CenturyLink vs. Xfinity: Which Internet Provider Is Best for You?
We compare two major internet providers on price, contracts, and extra perks.
HighSpeedteck.com uses our proprietary data and expert insights to compare these internet service titans.
Best for variety
- Price: $34.99–$299.95/mo.
- Speed: 25–2,000 Mbps
- Internet type: Cable, fiber
- Data cap: 1.2 TB
- Contract: 1–2 years, month-to-month options
Best for inexpensive fiber
- Price: $50.00–$65.00/mo.
- Speed: 1–940 Mbps
- Internet type: DSL, fiber
- Data cap: Unlimited
- Contract: Month to month
Compare Xfinity and CenturyLink head to head
As far as internet providers go, Xfinity and CenturyLink both have ups and downs. Xfinity gives you a ton of internet packages to choose from, but it also tacks on more conditions and extra fees. CenturyLink doesn’t have data caps or annual contracts like Xfinity does, but its options are limited. While CenturyLink’s fiber gigabit plan is a slam dunk when it comes to price and features, it’s not nearly as widely available as the much slower DSL service.
Pros and cons: Xfinity vs. CenturyLink
- No data caps
- Fiber Gigabit plan
- No contracts
- Inconsistent DSL speeds for same price
- Limited fiber availability
- Excellent speeds
- Wide availability
- Cheap deals
- Annual contracts
- Limited availability on fastest plans
Plans and pricing: Xfinity vs. CenturyLink
One big difference between these two providers is choice. Xfinity has many plans that give you a lot of options, while CenturyLink has more simplified offerings that make picking a plan easier.
Xfinity boasts a glorious buffet of cable internet plans, all of which vary in speed and price—you can get a cheap and relatively slow plan, a pricey gigabit plan, or something in between. CenturyLink has only two packages to offer, including a gigabit fiber plan that’s excellent and fairly priced but available only in select areas.
Let’s take a gander to see more about what kinds of speeds, prices, and internet types you can get from both of these providers.
Take our speed test to see what kind of internet bandwidth you’re getting on your current plan. Does this speed work well for you, or would you prefer something faster? Use your speed-test results as a base of comparison to decide which plan works best.
Xfinity plans and pricing
|Performance Starter Plus||$34.99/mo.*||50 Mbps||Cable||View Plan|
|Performance Select||$44.99/mo.*||100 Mbps||Cable||View Plan|
|Performance Pro Plus||$59.99/mo.*||200 Mbps||Cable||View Plan|
|Blast! Pro Plus||$74.99/mo.*||400 Mbps||Cable||View Plan|
|Extreme Pro Plus||$84.99/mo.*||600–800 Mbps||Cable||View Plan|
|Gigabit||$94.99/mo.**||1,000–1,200 Mbps/35 Mbps||Cable||View Plan|
|Gigabit Pro||$299.95/mo.**||2,000 Mbps||Fiber||View Plan|
*For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.
**With a 2-year agreement.
While CenturyLink keeps it simple with two packages to choose from, Xfinity has a dizzying array of options. Plans can change names and prices depending on the service area you’re in, but generally speaking Xfinity offers solid speeds at fair prices (unless you’re eyeing that 2,000 Mbps plan).
Since Xfinity has such a wide range of plans, we recommend considering how many people will be on your Wi-Fi and what kinds of stuff you do online when choosing which package is best for you.
An entry-level plan like Performance Starter Plus is great if you live alone or with one other person. But you’ll want an upgrade if you have more roommates and you’ll all be doing things like downloading very large files or streaming in 4K.
Use our “How Much Internet Speed Do I Need?” tool to figure out how much internet firepower you need. A good rule of thumb is to get 25 Mbps per person in your household.
CenturyLink plans and pricing
|CenturyLink Fiber Internet||$65.00/mo.*||Up to 940 Mbps†||Fiber||View Plan|
|Simply Unlimited Internet||$50.00/mo.**||Up to 100 Mbps||DSL||View Plan|
Data as of 6/15/21. 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. Get the fastest internet speed available at your location (max speed is up to 100 Mbps).
If CenturyLink’s fiber plan is available in your area, we definitely recommend going for that. Fiber-optic internet is incredibly fast and reliable, and CenturyLink offers its fiber plan at a very fair price. You can also get gigabit upload speeds on that plan, which aren’t available on even the fastest Xfinity plans. So you’ll have excellent performance for a wide range of activities, including upload-heavy tasks like attending Zoom meetings, uploading files to cloud servers, and hosting livestreams.
The catch is that fiber internet is available only to a minority of CenturyLink’s customers. If you can’t get fiber, you’ll have to stick with the Simply Unlimited Internet plan, which gives you unlimited data (yay!) but isn’t nearly as fast. It runs over DSL—basically the copper wiring of your landline phone. While 100 Mbps is the max advertised speed, your speeds could end up being much lower. In that case, Xfinity can get you faster speeds at a cheaper price.
Want to know if Xfinity or CenturyLink are in your area? Put in your zip code below to find out.
Deals and promotions: Xfinity vs. CenturyLink
Xfinity Deal: $30 Internet + Streaming
Get Xfinity internet and streaming for as low as $30/mo. when you add a regularly priced Xfinity Mobile plan (starting at $45/mo.). Plus, get extra perks like unlimited data and no-cost equipment for plans with speeds 300 Mbps and above.
Available through 2022
|Connect||50 Mbps||$30/mo.||$10||Order Online|
|Connect More||100 Mbps||$40/mo.||$10||Order Online|
|Fast*||300 Mbps||$50/mo.||$20||Order Online|
|Superfast**||600 Mbps||$65/mo.||$25||Order Online|
|Ultrafast**||900 Mbps||$70/mo.||$25||Order Online|
|Gigabit Extra**||1200 Mbps||$80/mo.||$30||Order Online|
See disclaimers at the bottom of the page.
Extra fees: Xfinity vs. CenturyLink
|Equipment Fee||Installation Fee||Other Fees|
|Xfinity||$14.00/mo.||Free (self-install), $39.99 (pro install)||$10/mo. (early termination), $10 per 50 GB of data you go over on data cap, $10 (late payment)|
|CenturyLink||$15.00/mo.||$15.00–$99.00 (free for fiber gigabit), $85.00 (phone jack install)||Late payment is $5 or a percentage of your total bill|
Data as of 7/21/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Like pretty much all internet providers, Xfinity and CenturyLink sometimes tack a few extra charges onto the bill. You can rent a modem and router from either of these providers. The rental fees are pretty standard in both cases, but you can save some dough and get better features if you buy your own router. We’ve got more deets on the best routers farther down on this page.
One thing we like here is that there are no early termination fees on CenturyLink plans like there are with Xfinity plans. CenturyLink doesn’t have annual commitments on any of its plans, so you can cancel any time without facing financial penalties. With Xfinity, on the other hand, you pay $10 per month for every month you have remaining on your contract if you leave before your contract’s up.
Xfinity and CenturyLink both offer regular promotions and deals that help you shave costs off your bill when you first sign up. Take a look at our best internet deals page for a breakdown of the latest ways to save.
Customer ratings: Xfinity vs. CenturyLink
|Overall Rating||Reliability Rating||Customer Service Rating||Speed Rating||Price Rating|
Xfinity and CenturyLink both got below-average ratings in our annual customer satisfaction survey. Compared to 10 other major internet providers, they rank towards the bottom in all categories—but there are some bright spots if you look closer at the data from our survey.
While Xfinity got low ratings for speed, an impressive 87% of Xfinity’s customers reported that their internet speeds usually or always met their household’s needs. That’s actually above average compared to what customers said about other providers.
The discrepancy may have to do with frustrations surrounding the COVID-19 lockdown. With customers spending more time at home, they may have wanted more out of their cable internet (even when it still performs well).
CenturyLink’s fiber customers also reported much higher scores compared to its DSL customers. Although the internet provider rated just 3.4 for reliability, fiber customers specifically gave CenturyLink a much more solid 3.7 reliability rating.
And while CenturyLink gets low ratings on price, 56% of CenturyLink’s customers told us in our survey that they haven’t experienced unexpected price hikes or hidden fees. That’s probably a result of CenturyLink’s Price for Life offer on DSL plans (although that offer was sadly discontinued for new customers in 2021).
Best TV and internet bundles
|Package||Internet speed||TV channels||Price||Details|
|Premier Pro Plus Double Play||1,000 Mbps||205+||$129.99/mo.*||View Plan|
|Super Double Play with Blast Internet||800 Mbps||245+||$139.99/mo.†||View Plan|
*For the first 12 months
†For the first 24 months with a 2-year agreement.
CenturyLink doesn’t have any bundle deals, but Xfinity has a bunch of bundle options—understandable, given that it’s a cable company.
Bundling your TV and internet together is a great way to lower your monthly fee and reap benefits from discounts and promotions. You can also often tailor your bundle package for a specific purpose—giving you extra channels for movies or sports, or a lower price for slower internet speeds.
We love Xfinity’s Premier Pro Plus Double Play and Super Double Play with Blast Internet bundle packages because they both come with powerful speeds and a ton of channels. The prices are fairly reasonable for what you get, and both also come with a Visa® prepaid card, a Netflix subscription, and DVR service.
Internet types: Xfinity vs. CenturyLink
|Xfinity||Cable, fiber||View Plan|
|CenturyLink||Fiber, DSL||View Plan|
Xfinity offers cable internet. Cable runs over the same coaxial wiring as cable TV. It’s really fast, widely available, and very reliable. You can also technically get fiber through Xfinity with its Gigabit Pro plan, but that plan has extremely low availability.
CenturyLink offers both DSL and fiber internet. Fiber-optic internet is the best kind of internet you can get—it’s even faster than cable, capable of delivering gigabit upload speeds as well as download speeds. But it’s also the rarest internet out there, so you’re much more likely to find cable or DSL internet in your area.
DSL runs over copper landline telephone wiring. It hits max speeds of 100 Mbps, although usually speeds are much slower. It works fine, but it’s not very fast, so avoid it if you share your Wi-Fi with lots of people, plan to attend lots of Zoom meetings, or want to stream movies in 4K.
Data caps: Xfinity vs. CenturyLink
|Xfinity||1.2 TB||$10 per 50 GB||View Plan|
Xfinity has a data cap of 1.2 TB on all of its plans, including its gigabit plans—which is a bummer, since most internet providers offer unlimited data on their gigabit packages. If you go over your cap, you’ll get one month with no charges. After that you’ll have 50 GB and a $10 charge automatically added to your account. Or you can pay $30 per month for unlimited data.
CenturyLink has no data caps at all on any of its plans. We really like that about CenturyLink—it means you can use as much internet as you want without worrying about extra charges.
Contracts: Xfinity vs. CenturyLink
|Xfinity||1–2 yrs.; month-to-month options for $10 more per month||View Plans|
|CenturyLink||Month to month||View Plans|
Xfinity has annual contracts for many of its plans. So if you have to cancel your plan before your contract is up, you’ll need to pay $10 in early termination fees (ETFs) for every month left on your annual commitment. You can sign up for a plan with no annual requirement, but it costs $10 extra per month—so you’re forking over that $10 per month either way.
That’s not the case with CenturyLink, which doesn’t have annual commitments on any of its plans. You don’t need to worry about ETFs with CenturyLink, which adds a bit more incentive to sign up for a CenturyLink plan.
Installation: Xfinity vs. CenturyLink
|Xfinity||-Self-install kit: Free ($29.95 for priority shipping)|
-Self Install Plus: $39.99
|CenturyLink||-Standard installation kit: $15.00 (free with gigabit fiber internet)|
-Pro install: $99.00
-Phone jack install: $85.00
Xfinity and CenturyLink both offer standard or self-installation. They’ll mail you a kit, and you just plug everything in. If you need more help, you can have a professional come to your house and install everything (Xfinity calls this Self Install Plus).
CenturyLink may require professional installation in some cases, like if you’re ordering a fiber plan and don’t have fiber wiring installed in your house already.
Not sure how to install your new internet service? No problem—we’ll walk you through the process in our guide to Xfinity installation or our guide to CenturyLink installation.
Availability: Xfinity vs. CenturyLink
Xfinity and CenturyLink both have huge footprints nationwide. The former is available in 41 states, while the latter is in 36—and there’s a lot of overlap between the two. Use our zip code search tool below to see if either of these providers are available in your area.