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8 / 10  Review Rating

CenturyLink Internet in a Nutshell

Offers Service in: In parts of all 50 states

Major Cities Covered: Phoenix, AZ, Tucson, AZ, Colorado Springs, CO, Denver, CO, Jacksonville, FL, Orlando, FL, Minneapolis, MN, Saint Paul, MN, Charlotte, NC, Albuquerque, NM, Las Vegas, NV, New York, NY, Cincinnati, OH, Columbus, OH, Portland, OR, Austin, TX, El Paso, TX, San Antonio, TX, Salt Lake City, UT, and Seattle, WA

Residential Pricing: $49+ per month

centurylink

Isn’t it frustrating when the price of your monthly internet jumps up after a year when your promotional pricing expires? It’s enough to make me want to cancel my service and shop for a new provider. Luckily CenturyLink’s Price for Life on its Fiber plans makes it a provider worth sticking with for the long haul.

There’s more to CenturyLink’s internet service than just their Price for Life and their contract-free plans that make them a solid choice over giants like AT&T. To make it clear, I’ll go over the plans, pricing, equipment, and customer service in this year’s review of CenturyLink internet. I’ll also show you how the service works from my house, including my speed test results, the equipment I received from CenturyLink, and how to pull up your account from your smartphone.

Let’s get started!

Overview of CenturyLink Internet

If you’ve just moved to an area served by CenturyLink, you may only know the name from CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks. Actually, CenturyLink is one of the fastest-growing fiber internet providers in the US, competing directly against AT&T, Earthlink, and Verizon Fios in many parts of the country. DSL is no longer the hot commodity for internet service, but as CenturyLink builds its fiber network, they’re simultaneously strengthening their DSL network. CenturyLink is usually in the top three for the fastest DSL internet provider where they’re available.

Reliability is as important as fast speeds, and CenturyLink Internet has a good balance of both. The FCC reports that less than half of CenturyLink customers get at least 95 percent of their advertised download speed. Below are the results from my speed test this morning (I have a 100MB Centurylink Fiber plan).

It’s truly blazing fast at all times — as of this writing, my son is watching The Lorax on Netflix, my husband is playing For Honor, and I’m taking Zoom calls while researching — oh, and listening to Spotify, too. If you’re wondering why I pay for 100 Mbps but am only seeing 89Mbps speeds, that can be due to a number of different things, such as the Wi-Fi connection (as you’ll see, my equipment is in the basement but I’m on the second floor).

From my experience, I can do whatever I want as fast as I want it with this fiber connection. Buffering and lagging issues aren’t a problem for us and our internet is blazing fast all day. It should be noted that I live in a major city. Some CenturyLink customers do report slower speeds, and speeds vary depending on where you live.

CenturyLink Speed Test
CenturyLink Speed Test

As far as pricing, CenturyLink’s Price for Life comes with a tradeoff. You’re paying a little more in monthly fee upfront, but don’t get a big price hike in the future when promotional pricing wears off and I’m perfectly OK with that. In my mind, a guaranteed price is hard to beat when you can get reliable speeds.

Before getting into the details of my experience and an explanation of plans, pricing, and the fine print, here are my top pros and cons.

Pros Cons
– No price hikes with Price for Life guarantee
– Fiber internet quality and speed
– Contract-free plans
– Data cap on all plans
– DSL internet plans are comparatively expensive
– Customer service receives low ratings

CenturyLink Plans & Speeds: Is CenturyLink Fast?

CenturyLink advertises five internet plans with download speeds ranging up to 10-940 Mbps, but only two of their plans are really worth considering due to their pricing: the up to 100 Mbps and Gigabit (or up to 940 Mbps) plans. The Price for Life Guarantee applies to all plans with speeds ranging up to 100 Mbps, but each plan will have the same price, $49. That’s reasonable for a 100 Mbps plan compared to the plans I’ve analyzed, but Earthlink, AT&T, and Suddenlink can provide you with cheaper plans for similar speeds.

CenturyLink Plans, Pricing and Speeds

Plan Connection Type Data Cap Monthly Price
Up to 10 Mbps DSL 1 TB $49
Up to 20 Mbps DSL 1 TB $49
Up to 40 Mbps DSL 1 TB $49
Up to 100 Mbps Fiber 1 TB $49
Up to 940 Mbps Fiber 1 TB $65

Oddly enough, there’s no in-between plan from 100 to 940 Mbps. This is where providers like Suddenlink stand out among CenturyLink, especially since they have better prices (for example, Suddenlink charges $44.99 for up to 300 Mbps). That said, I have an active family and the 100 Mbps plan is great for me.

CenturyLink Data Caps

Most cell phone plans now come with unlimited data, and I wish that internet service providers would follow suit. In CenturyLink’s case, each Internet plan comes with a monthly, 1 TB data cap. Most providers claim data caps are in place to ensure each person gets a chance to have a fast, online experience. That being said, Verizon Fios, Frontier Fios, and AT&T Fiber offer data cap free gigabit plans and those speeds are generally blazing fast.

CenturyLink Internet Fees

Fees Cost Avoidable? Type
Professional installation Up to $125 yes One-time
Early Termination fee N/A N/A N/A
Router fee $15 yes monthly

Installation

Installation fees are a necessary evil. Some customers are able to avoid CenturyLink’s almost mysterious professional installation fee. We say mysterious because there isn’t a set price for CenturyLink’s professional internet installation; instead, the price maxes out at $125. We’ve heard reports that you can get this waived, so make sure to ask! In my case, they were installing fiber directly to my home, so I felt pretty good about it. Most providers charge no more than $99 for professional installation placing CenturyLink as one of the more costly providers to sign up with.

Contracts

CenturyLink truly one-ups competitors like Frontier or AT&T by having contract-free internet plans. In my experience, happy customers are going to stick around and a contract-free experience builds trust. If for some reason, Centurylink just doesn’t work for you, cancel! No harm, no foul.

Equipment

Oh, hidden fees. Hidden might be an overstatement because CenturyLink is upfront that if you use CenturyLink’s equipment, you have an additional monthly charge. Many consumers don’t factor that in, but you should. In my case, I pay $49/mo for my internet, along with the modem I’m renting for $15/mo—a total of $64/mo.

You could opt to buy your own router, which could save you hundreds depending on how long you’re with CenturyLink. But I’d recommend sticking to CenturyLink’s equipment, and instead of renting you can choose to buy a router from CenturyLink for $150.

Below is an image of my CenturyLink ZyXel C3000Z router/modem combination. I have mine in the basement and I use an Eero WiFi extender to spread the signal around the entire house. Placing a router/modem in a non-central location in your house is asking for spotty or lackluster WiFi performance. Thankfully, the C3000Z can deliver a strong signal despite its small size.

As you can see, the C3000Z is thinner than a tennis ball and can withstand the Nerf gun wars my son and I enjoy having. Even if you only plan on staying with CenturyLink for a year, you’ll save $30 by buying the router rather than renting/leasing it. You’ll also be able to get faster technical support and free equipment upgrades. I just recommend adding a WiFi extender to your network if you have a multi-level home.

CenturyLink Modem
CenturyLink Modem

CenturyLink Customer Service

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) states the average customer satisfaction score for an internet provider to receive is 62. CenturyLink may have placed in the bottom half, with 59 points, but customer service experience is not easy to generalize. Broadbandnow shows CenturyLink’s customer reviews give CenturyLink Internet a 3.17 star rating out of five. Reading through the reviews, it’s clear CenturyLink’s most disgruntled customers suffer from a slow internet connection or are given empty promises by the rep they spoke to.

There have been complaints about technicians not showing at the scheduled time, sometimes leaving newly relocated customers without internet for days. I have yet to experience a problem with CenturyLink’s customer service. Then again, I live in a major city with reliable speeds and my price is guaranteed—there isn’t much for me to contact CenturyLink about. Most times I’ve had an issue with my router, I’m able to fix it on my own using the CenturyLink app. The app (shown in the screenshots below) has taken away my need to call or even login to my account online—it’s easier to navigate and all my important functions are available, i.e. change/setup autopay, taking a speed test, and resetting my modem.

CenturyLink Speed Breakdown
CenturyLink Speed Breakdown
CenturyLink Modem Reboot
CenturyLink Modem Reboot

The time I did contact CenturyLink was to ask if they offered TV service. They don’t directly, so you’ll need to shop streaming services to find out the best one for you.

Verdict

If speed and reliability is what you’re after, CenturyLink Fiber is an excellent choice. If only CenturyLink DSL is in your area, CenturyLink should be just fine, albeit with slower speeds. CenturyLink isn’t one of the internet providers to add in freebies like streaming service subscriptions or discount programs, but they provide ease of mind which is invaluable with how much my family and my job depend on a reliable internet connection.

If you have “commitment issues”, you’ll be happy with CenturyLink’s contract-free pricing with Price for Life on most plans, so you can “date for a while” before “getting hitched”.

5 thoughts on “CenturyLink Internet Review

  1. Avatar Aaron says:

    I’m here to tell you, they can say they have a price lock for life, but that is a misrepresentation. I have had them a few times and it didn’t matter if it was a six month agreement or two year price lock, what they charged me was wildly erratic. I would caution anyone to watch the billing like a hawk, especially if you do autopay.

  2. Avatar Andrew Wetterlin says:

    I had scheduled for new service to be installed in my home today between 1:00 pm and 5:00pm. I took a half day off of work to make sure I was here to ensure the install could be completed smoothly. I received a voicemail at 2:23pm today saying there was an issue and the installation couldn’t be completed and to call them for more information. I called thinking stuff happens and something must have happened unexpectedly with the install prior to mine and maybe I was being pushed back a day. NOPE, They called to tell me there was in issue with their system on the day I made the appointment and that the payment couldn’t be completed. Why it took them until an hour and a half into my install window to figure this out and let me know nobody was coming I don’t know. As I said earlier I took the time off work for this and this is how they treat a potential customer. When the lady said it’s no problem she can take the payment now and we can schedule another appointment I told her exactly the situation and she simply said “I am sorry but if we can take your payment we can reschedule” again. At that point I just told her no thanks and I will be sticking with comcast. At least they had the decency to show up on time to our appointment. I will recommend to everyone I know against using this company…

  3. Avatar Scott Horten says:

    OMG!! Not sure how Price for Life at $45 became $100+/month 5 months late.
    There financial practices are a scam, in my opinion. Here is my experience:
    Moved and asked to have my service (which was auto-paid on my credit card) hooked up at the new address and add phone service please – no problem we set the date and all seemed good.
    The installer arrives and is hooking the system up so I asked if he knew my new phone #? No he didn’t, “Wait there is no phone install on your work order”. He tried to contact them to get it added but they said I had to call.
    I called and was transferred 22 times (yep I am persistent but the 22nd person started blaming me for the issue and “Why did I call her! She is in collections”, WHAT? Whatever. Told the installer (who was great! btw) to have a good day I would just live without a landline.
    About two months later I am in the middle of my work day and my internet is cut for non payment. Wait I am on autopay, must be a mistake. So I switch to my hotspot while I call. Oh sir, I am so sorry there must have been a mistake they did not transfer your auto pay configuration. “No worries”, I say, “let’s set that up and pay the balance so I can get my internet back.” Mistakes happen right? Turns out to fix their mistake they want to charge me $$ to make a credit card payment and more $$ to reconnect (I don’t remember the exact amounts but it was over $60 total!!) I work from home so I need it hooked back up but I keep pushing and the Customer Service person says “I will put in for credits after we complete the transaction. Not feeling comfortable but thinking surely CenturyLink is an ethical company that honors these types of commitments and like I said I needed the connection, I paid the fees. NEVER saw those credits but figured $60 wasn’t worth the time and frustration after my previous calls to Customer service. Fast forward two more months and I thought, I should go make sure that little fibber that told me I would get credit for the fees actually set up th eautopay.
    Logged into my account and the bill says $200+ due!! What the Flip? Where’s my phone!!??!!
    Called in to get this fixed thinking “Surely they have the previous noes in there Customer Relationship Management software.
    Silly me! No notes, no autopay but another Rep willing to charge me extra $$ to catch up my bill and oh by the way my monthly amount is now $110 a month. WHAT?????
    Hung up and called a competitor, in my case COX.
    With my new service in hand I called back to CenturyLink to cancel. The Rep told me I had to pay the past due amount and the freaking payment fee$$ (again) before I could cancel. I said “What?? Oh H-E- double toothpicks, NO!!! You cancel my service now and send me a final bill”
    After about a month I still hadn’t heard anything from them. Used the online chat to find out what they were doing. Online chat person sent me an email with the Return shipping label and also let me know when I asked about the final bill that “The account is a PrePaid account so there is no final bill”. Their other customer service people must be trained CenturyLink criminals trying to extort money from their own customers!! I will never, never, NEVER EVER do business with CenturyLink.

  4. Avatar nancy says:

    I ordered service for my residence & business, for which they sent boxes but no one ever showed up to install them. TWICE! Therefore the service was never hooked up. I continued on with spectrum. This was in May of 2019 & they have not stopped billing me or harassing me, to date. They are now trying to say I, a senior citizen ordered self install for my home & business. I would have never done that, not in a million years, that’s just one of their lies. I have involved the attorney generals office & centurylink keeps saying they have sent labels to return the boxes & that they will credit everything after they get the boxes. They have never sent the labels & I can prove that through photographed daily mail, in my email. While in the middle of trying to settle things through the office of the attorney general, I get a notice that centurylink has turned my account (that I NEVER had)over to a collection agency. Keeping in mind, centurylink gave me until the 24th of march 2020 to send boxes back (without the labels they claim to have sent)in order to receive the credit, but, On March 21st 2020 is when I received the credit threat. So this is their way of working things out, by lying & deceitful actions. How can someone collect on something they NEVER provided & better yet threaten an excellent credit record for something that NEVER took place?? WORST company & customer service EVER!! Almost a whole year of harassment from this company & still have gotten NO where!

  5. Avatar Nam says:

    This is literally one of the worst internet companies I have ever dealt with in my entire life. After reading the horrible reviews about CenturyLink, I thought I would give the service a try. The technician came and setup my internet and all was well for a few weeks. My neighbor decided to setup one as well but in the process, the technician cuts off my internet. I called to scheduled an appointment but told them to come after I get out of work. They showed up on appointment day when I was at work and didn’t even tell me. I had to call because the tehnician never showed up. They set it up for another day and 2 weeks go by. While waiting I find out that my account number didn’t exist and that the original technician was the one who has caused my neighbors and mines outages. I call customer service and chatted with them online about why no one has solved the issue and was hung up on more than 5 times. They finally fixed the internet and a month goes by when my internet shuts off again. I called to setup a time and my technician Rey from CenturyLink shows up and said he can’t do anything until Monday at 8AM. Monday comes and he never shows up. I called CenturyLink and they couldn’t page him. They suggested that the if the problem persists I’ll have to reschedule again. I told them I don’t even have internet and they just charged me for next month of no internet. This was the final straw. I called and quit the same day I called Comcast to setup my internet. These technicians talk bad about each other in front of the customers, they blatantly lie, they blame others, and they are not trained. The customer service is rude beyond belief and their app/automated system does not work. I warn anyone who is even the slightest interested in CenturyLink to save their money, mental health, and time. Do not use this company. Use Comcast. I will never stop telling my story with CenturyLink. If customers like me don’t stand up to these tech companies, they will continue to screw people over.

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