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CenturyLink Review 2020

Centurylink is a tasty value but has bland reliability and customer satisfaction.

Excellent Price for Life deals
Download speeds:
15–940 Mbps
Price:
$49–$85/mo.

Is CenturyLink good?

When we size up an Internet Service Provider (ISP), customer satisfaction is an important factor. In our 2019 survey of customers from the 10 largest DSL and fiber internet service providers in the United States, CenturyLink tied for fifth place with a combined overall score of 3.99 (out of 5).

Let’s zoom in on CenturyLink’s ratings by category.

  • Customer support: 3.99 (7th)
  • Install and setup: 4.11 (8th)
  • Modem satisfaction: 4.05 (6th)
  • Monthly bill: 3.82 (2nd)
  • Reliability: 4.01 (7th)
  • Value: 3.93 (4th)

CenturyLink scored average to below-average in the customer support, install and setup, modem satisfaction, and reliability categories. But it rallied in billing and value, thanks to its no contracts and Price for Life promotion on its DSL plans, where choosing paperless billing means your payment won’t go up as long as you have your plan.

Pros

  • 👍 No contracts
  • 👍 Price for Life

Cons

  • 👎 No Price for Life on fiber without bundling
  • 👎 So-so customer service
  • 👎 Unpredictable area availability>/b>

Best CenturyLink Packages

Swipe Left to See All →
PackagePrice*Download/Upload speedsPhone plan featuresPrice for Life?
Best for speed
CenturyLink Fiber Internet
$65/mo.†Up to 940 Mbps both ways

Best fiber bundle
Price for Life Double Play Fiber Gigabit
$85/mo.Up to 940 Mbps both ways
  • Unlimited nationwide calling, incl. Canada and U.S. territories

  • Up to 10 calling features

  • Price for Life

  • No contract

  • No activation fee

  • Best DSL plan
    Price for Life 100 Mbps
    $49/mo.Download: up to 100 Mbps

    Upload: up to 30 Mbps

    Best DSL bundle
    Price for Life Double Play 100 Mbps
    $85/mo.Download: up to 100 Mbps

    Upload: up to 30 Mbps

  • Unlimited nationwide calling, incl. Canada and U.S. territories

  • Up to 10 calling features

  • Price for Life

  • No contract

  • No activation fee

  • Data effective 12/12/2019. Pricing and speeds are subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas.
    * Rate requires paperless billing and excludes taxes. Additional fees apply
    † Plan doesn’t qualify for Price for Life.

    Do you want only internet service? A fiber optic internet connection is the best you can get (until we’re all hard-wired into the hive mind).

    With CenturyLink’s 1 Gbps fiber plan, you get download and upload speeds of up to 940 Mbps. That’s a big deal, because cable and DSL speeds aren’t even close to symmetrical (for example, CenturyLink’s fastest DSL plan gives you 100 Mbps down and 30 Mbps up).

    At $65 a month, that’s five bucks better than other fiber internet providers like AT&T offer. This would be an even better deal if Price for Life applied, but it unfortunately doesn’t—unless you bundle with phone service.

    CenturyLink’s Price for Life Double Play Fiber Gigabit plan ($85 a month) includes fiber internet plus the Home Phone Unlimited plan, which gives you a landline with unlimited nationwide calling (including to Canada and U.S. territories) along with up to 10 calling features.

    Since the regular price for fiber internet is $65 a month and Home Phone Unlimited is $60 a month, the bundle represents a monthly savings of $40 (or 32%). Another way to look at it is that you’re only paying $20 a month for the landline—which is a fair price for a service that’s increasingly less useful.

    If you can’t get fiber, you can still bundle one of CenturyLink’s DSL internet plans with phone service and save. Let’s look at those internet plans and internet-phone bundles.

    CenturyLink internet packages

    Swipe Left to See All →
    PackagePrice‡Download/upload speedsPrice for Life?
    Best fiber plan
    CenturyLink Fiber Internet
    $65/mo.†Up to 940 Mbps both ways

    Best DSL plan
    Price for Life 100 Mbps
    $49/mo.Download: up to 100 Mbps

    Upload: up to 30 Mbps

    DSL
    Price for Life 15 Mbps
    $49/mo.Download: up to 15 Mbps

    Upload: up to 1 Mbps

    DSL
    Price for Life 20 Mbps
    $49/mo.Download: up to 20 Mbps

    Upload: up to 2 Mbps

    DSL
    Price for Life 40 Mbps
    $49/mo.Download: up to 40 Mbps

    Upload: up to 3 Mbps

    DSL
    Price for Life 80 Mbps
    $49/mo.Download: up to 80 Mbps

    Upload: up to 5 Mbps

    Data effective 10/21/2019. Pricing and speeds are subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas.
    † Fiber plan not eligible for Price for Life.
    ‡ Rate requires paperless billing and excludes taxes. Additional fees apply.

    Unfortunately, area availability limits the plans you can purchase. Now’s a good time to see what speeds CenturyLink offers at your address.

    If you clicked that link, you might already be discovering that drastically different speeds within the same area are sort of a CenturyLink trademark. Someone you know may have fiber, but your house qualifies for “speeds” of (wait for it) up to 1.5 Mbps through CenturyLink. Pretty pitiful, huh?

    You may want to consider that before signing up. If your household guzzles bandwidth with multiple simultaneous streams, online gaming, and dropping bazillions of dank memes, you need a speedy connection.

    Fiber, at up to 940 Mbps, will let you suck down all kinds of data. It’ll also (unlike cable and DSL connections) give you upload speeds to match. (Remember, however, that fiber internet-only doesn’t qualify for Price for Life—but it does if you bundle with phone service.)

    If you can’t get fiber, you can still make it rain memes with most of CenturyLink’s DSL speeds. A family of four, with their own phones and other devices, can do a lot with 20–100 Mbps. A couple, or two roommates, can make 15–20 Mbps work pretty well.

    But if you live in an area where Centurylink offers only up to 1.5 Mbps? That’s only worth $49 a month if you live on a mountaintop and have no other choices.

    All plans come with a 1 TB data allowance, which is more than most of us will need.

    Learn more about CenturyLink Internet plans.

    CenturyLink Fiber: Nice speed, if you can get it.

    I’ve had CenturyLink Fiber for almost two years now—apparently, I live in a special neighborhood. The Price for Life deal seemed too good to be true, but my bill has remained $55 a month, which is $10 cheaper than my previous CenturyLink DSL hookup.

    The fiber speeds are as advertised, and I’ve experienced no slowdowns or outages so far (mine is a fiber-to-premises connection, the best-case scenario for fiber internet). It handles simultaneous web surfing and livestreaming TV much more smoothly than my old DSL and cable connections ever did, but the best part of fiber internet service for me is the equal download and upload speed.

    Like everyone else you know, I host and record a podcast—it’s about TV, not unsolved murders, so don’t get too excited. With my previous DSL and cable internet services, it would take 45 minutes or more to upload an hour of audio (around 300 Mbps). With fiber, it uploads in 5 minutes or less. I used to make a snack during the upload period; now, I barely have time to type the podcast synopsis before it’s done. First-world problems, I know.

    —Bill Frost, staff writer

    CenturyLink internet and phone bundles

    Swipe Left to See All →
    PackagePrice*Download/upload speedsPhone plan featuresPrice for Life?
    Best fiber bundle
    Price for Life Double Play Fiber Gigabit
    $85/mo.Up to 940 Mbps both ways
  • Unlimited nationwide calling, incl. Canada and U.S. territories

  • Up to 10 calling features

  • Price for Life

  • No contract

  • No activation fee

  • Best DSL bundle
    Price for Life Double Play 100 Mbps
    $85/mo.Download: up to 100 Mbps

    Upload: up to 30 Mbps

  • Unlimited nationwide calling, incl. Canada and U.S. territories

  • Up to 10 calling features

  • Price for Life

  • No contract

  • No activation fee

  • DSL
    Price for Life Double Play 15 Mbps
    $85/mo.Download: up to 15 Mbps

    Upload: up to 1 Mbps

  • Unlimited nationwide calling, incl. Canada and U.S. territories

  • Up to 10 calling features

  • Price for Life

  • No contract

  • No activation fee

  • DSL
    Price for Life Double Play 20 Mbps
    $85/mo.Download: up to 20 Mbps

    Upload: up to 2 Mbps

  • Unlimited nationwide calling, incl. Canada and U.S. territories

  • Up to 10 calling features

  • Price for Life

  • No contract

  • No activation fee

  • DSL
    Price for Life Double Play 40 Mbps
    $85/mo.Download: up to 40 Mbps

    Upload: up to 3 Mbps

  • Unlimited nationwide calling, incl. Canada and U.S. territories

  • Up to 10 calling features

  • Price for Life

  • No contract

  • No activation fee

  • DSL
    Price for Life Double Play 80 Mbps
    $85/mo.Download: up to 80 Mbps

    Upload: up to 5 Mbps

  • Unlimited nationwide calling, incl. Canada and U.S. territories

  • Up to 10 calling features

  • Price for Life

  • No contract

  • No activation fee

  • Data effective 12/12/2019. Pricing and speeds are subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas.
    * Requires a Price For Life Home Phone subscription. Additional fees apply. Rate excludes taxes and voice fees/surcharges.

    You can also bundle CenturyLink internet and phone services. CenturyLink gives you unlimited nationwide calling with any of its six internet plans—and the bundles all qualify for Price for Life.

    As we mentioned earlier, fiber is the best value at $85 a month. With this double-play bundle, you’re paying the regular fiber price ($65 a month) and only $20 a month for the phone line. Since phone service is normally $60, you’re saving $40 monthly.

    If you bundle phone service with a DSL plan, you’ll pay the regular price for internet ($49 a month) plus $36 for phone service. That works out to a total savings of $24 per month.

    CenturyLink internet-and-phone bundles.

    CenturyLink perks, cool stuff, and deals

    Yeah, but what’s in it for you? (You know, besides the services, savings and stuff.) Unfortunately, CenturyLink has no active deals or promotions beyond Price for Life.

    CenturyLink unique features

    Keep these cool things about CenturyLink in mind:

    • There are no contracts.
    • Price for Life ensures your payment won’t go up as long as you keep your plan, but it is not available on CenturyLink’s Fiber Internet.

    CenturyLink equipment

    We live in the future—but until we achieve full brain-to-cloud integration, we still have to rely on machines like routers for internet and DVRs for TV.

    Here’s the lowdown on gadgets you’ll need with CenturyLink service.

    CenturyLink modem/router

    You’ll need a modem to use CenturyLink internet service. You can lease or purchase one through the company for $10 a month or purchase your own somewhere else.

    If you decide to purchase one instead, don’t forget that you’ll also need a router. We’ve researched the best CenturyLink-compatible modem-router combos just for you. They’ll set you back $23–$260 depending on how many bells and whistles you want.

    Our final take on CenturyLink

    The biggest thing CenturyLink has going for it is price and value. And honestly, those are most people’s bigger concerns when shopping for internet and phone service. And it makes the company’s Price for Life promotion extra sexy.

    Don’t get us wrong—customer support, install and setup, modem satisfaction, and reliability are equally important. We find CenturyLink’s middle-of-the-pack scores in those categories somewhat discouraging.

    With that in mind, average still means decent. So go ahead and give CenturyLink a try for internet and phone service. Since there’s no contract, there’s no risk. You’re free to leave if you’re not happy.

    Family watching TV at night in living room | CableTV.com

    CenturyLink FAQ

    Can I get CenturyLink at my house? 

    CenturyLink is more than likely available at your home. See if your home is eligible for CenturyLink internet, or phone service.

    Is CenturyLink any good? 

    CenturyLink is pretty good. In CableTV.com’s 2019 customer satisfaction survey, CenturyLink finished in a tie for fifth place with a combined rating of 3.99 out of 5 stars. When we broke it down by category, however, we saw that CenturyLink’s strengths are in pricing and value, and its weaknesses are in customer support and technical issues.

    What kind of support does CenturyLink provide? 

    CenturyLink provides customer support and technical support by chat and phone.

    • Chat with CenturyLink customer support
    • Call CenturyLink customer support

    Do I get a discount for bundling services with CenturyLink? 

    CenturyLink internet-and-phone double-play bundles will save you money. If you qualify for fiber internet, you can bundle it with CenturyLink’s Home Phone Unlimited plan and save $40 a month. That’s a significant discount (32%) over the regular prices.

    If you don’t qualify for fiber internet through CenturyLink, you can save $24 monthly by bundling any of the provider’s DSL internet plans with Home Phone Unlimited.

    Does CenturyLink require a contract? 

    CenturyLink does not require a contract.

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