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CenturyLink vs. Cox

We compare two major internet providers on price, contracts, and extra perks.

  • Best for bargain prices
    • Customer rating: 3.7 / 5
    • Price: $49.99–$149.99/mo.*
    • Speed: 100–2,000 Mbps
    • Internet type: Cable
    • Contract: Annual (month-to-month options available)
  • Best for gigabit speeds
    • Customer rating: 3.6 / 5
    • Price: $30.00–$75.00/mo.**#
    • Speed: 140–940 Mbps
    • Internet type: Fiber, DSL
    • Contract: Month to month
    Compare Top Features

*for 12 mos. No annual contract.

Compare Cox vs. CenturyLink head to head

We think CenturyLink’s fiber internet plans provide the best value, provided one of the two fiber plans is a good fit for your needs. Each plan provides a lot of speed for the money and steers away from the price hikes and extra fees you might get with Cox. We absolutely do not recommend going for CenturyLink’s DSL over Cox’s cable internet (or any cable internet service). DSL isn’t up to the task of fulfilling modern bandwidth needs.

Cox has an advantage when it comes to mid-tier variety, with more plans to choose from. This makes it easier to find the perfect speed vs. price fit for your household. Additionally, Cox has better availability and higher customer service ratings than CenturyLink; so not only is the service easier to get, but you’ll likely have a better customer experience with Cox.

Pros and cons: Cox vs. CenturyLink

Pros:

  • Wider availability of fast speeds
  • Excellent customer service ratings
  • Lots of bundle deals

Cons:

  • Annual contracts
  • Data caps on all plans

Pros:

  • Unlimited data on all plans
  • Excellent price on fiber plan
  • No annual contracts

Cons:

  • Slow speeds on DSL
  • Limited fiber availability

Want to know if you can find Cox or CenturyLink in your area? Find out by typing in your zip code below.

Plans and pricing: Cox vs. CenturyLink

Cox has a lot to choose from, including some impressive, budget-friendly packages. CenturyLink has just two packages—slow DSL or much faster fiber—but either way you get great perks like unlimited data and a month-to-month contract.

Cox plans and pricing

PackagePriceSpeed (download/upload)Details
Cox Go Fast$49.99/mo. ($10 more per mo. w/out annual contract)100 Mbps/5MbpsView Plans
Cox Go Faster$69.99/mo. ($10 more per mo. w/out annual contract)Up to 250 Mbps/10MbpsView Plans
Cox Go Even Faster$89.99/mo. ($10 more per mo. w/out annual contract)*500 Mbps/10MbpsView Plans
Cox Go Super Fast$109.99/mo. ($10 more per mo. w/out annual contract)1,000 Mbps/35MbpsView Plans
Cox Go Beyond Fast$149.99/mo.2,000 Mbps/100MbpsView Plans

*for 12 mos. No annual contract.

Fast speeds and wide availability—but slow uploads and big price hikes

Cox has great prices (at least up front) and a lot of options for customers to pick from. Most customers would be best off with one of the mid-tier plans, Go Faster and Go Even Faster. It’s Cox’s Go Faster plan which really fills the mid-tier hole in CenturyLink’s plan roster; you get an adequate speed at a good price. Cox also offers a prepaid plan called StraightUp Internet, which we like because it doesn’t require an annual term agreement and comes with a modem as part of the monthly fee.

The speeds you’ll get on a Cox plan range from a modest 100 Mbps all the way up to 2,000 Mbps. The 100 Mbps Go Fast plan is relatively cheap up front, but we’re not so keen on the big price hikes that come after 12 months of service. Depending on the plan you have, your bill could go up significantly or even double in price after 12 months of service. That might put some of the faster plans out of reach for some users, while the budget plans aren’t as plum of a deal after a year.

Cox (whose parent company is cable TV provider Cox Communications) also charges some extra fees, not all of which you’ll have to deal with from CenturyLink. Cox’s internet plans come with annual contracts. If you cancel your plan before the year is up, you’ll have to pay $10 for every month left on your bill. You can waive the term agreement, but it will cost you $10 more per month on your bill.

Cox low-cost internet plans

Cox has two great low-cost internet plans for individuals and families receiving government assistance:

ConnectAssist package : up to 100 Mbps for individuals receiving government assistance.

Connect2Compete package : up to 100 Mbps for families with children K-12 receiving government assistance. 

CenturyLink plans and pricing

PackagePriceSpeedDetails
Simply Unlimited Internet 100Mbps$55.00/mo.*Up to 100 Mbps
Simply Unlimited Internet 140Mbps$55.00/mo.*Up to 140 Mbps
CenturyLink Fiber Internet 200Mbps$30.00/mo.#200 Mbps
CenturyLink Fiber Gigabit Internet$75.00/mo.|940 Mbps

Fiber firepower or dozing DSL—take your pick

CenturyLink Fiber Internet plans both deliver superb speeds for the money—if it’s available in your area, then we say go for it. CenturyLink’s Fiber Gigabit plan costs about $35 per month less than Cox’s gigabit plan; it matches Cox on speed and goes one further by giving you symmetrical upload speeds, which is perfect for backing up files to the cloud, spending time on Zoom, and posting to social media.

The only drawback to CenturyLink’s fiber plan is that it has much lower availability compared to Cox. And CenturyLink’s other option, Simply Unlimited Internet, isn’t quite as rosy—a straightforward DSL plan, it gives you unlimited data but relatively sluggish speeds. Technically a DSL connection can hit 100 Mbps, but what you can get depends on what’s available in your area, which could be much slower. The price also isn’t the best considering the technical limitations, although it’s more or less similar to Cox’s budget-tier plans.

HSI badge deals

Deals and promotions: Cox vs. CenturyLink

Cox Communications
Get free Panoramic wifi equipment rental for 24 mos with the purchase of any Cox internet plan.

Get the Deal
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.

Extra fees: Cox vs. CenturyLink

Equipment feeInstallation feeOther fees
Cox$14/mo. (Panoramic Wi-Fi)$100.00 for professional install; free for self-install kit$10/mo. (early termination), late fees based on state laws and regulations
CenturyLink$15/mo. or $200 to own$99.00 for professional install; free for self-install; $85.00 for phone jack install or DSL (if needed)Late fee is $5 or a percentage of your total bill

Cox and CenturyLink both charge fairly standard fees. Cox’s rental modem is cheaper than CenturyLink’s. But Cox also has early termination fees for customers who cancel an internet plan before their annual term agreement is up.

Pro tip: Buy a router to save money

Renting a router from your provider is the easiest way to go, but it isn’t very cost effective—you’ll be running up rental costs till the end of time when you could simply buy your own equipment instead.

Buying your own modem and router also lets you choose more up-to-date equipment with additional speed, security, and parental features.

We have more info on buying routers farther down on this page, so take a gander for recommendations into the best equipment.

Customer ratings: Cox vs. CenturyLink

OverallSpeedPriceReliabilityCustomer service
Cox3.7/53.9/53.4/53.7/53.8/5
CenturyLink3.7/53.6/53.4/53.5/53.5/5

Cox gets better ratings than CenturyLink in our annual customer satisfaction survey. Out of 15 providers examined, Cox gets average to above-average ratings for speed, reliability, customer service, and overall satisfaction. If you’re having any issues with Cox’s service, you can call its 24/7 tech support service or consult Cox’s live chat.

CenturyLink gets lower-ranking scores for overall satisfaction and most other categories. However, it gets fairly solid ratings for price, tying with Cox with a respectable 3.4 out of 5. CenturyLink’s customers likely give it high marks for price thanks to the provider’s affordable fiber options and the unlimited data that comes with its DSL plan.

Curious if you can get Cox or CenturyLink in your area? Type your zip code below to find out.

Best TV and internet bundles

PackageInternet speedTV channelsPriceDetails
Cox Go Fast + Contour Starter100 Mbps75+$125.99/mo.View Plans
Cox Go Even Faster + Contour Preferred500 Mbps170+$182.99/mo.View Plans

CenturyLink doesn’t offer any bundle deals on internet and TV service. But Cox offers some solid bundles through its cable TV service, Cox Contour . Bundles give you a bit of a discount on TV and internet by letting you combine them. The cheapest Cox bundle gets you 100 Mbps of internet speed and 75 channels, but you have Cox bundling options that go up to 2,000 Mbps and 250 channels.

Internet types: Cox vs. CenturyLink

Internet typeDetails
Cox Communications
Cox
CableView Plans

CenturyLink
Fiber, DSL

Cox has cable internet, which runs over the same coaxial copper wiring as a cable TV network. Cable is fast, reliable, and widely available—our only quibble is that it doesn’t give you the fast upload speeds like you can get with fiber.

CenturyLink delivers both DSL and fiber internet. Fiber-optic internet is by far the best internet around, since it can hit the fastest speeds possible and is impervious to the kinds of electromagnetic interference that can hamper cable and DSL lines. It has a much lower availability nationwide, but hopefully that changes in the coming years.

DSL is an old-school type of internet that gives you a connection over the copper wiring of your landline phone network. It tops out at 100 Mbps—a fraction of the speed you can get over cable or fiber—so it’s best if you have minimal internet needs and if you don’t share your Wi-Fi with more than a few others in your household.

Data caps: Cox vs. CenturyLink

Data capOverage feeDetails
Cox Communications
Cox
1.25 TB$10 per 50 GBView Plans

CenturyLink
UnlimitedN/A

Cox has a 1.25 TB cap on all of its internet plans. That’s a pretty generous cap—it will be just fine for most people, but you’ll need to be more budget-conscious of your data use if you live with a lot of people and like to stream video in 4K. The more users on your Wi-Fi, the faster you’ll burn through data, and overage charges can really add up.

CenturyLink, on the other hand, has no data caps—yay! That means you can spend all the time you want attending Zoom meetings, streaming movies and TV shows, and downloading files from your email. No need to worry about network slowdowns or overage charges.

Pro tip:

A lot of internet providers have raised their data caps over the years, and some don’t have data caps at all. See our guide to data caps to find out which providers give you data limits and which don’t.

Contracts: Cox vs. CenturyLink

Contract lengthEarly termination feeDetails
Cox Communications
Cox
1 yr., month-to-month option for $10/mo. extra$10 per each month left on contract (up to $120 or $240 depending on length of contract)View Plans

CenturyLink
Month-to-monthN/A

CenturyLink has month-to-month contracts with annual term agreements. That means you can cancel your internet any time and you won’t have to pay an early termination fee, the dreaded fee that goes up with each month you have left on your contract.

Cox lets you choose between getting a package with an annual contract or without. If you cancel early on a plan with a contract, you’re on the hook for $10 for each month you have left in the agreement. If you pick a plan with no annual contract, well, you pay $10 extra per month on your bill. You’re not gaining much that way, so you may as well just sign up for the plan with the annual contract.

Installation: Cox vs. CenturyLink

Installation optionsDetails
Cox Communications
Cox
$100.00 for professional install; free for self-install kitView Plans

CenturyLink
$99.00 for professional install; free for self-install; $85.00 for phone jack install or DSL (if needed)

The official price for professional installation from CenturyLink is $99—but lately the internet provider has been offering installation free of charge, with no extra charges added to your bill. However, you may need to pay an additional $85 to install a phone jack for DSL service if you don’t already have one in your house.

Cox charges $100 for professional installation, which means a technician will come over to your home and set everything up. You can save money by installing your new cable setup yourself—an Easy Connect self-install kit doesn’t cost anything extra.

Availability: Cox vs. CenturyLink

Cox is available in 29 states, and you can find CenturyLink in 36 states. CenturyLink has a much bigger US network overall—more than twice the size of Cox’s service footprint. But there’s a lot of overlap between the two providers, and the best way to figure out availability where you live is by using our zip code tool below.

Type in your zip code to see if Cox or CenturyLink is available in your area.

Final call: Cox vs. CenturyLink

If you want gigabit speeds, CenturyLink’s Fiber Gigabit plan is the clear winner. You get much faster upload speeds on that plan, along with unlimited data and no annual contract requirement. If 200Mbps is enough speed for your household, CenturyLink’s Fiber Intenet 200Mbps is also a better value than Cox’s budget plans.

If you’re looking for something more mid-range, Cox’s plans are worth a look. There’s no benefit to purchasing more internet speed than you need.

Fiber isn’t available everywhere, and CenturyLink’s DSL plan is a lot slower than what you can get from Cox. Internet customers who need robust speeds for work or entertainment (or both) would be wise to go with Cox if fiber isn’t available. Cox is also the best option if you want internet and TV in one bundle package—and its excellent customer service ratings mean it’s a solid bet for folks who aren’t super tech-oriented.

CenturyLink’s DSL plan isn’t the fastest thing out there, but it has some strengths. You won’t need to sign up for an annual contract, and you’ll get all the data you need. For most customers, we recommend the DSL plan only as an alternative to satellite internet.

View Cox Plans

Methodology

Our HighSpeedInternet.com editorial team bases our analyses on customer input from our annual customer satisfaction survey, results from our speed test tool, and proprietary internet provider data on speeds and pricing. To strengthen our research, we look closely at provider contracts to get hard-to-find information on price hikes, data caps, and extra fees, and we keep tabs on the latest news reports and online reviews. When applicable, we also rely on our personal experiences testing these services.

FAQ about Cox vs. CenturyLink

What’s the best router for Cox and CenturyLink?

We think the Google Nest Wi-Fi System is the best router for a Cox or CenturyLink internet plan. It doesn’t cost much but supports fast speeds and gives you mesh networking for a wide signal—making it ideal for larger homes and even getting Wi-Fi in your backyard.

There are all sorts of routers available on the market, and many have different strengths when it comes to pricing, speed capability, and extra features. Look over our lists of the best routers to see what works best for you:

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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