documentation, pricing plans, coverage maps, and customer reviews. Additionally, we collect results from hundreds of thousands of user speed tests to get an accurate sample size of data speeds.

Price Comparison:
To assess the affordability of Cox Internet and CenturyLink Internet, we conducted an extensive examination of pricing factors, including:

  • Monthly fees: A comprehensive comparison of the subscription costs offered by both ISPs, considering different speed tiers and package options.
  • Installation costs: Analysis of any upfront fees associated with initiating services from Cox Internet and CenturyLink Internet.
  • Equipment fees: Evaluation of charges related to equipment rental or purchase.
  • Promotional offers and discounts: Identification of any special discounts or promotional packages provided by the ISPs to help readers find cost-effective solutions.

Internet Speed Comparison:

Data speeds is the biggest deciding factor when evaluating two ISPs against each other. Our evaluation includes the following aspects:

  • Download speeds: A detailed comparison of the maximum download speeds offered by Cox Internet and CenturyLink Internet, highlighting variations between different speed tiers.
  • Upload speeds: Analysis of the maximum upload speeds provided by both ISPs, enabling users to identify which ISP caters better to their specific needs.
  • Latency or ping: Consideration of latency or ping values, crucial for real-time applications such as online gaming and video conferencing. We provide insights into the ISPs' performance in this regard.

Availability:

Considering the geographical reach of an ISP is essential for potential customers. Our analysis covers the following areas:

  • Coverage areas: Examination of the regions where Cox Internet and CenturyLink Internet offer their services, enabling readers to determine if their location is within the ISPs' coverage.
  • Rural vs. urban availability: Differentiation of the ISPs' availability in rural and urban areas, as this can significantly impact the choice of an ISP depending on the readers' residence.
  • Data sources: We relied on official ISP websites, coverage maps, and our proprietary data to provide up-to-date information on the availability of Cox Internet and CenturyLink Internet.

Customer Service:

Recognizing the significance of quality customer service, we gathered insights from existing customer feedback and industry reports. Although our in-house data is not applicable to this criterion, we considered the following factors:

  • Customer support availability: Assessment of the ISPs' support channels, including phone, live chat, and email, and their availability for addressing customer concerns.
  • Response times: Evaluation of the speed and effectiveness of Cox Internet and CenturyLink Internet in resolving customer queries or technical issues.
  • General satisfaction levels: Consideration of customer satisfaction levels reported through surveys, forums, and social media platforms.
Catherine McNally
Written by
Catherine McNally
Catherine has a degree in journalism and an MBA, and has spent the last 10+ years writing everything from Okinawa travel guides to stories on Medium. She’s been online since AOL CDs were a thing and is an unapologetic PC gamer. She believes the internet is a necessity, not a luxury, and writes reviews and guides to help everyone stay connected. You can also find her on Twitter: @CMReviewsIt.

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