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CenturyLink vs. Mediacom

Mediacom offers generous data limits and fast speeds, but CenturyLink wins on reasonable prices and a fantastic fiber gigabit plan.

  • Best for affordable prices
    • Price: $30.00–$75.00/mo.
    • Customer rating: 3.6/5
    • Speed: 100–940 Mbps
    • Internet type: Fiber, DSL
    • Data cap: None
    • Contract: Month to month
  • Best for big data users
    • Price: $24.99–$54.99/mo.
    • Customer rating: 3.4/5
    • Speed: 100–1,000 Mbps
    • Internet type: Cable
    • Data cap: 350–8,500GB
    • Contract: Month to month

Bottom line

CenturyLink is great for users who want a no-nonsense plan without price hikes or annual contracts. Its fiber plans are well priced, and the fiber network gets you symmetrical speeds and premium reliability. Both of CenturyLink’s plans also have no data caps.

Mediacom is ideal if you use a lot of data every month with smart home appliances or online gaming—the data caps on higher-tier plans are absurdly high. There are no annual contracts, but beware of the price hikes. Some plans will go up significantly in price after a year of service and go up again a year later.

CenturyLink vs. Mediacom internet

Pros:

  • No data caps
  • Great price for 200Mbps fiber plan

Cons:

  • Inconsistent availability
  • Slow speeds on DSL

Pros:

  • Lots of data on top-tier plans
  • Free installation with online sign up

Cons:

  • Merciless price hikes
  • Low data cap on baseline plan

CenturyLink vs. Mediacom packages and pricing

CenturyLink is the best pick out of these two providers when it comes to packages and pricing. CenturyLink’s plans are straightforward, easy to understand, and don’t have arbitrary fees and price hikes buried in the fine print like Mediacom does.

Mediacom, however, does have a wider range of high-speed internet plans available. Its network also runs over coaxial cables, which tend to be a lot faster and more reliable than DSL.

Let’s take a gander and see who’s got the finest internet plans.

CenturyLink packages

PackagePriceSpeed*Internet type
Simply Unlimited Internet 100Mbps$55/mo.*Up to 100 MbpsDSL
Simply Unlimited Internet 140Mbps$55/mo.*Up to 140 MbpsDSL
CenturyLink Fiber Internet 200Mbps$30/mo.#Up to 200 MbpsFiber
CenturyLink Fiber Gigabit Internet$75/mo.|Up to 940 MbpsFiber

CenturyLink offers a simple menu of internet options.

CenturyLink’s Fiber Internet Gigabit plan is a great deals on gigabit internet. As the name suggests, this plan runs over fiber, so it’s extremely dependable and will likely meet your speed expectations as advertised. The contract goes month to month, so no need to worry about draconian annual commitments, and you get installation and equipment included for no extra fee. Even better is CenturyLink’s 200Mbps fiber plan, which costs a mere $30 a month (an absolutely killer deal!) and gives you enough bandwidth to support several users for simultaneous streaming, gaming, and video calls.

There’s also CenturyLink’s DSL internet service, which gives users anywhere from 15Mbps to 140Mbps download speeds depending on what’s available in their area. There are no data caps, and you’ll be on a convenient, month-to-month contract. But this is a slow plan on a tech type that’s fast becoming obsolete, so we don’t recommend it if you have to choose between that and Mediacom’s cable plans.

Mediacom packages

PackagePriceSpeed*DataInternet type
Internet 100$24.99/mo.100Mbps350GBCable
Internet 300$44.99/mo.300Mbps1,500GBCable
Internet 1Gig$54.99/mo.1,000Mbps (1Gbps)3,000GBCable
PackageInternet 100
Price$24.99/mo.
Speed*100Mbps
Data350GB
Internet typeCable
PackageInternet 300
Price$44.99/mo.
Speed*300Mbps
Data1,500GB
Internet typeCable
PackageInternet 1Gig
Price$54.99/mo.
Speed*1,000Mbps (1Gbps)
Data3,000GB
Internet typeCable

Mediacom hooks you up with low prices (at least initially) and generous data allowances (except for the baseline plan), so you’ll have a lot more flexibility to stream video and have smart home appliances without the worry of overage charges. Mediacom’s plans run over a cable network—always faster and more reliable than DSL.

But reading the fine print is especially important when it comes to Mediacom. The plans may seem decently priced at first, but many of them have steep price hikes. The Internet 1Gig plan, originally billed for $54.99, goes up $40 after one year. The Internet 100 plan starts at $24.99 but then shoots up to $29.99 after one year. Also, you only get 350GB on the Internet 100 plan, undercutting its $24.99 monthly price tag; many people blaze through more data than that per month, and you could easily rack up overage charges if you’re not careful.

It’s a good thing Mediacom has no annual contracts, so you can bail before it gets too pricey.

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Deals and promotions: CenturyLink vs. Mediacom

Xtream Powered by Mediacom
If you refer a new customer to CenturyLink services and they sign up, you and the new customer will both get a reward of up to $100.

Get installation for free when you order the 360 Internet or Smart Internet package with your internet plan.

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CenturyLink vs. Mediacom: Who has the fastest internet speed?

Internet speeds

CenturyLink and Mediacom both offer plans gigabit download speeds—some of the fastest internet speeds available for residential users in the US. But CenturyLink’s gigabit plan is obviously the much better deal because it costs less and runs on a fiber network.

As its name suggests, CenturyLink’s Fiber Internet plan delivers gigabit speeds over fiber, the fastest and most reliable type of internet you can get. Mediacom offers its 1Gig plan over a cable network, which also works great but can experience neighborhood-wide slowdowns during peak hours.

CenturyLink’s gigabit-speed Fiber Internet plan goes for $70 a month, while Mediacom’s Prime Internet 1 Gig plan (boasting the same speed) starts off at $54.99. However, Mediacom’s plan goes up $40 after a year.

Measure your speed needs:

Use our handy How Much Speed Do I Need? tool to see how fast your internet needs to be.

Internet types

CenturyLink has DSL and fiber internet. Mediacom provides cable internet. Fiber is the best type of internet around because it’s fast and reliable. CenturyLink’s DSL plans don’t have nearly the same spectrum of possibilities as Mediacom’s cable plans.

DSL can hit a max speed of only around 140 Mbps, and we’ve found residences in some cities where 15 Mbps or even less was the only option available to CenturyLink’s DSL customers.

By comparison, Mediacom’s cable network can comfortably hit anywhere from 100 to 1,000 Mbps speeds and everywhere in between, so you won’t be forced to choose between “kinda slow” or “needlessly fast” like you might with CenturyLink.

Internet availability

CenturyLink’s Fiber Internet plan is available in select areas—only about 33% of the US population has access to any kind of fiber internet, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). And CenturyLink’s other DSL options don’t always deliver the same speeds in every area.

To give you a few examples, we did some research and found that 100 Mbps speeds were available to CenturyLink’s DSL customers in densely populated parts of Seattle and Denver. But there was one area in Phoenix where we could find only 10 Mbps max speeds available for the same fee of $50 a month.

Editor’s take:

If 10 Mbps is all you can get for $50 a month from CenturyLink, then it’s definitely worth considering Mediacom as an alternative.

Internet data caps

Mediacom goes all out when it comes to data caps. That’s really the best thing about a Mediacom deal. The 1 Gig plan takes it to the max with a handsome 6 TB.

Getting 6 TB on your plan is like finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. With 6 TB, you could stream Disney’s Frozen all the way through 800 times in 1080p and still have 2 TB left over to game online and operate numerous smart home devices. It’s not an unlimited plan, but most users wouldn’t even know what to do with that much data.

Then again, customers on CenturyLink’s DSL and fiber internet plans have genuine unlimited data. Want to stream Frozen 1,600 times? In 4K? Suuuuure . . . just make sure you don’t end up in violation of CenturyLink’s Excessive Use Policy and get your internet cut off.

Pro tip:

Mediacom charges $10 per 50 GB if you go over your monthly data cap. CenturyLink doesn’t do overage charges, so no need to worry. See our data caps guide for more details on how monthly data limits work.

CenturyLink vs. Mediacom fees and contracts

Nobody likes hidden fees and tricky contracts, so we went ahead and looked through the fine print to see what kind of Cracker Jack–style surprises CenturyLink and Mediacom have tucked away for you to find at the bottom of your bill.

CenturyLink fees

FeesAmount
Modem rental$15/mo. (or $150 flat fee)
Installation$15–$99 (free with fiber internet)
Secure Wi-Fi service$5/mo. (optional)
Declined payment$10–$25
Late fees$5 or percentage of bill
Cancellation feeN/A
TaxesCost may vary

To protect your system from hacking and malware, CenturyLink has Secure Wi-Fi technology built into its routers and modems to warn you about higher-risk websites you may be visiting and to block malicious activity targeting your smart home devices.

Your home network will already be secure so long as you take the proper precautions, but this is an extra bit of security and costs an extra $5 per month.

Be careful if you’re in the middle of switching credit cards or don’t have enough funds in your bank account. CenturyLink will punish your wallet with a fee of $10 to $25 if you make a payment on your card but it doesn’t go through.

If you make your payment past the monthly deadline, you’ll be hit with either a fixed late fee of $5 or a percentage of your bill—or possibly both. Sign up for AutoPay if you’re the forgetful type.

Mediacom fees

FeesAmount
Modem rental$11.50/mo.
Installation$99.99 (waived if you order online)
Activation$10.00
Overage charge$10.00/50 GB
Late feesUp to $10.00
Cancellation fee (1- to 3-year contracts only)$120.00–$240.00
TaxesCost may vary

Mediacom does only professional installation, so you can’t install it yourself. But it will waive your $99.99 installation fee if you order online—sahweet.

However, just to get a Mediacom plan, you will have to pay a $10 activation fee. We’re not sure why you should pay $10 just to have the company switch on your internet, but c’est la vie.

Also, if you’ve had a plan with Mediacom for several years and have signed an annual contract, you’ll have to pay a pretty penny if you decide to cancel before your agreement is up. Early termination will cost up to $120 for a one-year contract and as much as $240 for a two- or three-year contract.

Internet contracts

CenturyLink offers month-to-month contracts, which is always nice because it lets you switch providers without incurring penalties.

Mediacom also does monthly contracts, requiring no annual commitment from the customer.

Editor’s pick:

We prefer CenturyLink over Mediacom when it comes to the fine print because CenturyLink doesn’t impose arbitrary “activation” fees or charge for exceeding your data cap.

CenturyLink vs. Mediacom equipment

Renting a modem and router

If you don’t have much patience for tech stuff, you’ll save a lot of headaches by simply renting a router/modem from your internet provider.

It costs $11.50 a month to get one from Mediacom and $15.00 for CenturyLink. Or, in CenturyLink’s case, you can just pay $150.00 upfront to buy the modem and router.

Buying a modem and router

You can buy a modem and router yourself if you’d prefer to pick something that’s up to your own personal specifications. Owning your router gives you more control over security settings and advanced features, or if you’d like to boost your Wi-Fi signal to a wider reach.

Pro tip:

If you have the money upfront, buy CenturyLink’s modem and router straight away so you don’t have to pay the monthly rental fees.

CenturyLink vs. Mediacom customer service

Customer satisfaction

Overall customer satisfaction rating:

3.6

Xtream Powered by Mediacom

 

Overall customer satisfaction rating:

3.4

In terms of overall customer satisfaction, CenturyLink and Mediacom both get below-average ratings, ranking towards the bottom in most of the categories of our annual customer satisfaction survey. CenturyLink does fairly well for price, though, and its fiber customers have given great feedback for speed as well.

Test your speed

Are you satisfied with your current internet? See how fast it is with our speed test app.

Test your speed:

Are you satisfied with your current internet? See how fast it is with our speed test tool.

CenturyLink vs. Mediacom availability

CenturyLink

Top 5 states:

  1. Colorado
  2. Missouri
  3. Washington
  4. North Carolina
  5. Arkansas

Mediacom

Top 5 states:

  1. Iowa
  2. Illinois
  3. Missouri
  4. Minnesota
  5. Indiana

CenturyLink casts a wide net across the United States, providing DSL and fiber internet in the Pacific Northwest, Mountain West, and many states along the Mississippi River. It’s also available in parts of Virginia, North Carolina, and Alabama.

Mediacom’s coverage is more focused around the Midwest, spanning southern Minnesota, southwest Wisconsin, and northern Indiana. Its network also covers most of Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri, and it’s available in pockets of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Delaware.

Run a search using your ZIP code to see if CenturyLink or Mediacom can hook you up with Wi-Fi at your house:

Find internet in your area.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • No data caps
  • Competitively priced fiber plans

Cons:

  • Limited fiber availability
  • Slow DSL speeds in some areas
 

 

Pros:

  • Reliable cable internet
  • Large data allotments

Cons:

  • Big price hikes after one year
  • Arbitrary activation fee
 

Our verdict: Go with CenturyLink if decent speeds are available in your area.

We like CenturyLink the best because it has straightforward plans, unlimited data, and no annual contracts. CenturyLink also delivers the most affordable fiber internet on the market.

Mediacom also deserves credit for not locking customers into annual contracts, offering an extra bit of flexibility if you decide to switch providers. It’s also nice that Mediacom offers extremely generous data allowances on most of its plans, and it’s an added bonus that you won’t have to pay the installation fee if you sign up online.

But Mediacom plays too many games with price hikes for our taste. Some of their plans practically double in price over two years, which seems to incentivize the customer to switch providers when it gets too expensive rather than stay loyal.

Get internet now:

CenturyLink vs. Mediacom FAQ

Is CenturyLink internet any good?

CenturyLink internet is a great choice, especially if you want cheap Wi-Fi with no annual commitments or with gigabit internet running on a fiber network. CenturyLink has no data caps on any of its DSL and fiber deals, and it offers one of the most affordable fiber gigabit plans in the country.

Is Mediacom internet any good?

Mediacom will be a good choice for customers who want fast speeds and use tons of data. Mediacom’s plans run over a cable network, which is strong and reliable. Depending on the plan, you can get speeds anywhere from 60 Mbps to 1,000 Mbps.

There are huge monthly data allowances for most of the plans, so you’ll be free to stream and game to your heart’s content. Just watch out for the price hikes that kick in starting a year after you sign up. (The good news is there aren’t any contracts.)

Is CenturyLink better than Mediacom?

CenturyLink is better than Mediacom because it has lower prices, fewer price hikes, and fewer surprise charges buried in the fine print. Still, Mediacom is worth considering since it has a wider range of plans, extremely generous data allowances, and runs over a strong cable system.

Who has the fastest internet: CenturyLink or Mediacom?

CenturyLink and Mediacom both offer gigabit internet plans with 1,000 Mbps download speeds. But we’re putting our money on CenturyLink as the slightly faster option because its gigabit plan runs over a super sleek fiber-optic network.

CenturyLink’s fiber gigabit plan is also much less expensive than Mediacom’s cable gigabit plan, which sees big price hikes starting after the first year.

Author -

Peter Holslin has more than a decade of experience working as a writer and freelance journalist. He graduated with a BA in liberal arts and journalism from New York City’s The New School University in 2008 and went on to contribute to publications like Rolling Stone, VICE, BuzzFeed, and countless others. At HighSpeedInternet.com, he focuses on covering 5G, nerding out about frequency bands and virtual RAN, and producing reviews on emerging services like 5G home internet. He also writes about internet providers and packages, hotspots, VPNs, and Wi-Fi troubleshooting.

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for HighSpeedInternet.com for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.

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