CenturyLink Internet Review
The ISP offers fast, affordable fiber options along with slower DSL
◊ Provider star ratings are based on user reviews and our independent customer satisfaction survey.
Data effective 5/9/2022. Offers and availability may 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. Maximum download/upload speed of up to 940 Mbps via a wired connection. Paperless billing or prepay required. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply.
Our CenturyLink internet review
CenturyLink is a major internet provider with two types of internet to choose from: fiber and DSL. Its fiber-optic plans are some of the best deals you can get, with very fast speeds at affordable prices with lots of extra perks. The DSL internet plans aren’t nearly as fast, but they’re worth considering if you live in a rural area and have few internet service options otherwise.
- No data caps
- No annual contracts
- Excellent speeds on fiber plans
- Affordable prices
- Limited availability for fiber
- Inconsistent DSL speeds
Compare CenturyLink internet plans and pricing
|Plan||Price||Speed||View on CenturyLink site|
|Simply Unlimited Internet 140||$50.00/mo.*||Up to 140 Mbps||Shop Plans|
|CenturyLink Fiber Internet 200 Mbps||$50.00/mo.†||200 Mbps||Shop Plans|
|CenturyLink Fiber Internet||$65.00/mo.‡||940 Mbps||Shop Plans|
* 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 140 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 200 Mbps via a wired connection. Paperless billing or prepay required. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply.
‡ 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. Paperless billing or prepay required. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply.
CenturyLink’s fastest plan can reach speeds up to 940 Mbps, which is powerful enough to let up to a dozen users or more stream in 4K, play online games, attend Zoom meetings with ease. On the other hand, CenturyLink’s DSL plans are fairly slow. Although they technically top out at 140 Mbps, in reality, many DSL users get sluggish speeds in the range of 5–25 Mbps.
Use our How Much Internet Speed Do I Need? tool for a quick rundown of how much bandwidth is best for you.
CenturyLink data caps
CenturyLink does not have data caps on any of its internet plans. You can use all the data you want all month long without worrying about overage fees or throttled speeds. Yay!
CenturyLink ongoing deals and promotions
Order CenturyLink’s gigabit fiber plan and get a waiver on the cost of modem rental and installation.
CenturyLink internet fees
|Equipment fee||$15.00/mo. (no fee on fiber gigabit plan)|
|Installation fee||$15.00–$99.00 (no fee on fiber gigabit plan)|
|Data overage fee||N/A|
|Early termination fee||N/A|
CenturyLink goes easy on the fees. None of its plans have data caps or annual contracts, so you don’t have to worry about overage fees for using too much data or early termination fees when you cancel your plan. CenturyLink’s fiber gigabit plan also comes with a gateway (modem/router) at no extra charge.
CenturyLink internet installation, equipment, and contracts
Depending on the type of internet service you’re getting and where you live, installing internet with CenturyLink is either fairly simple or somewhat complex. Standard installation costs just $15—you get a kit and set up the internet yourself. Pro installation costs $99, with the price going up if CenturyLink’s technician needs to install any wiring underground outside your home. Installation doesn’t cost anything for gigabit fiber customers.
CenturyLink installation and equipment
In most cases, CenturyLink installation is fairly straightforward—all you need to do is set up the modem and router and activate it through the internet service provider’s customer portal. But you need a professional technician to help if your home doesn’t have the proper cabling, an optical network terminal for fiber, or an internet–friendly phone jack for DSL.
You also need a modem and router. You can rent a gateway (modem/router combo) from CenturyLink for $15 a month. But we actually recommend getting your own router because that saves you money in the long run and gives you more flexibility when it comes to speed, security features, and more.
If you’re shopping for a router, we recommend Google Nest Wi-Fi. Coming at a solid price, it gives you up-to-date wireless standards for fast speeds and works in homes of all sizes.
Amazon.com Price (as of 5/9/22 10:15 MST). See full disclaimer.
CenturyLink internet contracts
CenturyLink internet plans don’t require annual contracts. You get a plan that works month to month, so you can cancel any time without having to worry about early termination fees.
CenturyLink internet customer ratings
|Overall Rating||Reliability Rating||Customer Service Rating||Speed Rating||Price Rating|
|CenturyLink customer satisfaction rating||3.4/5||3.2/5||3.4/5||3.5/5||3.5/5|
*Based on our annual customer satisfaction survey
CenturyLink consistently ranks at the bottom in our annual customer satisfaction survey. It gets the lowest ratings for overall satisfaction, speed, reliability, and customer service. And it gets the second-lowest ratings for price.
The poor results likely have a lot to do with CenturyLink’s DSL service, which delivers much slower speeds than most fiber and cable plans that cost the same price.
However, when we look closer at the results, we find that a lot of CenturyLink’s fiber customers actually seem pleased with the service. Fiber customers gave CenturyLink a great 3.7 rating for speed. Over half of the survey’s respondents also said they haven’t dealt with unexpected price hikes or hidden fees, which are common practices with other providers.
Does CenturyLink have good customer service?
CenturyLink gets bottom rankings for customer service in our satisfaction survey. A total 13% of CenturyLink customers said they were not satisfied with the provider’s overall customer service—that’s the highest percentage among providers.
CenturyLink vs. the competition
Speed Price Customer rating* Order online 50–3,000 Mbps $25.00–$299.95/mo. 3.5/5 View Plans Up to 30–up to 1,000 Mbps $17.99–$89.99/mo. 3.6/5 View Plans Up to 25–5,000 Mbps $55.00–$180.00/mo. 3.8/5
*According to our annual customer satisfaction survey
While CenturyLink offers an unbeatable fiber gigabit plan, Xfinity—a major rival internet service provider—has more variety, including great budget options and bundle packages. Its lower-tier plans are cheaper and often faster than what you get from CenturyLink.
As for Spectrum, another big internet service provider with overlap in CenturyLink areas, its fastest plans have wider availability than CenturyLink, and it gives you a wider range of speed tiers to pick from. But both providers offer unlimited data and month-to-month contracts with no annual requirement.
CenturyLink beats out rival fiber provider AT&T, though. A fiber plan from CenturyLink gets you faster speeds for a lower price. CenturyLink’s DSL plan also costs $5 less than AT&T’s DSL packages.
Read our full reviews of CenturyLink vs its main internet competitors
*According to our annual customer satisfaction survey
Xfinity’s main competitors are AT&T, CenturyLink, and Verizon. We recommend choosing one of these ISPs over Xfinity only if you can get a fiber internet plan. Fiber is the best type of internet; it’s both faster and more reliable than cable internet. Unfortunately, fiber isn’t available in a lot of areas.
Competitors also usually offer DSL internet, which is drastically inferior to Xfinity’s cable internet—mainly because it’s a lot slower. DSL plans typically have poor value as well, offering less speed for the money.
Read our full reviews of Cox vs its main internet competitors
Is CenturyLink internet right for you?
CenturyLink internet is right for you if you can get a fiber plan or if you live in a rural area and are content with a relatively sluggish DSL connection.
We love CenturyLink’s recently introduced 200 Mbps fiber plan. It’s super affordable while still delivering excellent download and upload speeds. We’re also fans of CenturyLink’s flagship gigabit fiber plan—it costs less than most other gigabit plans and comes with a gateway and installation at no extra cost.
It’s hard to give equally glowing reviews to CenturyLink’s DSL internet plans, since DSL in general is just kind of an old and borderline obsolete service. But we do like the fact that CenturyLink offers unlimited data on all of its plans and doesn’t impose annual contracts. And if you’re living in a rural area, then DSL might just be your best option, since satellite and many fixed wireless options are usually a lot more expensive.