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CenturyLink vs. Xfinity

  • Best for variety
    • Price: $30.00–$80.00/mo.
    • Speed: 75–1,200 Mbps
    • Internet type: Cable
    • Data cap: 1.2 TB
    • Contract: 1–2 years, month-to-month options
  • Best for inexpensive fiber
    • Price: $50.00–$75.00/mo.
    • Speed: 40–940 Mbps
    • Internet type: DSL, fiber
    • Data cap: Unlimited
    • Contract: Month to month

Compare Xfinity and CenturyLink head to head

Xfinity has more plan variety making it easy to find something that fits your internet needs, and its plans come with high internet speeds for the money; the downside is they also come with some annoying conditions, like data caps, term contracts, and price hikes. CenturyLink has two great fiber plans, each offering a ton of value, but it lacks solid mid-tier options. We don’t recommend CenturyLink’s DSL, or any DSL service, above cable internet like Xfinity’s.

So which should you pick? It depends on your exact needs, but in general, if you’re looking for a budget plan, CenturyLink’s Fiber Internet 200Mbps is tough to beat. CenturyLink is also a good call if you’re looking to go big with a gigabit connection. But if you’re feeling something more mid-range, Xfinity has the best value with plans like its Fast plan, which packs a great speed at an even better price.

 

Pros and cons: Xfinity vs. CenturyLink

Pros:

  • Excellent speeds
  • Wide availability
  • Cheap deals

Cons:

  • Annual contracts
  • Limited availability on fastest plans

Pros:

  • No data caps
  • Fiber Gigabit plan
  • No contracts

Cons:

  • Inconsistent DSL speeds for same price
  • Limited fiber availability

Want to know if you can get an internet package from Xfinity or CenturyLink in your area? Take a look by typing in your zip code below.

Plans and pricing: Xfinity vs. CenturyLink

One big difference between these two providers is choice. Xfinity has many plans that give you a lot of options, while CenturyLink has more simplified offerings that make picking a plan easier.

Xfinity boasts a glorious buffet of cable internet plans, all of which vary in speed and price—you can get a cheap and relatively slow plan, a pricey gigabit plan, or something in between. CenturyLink has three packages to offer, including a gigabit fiber plan that’s excellent and fairly priced but available only in select areas.

Let’s take a gander to see more about what kinds of speeds, prices, and internet types you can get from both of these providers.

Pro tip:

Take our speed test to see what kind of internet bandwidth you’re getting on your current plan. Does this speed work well for you, or would you prefer something faster? Use your speed-test results as a base of comparison to decide which plan works best.

Xfinity plans and pricing

PackagePriceSpeedConnection type
Connect$30.00/mo.*75 MbpsCableView Plan
Connect More$35.00/mo.**200 MbpsCableView Plan
Fast$55.00/mo.#400 MbpsCableView Plan
Superfast$65.00/mo.#800 MbpsCableView Plan
Gigabit$75.00/mo.#1 GbpsCableView Plan
Gigabit Extra$80.00/mo.**1,200 MbpsCableView Plan

While CenturyLink keeps it simple with three packages to choose from, Xfinity has a dizzying array of options. Plans can change names and prices depending on the service area you’re in, but generally speaking Xfinity offers solid speeds at fair prices.

Since Xfinity has such a wide range of plans, we recommend considering how many people will be on your Wi-Fi and what kinds of stuff you do online when choosing which package is best for you.

An entry-level plan like Connect is great if you live alone or with one other person. But you’ll want an upgrade if you have more roommates and you’ll all be doing things like downloading very large files or streaming in 4K.

Pro tip:

Use our “How Much Internet Speed Do I Need?” tool to figure out how much internet firepower you need. A good rule of thumb is to get 25 Mbps per person in your household.

CenturyLink plans and pricing

PackagePriceSpeedConnection typeView on CenturyLink site
CenturyLink Fiber Internet 500Mbps$50.00/mo.**Up to 500 MbpsFiber
CenturyLink Fiber Gigabit Internet$75.00/mo.*Up to 940 MbpsFiber
Simply Unlimited Internet 40-80Mbps$55.00/mo.#Up to 80 MbpsDSL
Simply Unlimited Internet 100Mbps$50.00/mo.**Up to 100 MbpsDSL
Simply Unlimited Internet 140Mbps$50.00/mo.**Up to 140 MbpsDSL

If CenturyLink’s fiber plan is available in your area, we definitely recommend going for that, provided one of its two fiber plans is a good fit. Fiber internet is incredibly fast and reliable, and CenturyLink offers its fiber plans at a very fair price. You can also get gigabit upload speeds on the top tier plan, which aren’t available on even the fastest Xfinity plans. So you’ll have excellent performance for a wide range of activities, including upload-heavy tasks like attending Zoom meetings, uploading files to cloud servers, and hosting livestreams. 

The catch is that fiber internet is available only to a minority of CenturyLink’s customers. If you can’t get fiber, you’ll have to stick with the Simply Unlimited Internet plan, which gives you unlimited data (yay!) but isn’t nearly as fast. It runs over DSL—basically the copper wiring of your landline phone. While 100 Mbps is the max advertised speed, your speeds could end up being much lower. In that case, Xfinity can get you faster speeds at a cheaper price.

Want to know if Xfinity or CenturyLink are in your area? Put in your zip code below to find out.

HSI badge deals

Deals and promotions: Xfinity vs. CenturyLink

 

Xfinity
BEST DEAL
Add Xfinity mobile and get $25 a month off internet faster than a gig. Also, get unlimited data and Wi-Fi equipment for 24 months.

Also, get fast, reliable internet with Wifi equipment included for $25/mo for 2 years if you live in one of the following states- WI, MN, MO, KS, TX, CO, ID, UT, AZ, NM, CA, OR, WA only. Offer valid until 3/21.

Get the Deal
BEST 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: Xfinity vs. CenturyLink

Equipment FeeInstallation FeeOther Fees
Xfinity $14.00/mo.Free (self-install), $39.99 (pro install)$10/mo. (early termination), $10 per 50 GB of data you go over on data cap, $10 (late payment)
CenturyLink $15.00/mo.$15.00–$99.00 (free for fiber gigabit), $85.00 (phone jack install)Late payment is $5 or a percentage of your total bill

Like pretty much all internet providers, Xfinity and CenturyLink sometimes tack a few extra charges onto the bill. You can rent a modem and router from either of these providers. The rental fees are pretty standard in both cases, but you can save some dough and get better features if you buy your own router. We’ve got more deets on the best routers farther down on this page.

One thing we like here is that there are no early termination fees on CenturyLink plans like there are with Xfinity plans. CenturyLink doesn’t have annual commitments on any of its plans, so you can cancel any time without facing financial penalties. With Xfinity, on the other hand, you pay $10 per month for every month you have remaining on your contract if you leave before your contract’s up.

Pro tip:

Xfinity and CenturyLink both offer regular promotions and deals that help you shave costs off your bill when you first sign up. Take a look at our best internet deals page for a breakdown of the latest ways to save.

Customer ratings: Xfinity vs. CenturyLink

OverallSpeedPriceReliabilityCustomer service
Xfinity 3.9/54.0/53.5/53.9/53.7/5
CenturyLink 3.6/53.6/53.4/53.5/53.5/5

Xfinity gets excellent ratings in our annual customer satisfaction survey, but CenturyLink doesn’t fare nearly as well. Compared to 15 other major internet providers, Xfinity consistently ranks towards the top. The cable provider takes first place for speed and lands in the top five for reliability and price.

CenturyLink doesn’t do as well this year. Likely because of CenturyLink’s large DSL footprint, the provider sinks to below-average scores for overall satisfaction and reliability and comes in last place for speed. However, it performs excellently on price, coming in just behind Xfinity for the fifth-place spot.

It’s worth mentioning that CenturyLink’s fiber customers give the provider consistently better scores. That’s because fiber is faster and more reliable on the whole compared to DSL.

Best TV and internet bundles

PackageInternet speedTV channelsPriceDetails
Gigabit Extra Internet + Ultimate TV1,200 Mbps185+$184.60/mo.*View Plan
Superfast Internet + Popular TV800 Mbps125+$149.60/mo.View Plan

CenturyLink doesn’t have any bundle deals, but Xfinity has a bunch of bundle options—understandable, given that it’s a cable company.

Bundling your TV and internet together is a great way to lower your monthly fee and reap benefits from discounts and promotions. You can also often tailor your bundle package for a specific purpose—giving you extra channels for movies or sports, or a lower price for slower internet speeds.

We love Xfinity’s Ultimate TV and Popular TV bundle packages paired with the Gigabit or Superfast internet plan because they both come with powerful speeds and a ton of channels. The prices are fairly reasonable for what you get, and both also come with a Visa® prepaid card, a Netflix subscription, and DVR service.

Internet types: Xfinity vs. CenturyLink

Internet typeDetails
XfinityCable, fiberView Plan
CenturyLinkFiber, DSL

Xfinity offers cable internet. Cable runs over the same coaxial wiring as cable TV. It’s really fast, widely available, and very reliable. You can also technically get fiber through Xfinity with its Gigabit Pro plan, but that plan has extremely low availability and it’s about $300 per month.

CenturyLink offers both DSL and fiber internet. Fiber internet is the best kind of internet you can get—it’s even faster than cable, capable of delivering gigabit upload speeds as well as download speeds. But it’s also the rarest internet out there, so you’re much more likely to find cable or DSL internet in your area.

DSL runs over copper landline telephone wiring. It hits max speeds of 100 Mbps, although usually speeds are much slower. It works fine, but it’s not very fast, so avoid it if you share your Wi-Fi with lots of people, plan to attend lots of Zoom meetings, or want to stream movies in 4K.

Data caps: Xfinity vs. CenturyLink

Data CapDetails
Xfinity1.2 TB$10 per 50 GBView Plan
CenturyLinkUnlimitedN/A

Xfinity has a data cap of 1.2 TB on all of its plans, including its gigabit plans—which is a bummer, since most internet providers offer unlimited data on their gigabit packages. If you go over your cap, you’ll get one month with no charges. After that you’ll have 50 GB and a $10 charge automatically added to your account. Or you can pay $30 per month for unlimited data.

CenturyLink has no data caps at all on any of its plans. We really like that about CenturyLink—it means you can use as much internet as you want without worrying about extra charges.

Contracts: Xfinity vs. CenturyLink

Contract lengthDetails
Xfinity1–2 yrs.; month-to-month options for $10 more per monthView Plans
CenturyLinkMonth to month

Xfinity has annual contracts for many of its plans. So if you have to cancel your plan before your contract is up, you’ll need to pay $10 in early termination fees (ETFs) for every month left on your annual commitment. You can sign up for a plan with no annual requirement, but it costs $10 extra per month—so you’re forking over that $10 per month either way.

That’s not the case with CenturyLink, which doesn’t have annual commitments on any of its plans. You don’t need to worry about ETFs with CenturyLink, which adds a bit more incentive to sign up for a CenturyLink plan.

Installation: Xfinity vs. CenturyLink

Installation optionsDetails
Xfinity-Self-install kit: Free ($29.95 for priority shipping)
-Self Install Plus: $39.99
View Plans
CenturyLink-Standard installation kit: $15.00 (free with gigabit fiber internet)
-Pro install: $99.00
-Phone jack install: $85.00

Xfinity and CenturyLink both offer standard or self-installation. They’ll mail you a kit, and you just plug everything in. If you need more help, you can have a professional come to your house and install everything (Xfinity calls this Self Install Plus).

CenturyLink may require professional installation in some cases, like if you’re ordering a fiber plan and don’t have fiber wiring installed in your house already.

Pro tip:

Not sure how to install your new internet service? No problem—we’ll walk you through the process in our guide to Xfinity installation or our guide to CenturyLink installation.

Availability: Xfinity vs. CenturyLink

Xfinity and CenturyLink both have huge footprints nationwide. The former is available in 41 states, while the latter is in 36—and there’s a lot of overlap between the two. Use our zip code search tool below to see if either of these providers are available in your area.

Final call: Xfinity vs. CenturyLink

We recommend getting CenturyLink fiber if it’s available—but if it’s not, go for Xfinity. CenturyLink’s fiber gigabit plan gives you top-caliber internet service at a great price. But that plan has limited availability, and CenturyLink’s DSL service simply can’t match Xfinity’s plans on speed and price.

View Xfinity 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 Xfinity vs. CenturyLink

Does CenturyLink have a price lock on its plans?

CenturyLink used to offer a Price for Life guarantee on its DSL internet plans—customers would never see price hikes on their bill. That offer is no longer available, but it still stands for customers who previously signed up for Price for Life when it was available.

Is CenturyLink good for streaming?

CenturyLink is good for streaming if you have a fiber internet package through the provider. CenturyLink’s fiber plan provides gigabit speeds, giving you more than enough bandwidth to stream in 4K on multiple devices at once.

CenturyLink’s DSL plans will also give you enough speed to let you stream, but since the DSL speeds are much slower, you may experience buffering and slowdowns. Aim to get 25 Mbps per person in your household so you’ll have enough speed to stream properly, or reduce your video resolution to improve your connection.

What’s the best router to use with Xfinity and CenturyLink?

The best router for Xfinity and CenturyLink is the Google Nest Wi-Fi System. It supports fast speeds, is easy to set up, and provides mesh networking for a wide signal range—perfect for getting Wi-Fi in big homes and even in the backyard.

You may want to get a different router depending on your budget, how fast you need your internet, and whether you’d like any extra security features. Take a look at our list of router guides to see what catches your eye:

 

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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