CenturyLink vs. Xfinity

Best for speed
  • Fast and reliable speeds
  • Free Flex streaming device/service
  • Better range of available speeds
  • Fees if you opt for no-contract plan

Plans start at $20.00/mo.

View Plans for Xfinity

Best for inexpensive fiber
  • No contracts
  • Price for Life
  • Affordable fiber gigabit plans
  • Less availability for its fiber plans than DSL

Plans start at $49.00/mo.

View Plans for CenturyLink

Bottom line

We recommend CenturyLink Fiber if you’re looking for the fastest speeds, and Xfinity Performance Starter if you want a good budget option.

If you need something in the middle, the best internet service depends on whether you want to prioritize internet speeds or no-contract plans. CenturyLink has generally lower speeds, but all its non-fiber plans don’t require contracts and cost $49.99 with Price for Life. Xfinity plans give you faster speeds. And while they start cheaper than CenturyLink’s DSL internet, you have to watch out for price hikes and contracts.

If you don’t live in an area with CenturyLink Fiber but still need a fast and reliable connection, go with Xfinity. But if you want the freedom of no-contract plans, CenturyLink is the better choice.

Xfinity vs. CenturyLink internet

Xfinity CenturyLink

Type of service

Cable, fiber

Type of service

DSL, fiber

Price

$20.00–$299.95/mo.*

Price

$49.00–$65.00/mo.†

Contract

Up to 2 yrs.

Contract

None

Download speeds

25 Mbps–2 Gbps

Download speeds

15 Mbps–940 Mbps

Equipment fees

Up to $14.00/mo.

Equipment fees

Up to $15.00/mo.

Installation fee

$89.99

Installation fee

Up to $125.00

Customer satisfaction

(3.88/5)

Customer satisfaction

(3.76/5)

View Xfinity plansView CenturyLink plans
Xfinity

Type of service

Cable, fiber

CenturyLink

Type of service

DSL, fiber

Xfinity

Price

$20.00–$299.95/mo.*

CenturyLink

Price

$49.00–$65.00/mo.†

Xfinity

Contract

Up to 2 yrs.

CenturyLink

Contract

None

Xfinity

Download speeds

25 Mbps–2 Gbps

CenturyLink

Download speeds

15 Mbps–940 Mbps

Xfinity

Equipment fees

Up to $14.00/mo.

CenturyLink

Equipment fees

Up to $15.00/mo.

Xfinity

Installation fee

$89.99

CenturyLink

Installation fee

Up to $125.00

Xfinity

Customer satisfaction

(3.88/5)

CenturyLink

Customer satisfaction

(3.76/5)

Xfinity View Xfinity plans
CenturyLink View CenturyLink plans

Xfinity vs. CenturyLink packages and pricing

CenturyLink and Xfinity have very dissimilar packages and pricing. CenturyLink has DSL plans up to 100 Mbps and a fiber plan at 940 Mbps with nothing in between. On the other hand, most of Xfinity’s packages live in the 100–2,000 Mbps range.

Xfinity packages

PackagePriceSpeedInternet type
Performance Starter$20.00–$49.95/mo.*25 MbpsCable
Performance Select$34.99/mo.*100 MbpsCable
Performance $40.00–$77.95/mo.*60–100 MbpsCable
Performance Pro$39.99/mo.*200 MbpsCable
Performance Pro Plus$49.99/mo.*200 MbpsCable
Blast!$50.00–$59.99/mo.*200–300 MbpsCable
Extreme$60.00/mo.*300 MbpsCable
Extreme Pro$69.99–$70.00/mo.*600 MbpsCable
Extreme Pro Plus$74.99/mo.*600 MbpsCable
Gigabit$79.99–$84.99/mo.*1,000 MbpsCable
Gigabit Pro$299.95/mo.2,000 MbpsFiber
PackagePerformance Starter
Price$20.00–$49.95/mo.*
Speed25 Mbps
Internet typeCable
PackagePerformance Select
Price$34.99/mo.*
Speed100 Mbps
Internet typeCable
PackagePerformance
Price$40.00–$77.95/mo.*
Speed60–100 Mbps
Internet typeCable
PackagePerformance Pro
Price$39.99/mo.*
Speed200 Mbps
Internet typeCable
PackagePerformance Pro Plus
Price$49.99/mo.*
Speed200 Mbps
Internet typeCable
PackageBlast!
Price$50.00–$59.99/mo.*
Speed200–300 Mbps
Internet typeCable
PackageExtreme
Price$60.00/mo.*
Speed300 Mbps
Internet typeCable
PackageExtreme Pro
Price$69.99–$70.00/mo.*
Speed600 Mbps
Internet typeCable
PackageExtreme Pro Plus
Price$74.99/mo.*
Speed600 Mbps
Internet typeCable
PackageGigabit
Price$79.99–$84.99/mo.*
Speed1,000 Mbps
Internet typeCable
PackageGigabit Pro
Price$299.95/mo.
Speed2,000 Mbps
Internet typeFiber

Xfinity has internet speed plans to handle nearly every level of use, from conservative speeds for basic internet use to ridiculously fast multigigabit speeds for, well, whatever you want.

Not every plan in this list is available everywhere. Xfinity has different plan, speed, and price availability in different areas of the country, which is why some plans with the same name can have varying prices or speeds (and some plans with different names have the same prices or speeds). So check which plans are available to your home before you set your heart on one in particular.

Though many of Xfinity’s plans cost more than CenturyLink’s plans—especially at the higher end—Xfinity offers a better range of faster speeds and better prices for internet plans with speeds up to 100 Mbps (at least for the first year). The Performance Starter plan is a particularly nice budget option that gives you enough speed for most internet activities.

But keep in mind that these prices reflect a few discounts—you have to sign a contract and enroll in autopay and paperless billing to get the advertised prices. If you don’t plan on doing either one of those, expect to pay more.

CenturyLink packages

PackagePrice*SpeedInternet type
CenturyLink Fiber Internet$65/mo.Up to 940 Mbps†Fiber
Price for Life 100 Mbps$49/mo.Up to 100 MbpsDSL
Price for Life 15 Mbps$49/mo.Up to 15 MbpsDSL
PackageCenturyLink Fiber Internet
Price*$65/mo.
SpeedUp to 940 Mbps†
Internet typeFiber
PackagePrice for Life 100 Mbps
Price*$49/mo.
SpeedUp to 100 Mbps
Internet typeDSL
PackagePrice for Life 15 Mbps
Price*$49/mo.
SpeedUp to 15 Mbps
Internet typeDSL

Three words: Price for Life. CenturyLink is one of the only internet service providers (ISPs) that offers price locking on most of its plans for however long you choose to stay a customer. That means no surprise bill increases, which is objectively a good thing. Plus, CenturyLink has a very simple internet plan structure. You basically pay for the type of internet you can get through the provider: fiber or DSL.

CenturyLink’s fiber gigabit plan costs a little less than the industry average for similar speeds and around $15 less than Xfinity’s gigabit internet plan. On top of that, it offers symmetrical upload and download speeds, which means that both types of internet speed are the same (many types of internet speed give you much less upload speed than download speed).

All of its DSL plans cost $49 per month, regardless of the top speeds you have access to. So customers that have speeds up to 15 Mbps pay the same amount as customers who can get speeds up to 100 Mbps. That’s great if your area has access to the faster speeds, but it’s a bit of a bummer when your home can get only 15 Mbps.

Xfinity vs. CenturyLink internet performance

Internet speeds

When it comes to top advertised speeds, Xfinity wins with its 2,000 Mbps (2 Gbps) Gigabit Pro plan. But we don’t necessarily recommend that plan because of its high upfront and monthly costs (plus it’s hardly even available).

Even so, Xfinity plans have generally better speeds than CenturyLink—except for CenturyLink’s fiber internet plan. If your goal is to get a superfast connection, go with the CenturyLink Fiber connection. It costs less than Xfinity’s gigabit plan, and it has symmetrical upload and download speeds.

For subgigabit speeds, Xfinity is a better bet for a few reasons. Though they might cost more than CenturyLink’s DSL plans, Xfinity plans are more reliable according to our customer satisfaction survey and the Federal Communications Commission’s Eighth Measuring Broadband America Report—so you’re more likely to get the speeds you pay for.

Pro tip?

The first step in picking a new internet plan is knowing what speed you need. Get a personalized speed recommendation and see the Xfinity and CenturyLink plans that fit your speed needs with our How Much Speed Do You Need? Tool.

Internet types

CenturyLink uses DSL and fiber, while Xfinity primarily uses cable internet (the Gigabit Pro plan uses fiber). Though all these types are capable of carrying high-speed internet, some are better at it than others.

Fiber internet is currently the most reliable and fastest type of internet, but it isn’t available in a lot of the US. Fiber internet can reach multigigabit speeds, and fiber internet plans often have faster upload speeds than other internet types.

Cable is the next best for both speed and reliability. It can reach max speeds around 1,000 Mbps, but cable networks can slow down when there’s a lot of data traffic due to network congestion.

DSL uses telephone infrastructure to deliver internet data, and its speeds max out around 100 Mbps. Because the older infrastructure is less effective over longer distances, DSL is generally less reliable than both cable and fiber internet.

Xfinity vs. CenturyLink fees and contracts

Fine print and surprise charges on your bill aren’t anyone’s favorite things. So let’s tackle the details so you know what’s coming.

Internet fees

Xfinity fees

FeesAmount
Equipment rental feeUp to $25.00/mo.
Professional installationUp to $89.99
Self-installation kit shipping and handlingUp to $15.00
Price increase for no-contract plansUp to $20.00/mo.
Early termination fee$10 per mo. left on contract
Late fee$10 per missed payment
Data overage fee$10 per 50 GB

CenturyLink fees

FeesAmount
Equipment rental feeUp to $15/mo.
Modem purchase feeUp to $200
Professional installationUp to $125
Late feeFrom a flat $5 to a % of total amount due

There’s nothing particularly surprising about Xfinity or CenturyLink’s fees. Both have the usual late fees, equipment fees, and installation fees you’d expect from any ISP. Any of these fees can vary depending on where you live, so double-check when you sign up to avoid any surprises.

Internet contracts

CenturyLink does not make you sign a contract to get internet service, so you’re free to switch providers or cancel your service at any time without getting penalized with an early termination fee.

Xfinity offers internet plans with or without contracts, but each option has some pros and cons. The provider’s plans with contracts offer lower introductory rates, but they keep you locked into service for a year or more.

Without a contract with Xfinity, you don’t get the benefits of the lower-cost services, but you can leave at any time without an early termination fee.

Data caps

Xfinity raised their data caps to 1.2 TB earlier this year. That applies to all Xfinity plans except Gigabit Pro. If you go over your data allowance in a month, you can be charged $10 for an additional 50 GB of data up to 10 times, so keep an eye on how much you’re using in your Xfinity account or on the app (most households shouldn’t have a problem staying under). Though if you do, you can also opt to pay the $30 per month upgrade to unlimited data.

CenturyLink’s data cap is a little lower at 1 TB per month, which applies to all plans except CenturyLink Fiber Internet. If you go over your data allowance for the month, CenturyLink doesn’t charge you extra, but you will receive notice that you went over. And making a habit of exceeding your data could get your service disconnected.

Between the two, CenturyLink’s data cap policy is better if you rarely exceed your data allowance because it doesn’t penalize you for one accidental slip up, but it does let CenturyLink crack down on bandwidth hogs. Xfinity’s unlimited data option is good for those aforementioned bandwidth hogs who don’t want to get kicked off a network for excessive use.

Xfinity vs. CenturyLink equipment

Renting a gateway

You can rent a gateway from both CenturyLink and Xfinity. Between the two companies, Xfinity has nicer rental modems and router options, particularly the xFi gateway. But renting from either ISP will get the job done.

The nice thing about renting your home networking equipment from your provider is that you know it works with your service. Plus, your provider’s tech support will likely have an easier time helping you address any equipment issues, should they arise.

The not-so-nice thing about renting is the cost. Modem rental fees for Xfinity and CenturyLink cost $14 and up to $15 respectively, which is $168 to $180 per year.

Buying a modem and router

If you already have a modem and router that works with Xfinity or CenturyLink, you can save money on rental fees by using it instead of the provider’s equipment. If you’re not sure if your equipment works with either, check out CenturyLink’s list of approved modems or go to My Device Info in your Xfinity account to see which modems are approved for your specific plan.

You can also skip the research and buy a gateway directly from CenturyLink for up to $200. And while that’s not the cheapest way to go about things, it’s a good compromise because you get the equipment know-how from CenturyLink techs, and you can save hundreds of dollars over your gateway’s lifetime.

Pro tip:

Get your own modem and router. It saves you money in the long run, and it gives you better control over Wi-Fi range, speed, and security. Check out our favorite devices for Xfinity and own your home network.

Xfinity vs. CenturyLink customer service

ISPs generally are not known for their great customer service, and hopefully you won’t need to interact with support reps much. But when something goes wrong or you need to set up service, you want to know your provider will take care of business.

That’s why we gathered data from internet users across the US to rate and rank the best internet providers in customer satisfaction. Our report can help give a glimpse into what providers do well and where they could use some help.

Installation and setup

Xfinity

Installation fee:Up to $89.99

Installation type: Pro and self-install

Installation customer satisfaction rating:

(4.03/5)

 

Schedule an installation

CenturyLink

Installation fee: Up to $125.00

Installation type: Pro and self-install

Installation customer satisfaction rating:

(3.96/5)

 

Schedule an installation

Pro tip:

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many ISPs are taking extra precautions when it comes to in-home technician visits, including installation appointments. Depending on where you live, you may need to self-install a portion of your network.

Xfinity’s response to COVID-19

CenturyLink’s response to COVID-19

Both CenturyLink and Xfinity offer professional and self-installation. Xfinity’s DIY option can sometimes cost up to $15 for shipping and handling of the install kit, but you can skirt this by picking one up from a storefront instead.

CenturyLink doesn’t charge for a self-install kit, but it does have potentially higher professional installation costs. Now keep in mind that these are the standard installation charges, and your install bill can be higher for either provider if you end up needing cables buried or if your house doesn’t already have the correct wiring.

Customer satisfaction

Xfinity

Overall customer satisfaction rating:

(3.88/5)

CenturyLink

Overall customer satisfaction rating:

(3.79/5)

Xfinity has higher customer satisfaction ratings according to our 2020 customer satisfaction survey. Overall, Xfinity ranks in the top five of the 15 providers we included in our results, while CenturyLink sits dead center of the rankings.

Xfinity outscored CenturyLink in seven of eight categories, with an especially high lead in the speed category. It’s worth noting that CenturyLink’s abundance of DSL plans probably weighs down the ISP’s total speed score as opposed to CenturyLink Fiber. But CenturyLink customers reported better satisfaction with their monthly bills.

Xfinity vs. CenturyLink availability

Xfinity top 5 states:

  1. Utah
  2. Arizona
  3. Colorado
  4. New Mexico
  5. Minnesota

CenturyLink top 5 states:

  1. Washington, DC
  2. Utah
  3. Illinois
  4. Colorado
  5. Maryland

Both Xfinity and CenturyLink have wide availability across the country. CenturyLink is available in parts of 36 states, and Xfinity has a presence in 40.

Xfinity’s fast speeds are still more widely available than CenturyLink’s fiber infrastructure, but CenturyLink is planning on expanding its fiber network to an estimated 400,000 new households in the near future.

See how Xfinity and CenturyLink plans compare in your area.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Fast and reliable service
  • Included Flex streaming service/device
  • Better range of speeds
  • Good budget plan

Cons

  • Fees for no-contract service
  • More expensive gigabit plans
  • Advertised price only with autopay and paperless billing discounts
/go/comcast/residential/internet

Pros

  • Price for Life on all DSL plans
  • Fiber Gigabit plan
  • No contracts
  • Gateway available directly from CenturyLink

Cons

  • Inconsistent DSL speeds for same price
  • Limited fiber availability
  • Lower customer satisfaction
/go/centurylink/residential/internet

Our verdict

Overall, we recommend either CenturyLink Fiber or Xfinity for fast speeds, Xfinity Performance Starter for a budget-friendly plan, and CenturyLink Price for Life plans if you want a no-contract option that won’t charge you more after the first year.

Xfinity and CenturyLink both have great internet plan options. CenturyLink Fiber Internet offers fast upload and download speeds for a reasonable price, and Xfinity has a range of plans and prices that cover any amount of internet use.

Check out Xfinity, CenturyLink, and all other providers available near you.

Author -

Rebecca is a natural techie and the friend you turn to when your Wi-Fi randomly stops working. Since graduating from the University of Evansville with a degree in creative writing, Rebecca has leveraged her tech savvy to write hundreds of data-driven tech product and service reviews. In addition to HighSpeedInternet.com, her work has been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ and iMore.

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has edited for HighSpeedInternet.com for three years, working with smart writers to revise everything from internet reviews to reports on your state’s favorite Netflix show. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span (buffering kills). With a degree in English and editing and five years working with online content, it’s safe to say she likes words on the internet. She is most likely to be seen wearing Birkenstocks and hanging out with a bouncy goldendoodle named Dobby, who is a literal fur angel sent to Earth.

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