Cox vs. CenturyLink Internet Review 2021

Cox’s faster internet speeds compete with CenturyLink’s Price for Life guarantee and lack of contracts.
Best for Faster Internet Speeds
Monthly price
$29.99$99.99
Download speeds
10940 Mbps
Best for Price for Life
Monthly price
$49$65
Download speeds
15940 Mbps

Choosing between Cox and CenturyLink? If they’re your only two internet options, it might be hard to see a clear winner.

Reputations aside, we’ll help you compare these two internet service providers (ISPs). Let’s dig in and compare Cox versus CenturyLink plans and prices, download speeds, and customer service to find out which ISP is best for you.

Compare Cox and CenturyLink prices in your area.

Cox vs. CenturyLink: Plans and prices

Cox offers lower prices, but CenturyLink’s Price for Life guarantee is the clear winner.

If you’re just looking at the price for the speed you get, Cox internet prices are a better deal.

Cox internet promotional prices
PlanPriceDownload speedData capDetails
Cox Internet Starter 10$29.99*10 Mbps1.25 TBView Plan
Cox Internet Essential 50$39.9950 Mbps1.25 TBView Plans
Cox Internet Preferred 150$59.99150 Mbps1.25 TBView Plan
Cox Internet Ultimate$79.99500 Mbps1.25 TBView Plan
Cox Gigablast$99.99940 Mbps1.25 TBView Plan
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* for 12 months with 1-yr. svc. agr. + Easy Pay.
for 36 months. No annual contract required.

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 go to sign up, and those speeds range from 15 to 100 Mbps.

That’s why all of CenturyLink’s Price for Life DSL internet plans cost the same each month. So CenturyLink plans could be a pretty good deal if you can get 100 Mbps speeds in your area—or they could be a bad deal if you’re stuck with only 15 Mbps.

CenturyLink internet prices
PlanPriceDownload speedData capDetails
Price for Life 15 Mbps$4915 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Price for Life 20 Mbps$4920 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Price for Life 40 Mbps$4940 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Price for Life 80 Mbps$4980 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Price for Life 100 Mbps$49100 Mbps1 TBView Plan
CenturyLink Fiber Internet$65^940 MbpsUnlimitedView Plan
Data effective 11/19/18. 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.

But CenturyLink’s Price for Life guarantee hooks you up with internet for the same monthly price . . . forever.  Well, yeah, you’ve gotta keep the same plan, address, and continue to be a model customer, but still. That’s the gold standard of internet deals, in our opinion.

Cox, on the other hand, 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. But it’s not a price for life either.

Comparing Cox vs. CenturyLink gigabit internet plans

What about those gig-speed plans, though? As far as price goes here, CenturyLink is the clear winner. But you’ll want to note that it doesn’t offer its famous Price for Life guarantee on the Fiber Internet plan. So your price could go up in the future.

Cox’s price for its Gigablast plan is steep. We’ve seen other gig-speed plans, including CenturyLink’s, go for less.

It’s also worth noting that CenturyLink’s gig plan is fiber, while Cox’s gig plan is cable internet. We always recommend fiber internet if you can get it—but that’s the thing. Even CenturyLink’s fiber internet plan is pretty limited when it comes to availability.

Both Cox and CenturyLink don’t require contracts

One other thing we’d like to point out when comparing these two ISPs is that neither of them require a contract. (Well, except the Cox Internet Starter 10 plan, which requires a year-long contract. Ew.)

That doesn’t necessarily make it easier to pick one over the other, but it’s great news for anyone who doesn’t want to get hit with early termination fees if they decide to swap internet providers.

Cox vs. CenturyLink: Internet speed and data

Our money’s on Cox for faster, more reliable download 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 speed comparison
ProviderDownload speedsUpload speeds
Cox Internet10940 Mbps135 Mbps
CenturyLink Internet15940 Mbps1940 Mbps

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.

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Not sure what download speed is right for you?
We feel you. That’s why we put together a download speed guide, plus recommendations for what you can do with 25, 100, and even 1,000 Mbps. (And speeds in between.)

Cox vs. CenturyLink: Which ISP 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.

Cox vs. CenturyLink speed scores1
ProviderOverall rankRank by connection type
Cox16th out of 38 ISPs8th out of 22 cable ISPs
CenturyLink28th out of 38 ISPs9th out of 10 DSL ISPs

And when we looked at our weighted scores, Cox came out ahead by more than 10 points.

  • CenturyLink weighted speed score: 20.2 out of 100
  • Cox weighted speed score: 33.4 out of 100

Just a note, though: those weighted scores don’t represent an actual download speed in Mbps. Instead, they’re a combo of the average download speeds, upload speeds, and latency that Cox and CenturyLink customers saw when they took speed tests between January 1 and December 31, 2019.

Those scores may seem low, but other cable and DSL internet providers also scored in the 30s and 40s:

Cox vs. CenturyLink: Data caps

Both Cox and CenturyLink give you a slap on the hand if you use close to 1 TB of data each month.

But Cox’s data cap recently got a boost up to 1.2 TB. So if every little MB and GB of data counts for you, Cox has the upper hand when it comes to data.

Cox vs. CenturyLink: Customer service

Both CenturyLink and Cox fall below the average ISP customer service score.

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.

Both Cox and CenturyLink improved their customer service scores in the past year, 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.2

Cox vs. CenturyLink customer service ratings comparison2
RatingCoxCenturyLink
ACSI 2019–202061 out of 10063 out of 100

We hope CenturyLink and Cox continue to improve their customer service. After all, happy customers, happy life. (Wait, that doesn’t rhyme . . . )

Cox vs. CenturyLink: Which is better?

Based on performance, we think Cox is best for anyone looking for reliable speeds—even if you just need to dip your toe in the internet pool with 10 Mbps. But if you’re a budget-savvy internet user who’s not relying on download speeds to keep streaming or gaming, CenturyLink’s Price for Life guarantee and lack of contracts is hard to beat.

  • Pricing: We’re mighty impressed with CenturyLink’s Price for Life guarantee and no-contract approach. Cox does offer competitive prices, yes, but they’ll get bumped up after one or three years.
  • Speed: Cox delivers faster download speeds than it advertises, so it’s clearly our pick for internet speed. CenturyLink tends to under-deliver, but should still do the trick if you’re not gaming or streaming.
  • Customer service: Both Cox and CenturyLink need to work on their customer service.
Cox vs. CenturyLink internet
ProviderMonthly priceDownload speedsLearn more
CenturyLink Internet$49$65°15940 MbpsView Plans
Cox Internet$29.99$99.99**10940 MbpsView Plans
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
° New customers only. Rate requires paperless billing and excludes taxes. Additional fees apply.
** For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.

Find the best internet prices and speeds in your area.

Sources

  1. Catherine McNally, Reviews.org, “Fastest Internet Providers 2020,” August 2020. Accessed August 20, 2020.
  2. American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), “ACSI Telecommunications Report 2019–2020,” June 2020. Accessed August 20, 2020.