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Compare Spectrum vs. CenturyLink plans

A full side-by-side comparison between internet and TV services offered by Spectrum and CenturyLink

Is CenturyLink or Spectrum better?

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Considering Spectrum or CenturyLink for your home? The best provider for you usually comes down to what’s available in your area. CenturyLink has two types of internet plans: DSL and fiber optic. If you can only get DSL, you’re usually better off going with Spectrum. If CenturyLink’s fiber internet is available, though, you’ll get the same speed for a lower price than Spectrum.

CenturyLink vs. Spectrum ratings

How we scored internet providers

We evaluate broadband providers in four categories: affordability, performance, value and customer satisfaction. Each category contains multiple sub-factors, all of which are weighted differently to impact the provider’s overall score.

We evaluate broadband providers in four categories: affordability, performance, value and customer satisfaction. Each category contains multiple sub-factors, all of which are weighted differently to impact the provider’s overall score.

For each sub-factor, we score all providers on a continuous scale of one to five, relative to the industry as a whole. Because the average download speed in America is currently 180 Mbps, for example, we assigned all plans with download speeds between 100 and 299 Mbps a score between 3 and 4. Xfinity’s 200 Mbps plan received a 3.50 score for download speed, while Spectrum’s 400 Mbps plan got a 4.16.

We only considered standardized data points in our scoring system. More abstract data like consistency of service and brand reputation is still part of our analysis, but we opted to let our writers address them in the context of each review.

How Allconnect reviews internet service providers

CenturyLink vs. Spectrum quick comparison

CenturyLink primarily uses a DSL network for service, which means available internet speeds can vary considerably by location. Where CenturyLink fiber optic service is available, speeds are more consistent with max speeds up to 940 Mbps. 

Spectrum uses a cable internet and TV network, which allows them to offer more consistent speeds, but their gigabit internet plan with speeds up to 1000 Mbps is not available in all Spectrum-serviceable areas.

CenturyLink authorized retailer logo

Allconnect Rating

3.44 / 5

  • Internet starting price: $49-$65/mo.*
  • Download speeds: 10-940 Mbps
  • Data cap: 1TB/mo. with most plans
  • Internet and TV bundles starting at: $108.99/mo.*
  • Contract: None required for internet and home phone
Spectrum logo

Allconnect Rating

3.50 / 5

  • Internet starting price: $49.99-$109.99/mo.*
  • Download speeds: 200-1000 Mbps*
  • Data cap: None
  • Internet and TV bundles starting at: $89.98/mo.*
  • Contract: None

Want to learn more about how CenturyLink and Spectrum compare? Click any of the links below to jump to more details about how their internet, TV and bundled services compare.


CenturyLink vs. Spectrum internet

CenturyLink internet plans

Spectrum internet plans

Spectrum vs. CenturyLink speeds

Spectrum’s cable internet network allows for greater speed tier consistency (200, 400 and 1000 Mbps) across most markets. CenturyLink primarily uses a DSL network, which means speeds can vary by address, anywhere from 3 to 100 Mbps. 

Where CenturyLink Fiber is available, you will also find speeds up to 940 Mbps — and at a much lower price than Spectrum. CenturyLink Fiber availability is limited, however, so customers are more likely to have slower speed options with CenturyLink DSL service.

Spectrum vs. CenturyLink pricing

At first glance, it might look like Spectrum and CenturyLink have fairly similar pricing. But factor in the second year increase, and CenturyLink comes out way ahead. Spectrum’s plans all increase by $25/mo. in the second year, while CenturyLink’s Gig plan is the only one that goes up in year two.

CenturyLink vs. Spectrum equipment, data caps and contracts

Always consider the added fees and fine print when choosing an internet provider. Equipment costs, data caps and contract requirements can have an impact on your service quality and how much you pay each month.

Equipment: Spectrum is $10/mo. cheaper

Spectrum includes a modem with all internet plans and the router rental fee is only $5/mo. CenturyLink’s rental fee is $15/mo., or you can choose to purchase your equipment outright for a one-time cost of around $200. 

You also have the option to use your own compatible equipment with either provider and avoid the monthly or one-time equipment costs. Keep in mind that while using your own equipment can save you money, it also typically limits any tech support from your provider if you have issues with your equipment or connection.

Data caps – Spectrum has unlimited data with all plans, CenturyLink does not.

All Spectrum internet plans come with unlimited data, so you can stream, game, surf, browse, etc. without having to worry about going over a data limit.

CenturyLink has a 1TB/mo. data cap on their DSL plans, but you won’t necessarily be penalized for occasionally going over. There is no added fee for going over your limit, but doing so consistently could be considered a violation of the terms of service.

Contracts: Neither require contracts, both offer unique perks.

Spectrum does not require a contract for any service, including internet. Additionally, Spectrum offers a contract buyout offer to help you out of your current contract with another provider. It’s good for up to $500, but the catch is you have to sign up for a qualifying Spectrum Double or Triple Play bundle. 

CenturyLink also does not require a contract with their internet and home phone services. If you bundle with TV, however, there may be contract requirements for TV service depending on which provider you choose.

CenturyLink plans up to 100 Mbps come with a Price for Life Guarantee, so your plan pricing will never go up for as long as you have the plan.

Best overall internet provider – Spectrum

Unless CenturyLink Fiber is available in your area, Spectrum will offer the fastest speeds, more speed options and the most value. Spectrum equipment fees are also lower, and all plans come with unlimited data and no contract obligations.

If CenturyLink Fiber is available at your address, it may be the better option as it offers many of the same perks as Spectrum – gig speeds, unlimited data and no contracts – at a lower price than most Spectrum plans. CenturyLink Fiber availability is much more limited than Spectrum, though, which is why we consider Spectrum the best overall provider.


CenturyLink vs. Spectrum cheapest internet plans

A basic internet plan from CenturyLink or Spectrum is the first-tier internet plan. You’ll pay about the same monthly rate with either provider but you’ll get more speed than many providers offer and therefore, more bang for your buck.

Spectrum’s cheapest plan comes with speeds up to 200 Mbps. And if you need more speed, you can upgrade to Spectrum Internet Ultra with speeds up to 400 Mbps for just $20/mo. more.

CenturyLink’s cheapest plan comes with the fastest speeds available, up to 100 Mbps, but you could get slower speeds of 20, 40, 60 or 80 Mbps depending on your location. Additionally, you likely won’t have the option to upgrade to a faster speed. If CenturyLink’s fiber optic service is available in your area, you can get 100 Mbps for $49/mo.

Best for cheap internet – CenturyLink

While Spectrum has more value initially, CenturyLink’s Price for Life Guarantee ensures your plan pricing stays the same over the life of the plan. Spectrum pricing increases by $25/mo. after one year of service, and may increase multiple times down the road.


CenturyLink vs. Spectrum fastest internet

You can get gig speeds from either provider, but the price point and availability will vary greatly. CenturyLink’s gig-speed internet will likely be available in more areas, despite CenturyLink’s smaller service area.

Both providers offer gig plans, but CenturyLink’s fiber optic connection is likely to come with faster upload speeds and better speed reliability than Spectrum. 

CenturyLink’s plan is also considerably less expensive, starting at just $65/mo. compared to Spectrum’s price of $109.99/mo. Spectrum’s price also increases to $134.99/mo. in year two.

Availability is where Spectrum’s gig service holds a major advantage over CenturyLink. The Spectrum Internet Gig plan is available in nearly all Spectrum service areas, whereas CenturyLink Fiber is limited to select areas.

Best for gig internet – CenturyLink Fiber

Spectrum and CenturyLink Fiber are both capable of delivering gig download speeds, but CenturyLink Fiber can offer faster upload speeds and better speed reliability. And don’t forget the price difference between the two services. Starting price for CenturyLink’s gig service is more than $40/mo. cheaper than Spectrum’s.

Availability is the only drawback to CenturyLink Fiber vs. Spectrum. You’re much more likely to live in an area serviceable for Spectrum gig service than CenturyLink Fiber.


Spectrum vs. CenturyLink bundles

Bundle deals can be a great way to simplify your monthly bill and get more than one service for a discounted price. However, the internet speed and TV plan you select can greatly affect monthly costs and potential savings.

CenturyLink no longer sells their own TV services and instead partners with DIRECTV to offer internet and TV bundles. To build your bundle, you’ll choose your CenturyLink internet plan, then the DIRECTV plan you want. These bundles typically do not come with any additional benefits or savings.

As a cable provider, Spectrum makes internet and TV bundles readily available in all service areas. Pick any combination of Spectrum’s three internet and TV plans to create your bundle. Bundle savings are available with most plans, but only to the tune of $5-$10 off per month.

Best for bundling – Tie

While bundling Spectrum internet and TV is a bit more convenient because both services come from the same provider, CenturyLink’s partnership with DIRECTV gives you more, and frankly better, TV options. 

Spectrum bundles are cheaper than CenturyLink bundles, but neither provider offers exceptional savings when you bundle.


Spectrum vs. CenturyLink TV

Spectrum offers cable TV service in most areas, while TV service from CenturyLink is much more limited.

CenturyLink’s legacy TV service, Prism TV, was an IPTV service similar to AT&T U-verse TV. Similar to AT&T U-verse, Prism TV has been discontinued for new customers. You can choose from satellite TV providers like DISH and DIRECTV, or live TV streaming services like AT&T TV and YouTube TV. Unfortunately, you won’t get any discount when going through CenturyLink.

Here’s how DIRECTV as part of a CenturyLink bundle and Spectrum cable TV services compare:

Choosing cable TV from Spectrum or satellite TV from DIRECTV can give you a much different viewing experience. While DIRECTV might offer more channels in its lowest plans, it costs more than Spectrum, and prices go up in the second year of the contract. Additionally, you’ll be locked into a two-year agreement with DIRECTV whereas Spectrum does not require a contract at all.

Best for TV – Spectrum

When comparing DIRECTV to Spectrum, DIRECTV definitely takes the cake, but we’re reviewing CenturyLink vs. Spectrum here, and CenturyLink simply does not have a TV service.


Spectrum vs. CenturyLink customer satisfaction

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) gives the top internet providers an annual customer satisfaction score based on feedback from real customers. Here’s how CenturyLink and Spectrum scored for internet services over the past three years.

Frequent complaints for Spectrum center around long wait times, poor customer service and unexpected price increases. In fact, Spectrum even had to pay a $172 million settlement in 2018 for repeatedly defrauding customers. Since then, however, it has improved its scores with most customers.

CenturyLink customers are more likely to have issues with missed appointments, service outages and website problems. It scored significantly worse than Spectrum with Consumer Reports readers, earning just a 62/100 overall and a “poor” grade for technical support.

Best for customer service – Spectrum

Neither provider has a stellar customer service track record, but CenturyLink currently has lower scores from Consumer Reports and its issues will likely be more impactful for most people. 


Spectrum vs. CenturyLink availability

As the second-largest cable internet provider in the country with 41 states nationwide, consumers are more likely to be in a Spectrum serviceable area. CenturyLink home services are available in 35 states, but it’s usually available in more rural areas.

Areas where CenturyLink and Spectrum availability overlap include eastern North Carolina, Alabama, central Texas, Ohio, northern Michigan, Wisconsin, western Oregon, central Washington and central Florida.

Though Spectrum is available in more states and to more people than CenturyLink, residents of rural areas are more likely to be eligible for CenturyLink service. CenturyLink has better coverage across the Midwest and Western states, but Spectrum services more major cities and the Eastern and Southeastern states.

Our final take on Spectrum vs. CenturyLink

If CenturyLink Fiber is available in your area, that’s likely to be the better internet option compared to Spectrum internet. CenturyLink Fiber offers gig speeds, faster upload speeds and better speed reliability than Spectrum’s gig plan, and for a much lower price.

However, Spectrum is available in far more places than CenturyLink Fiber. If given the option of Spectrum vs. CenturyLink DSL, we’d have to go with Spectrum. You’ll get faster speeds for the price, plus unlimited data and their equipment rental fee is half of what CenturyLink charges.

Since CenturyLink doesn’t have a TV service, comparing TV plans and bundles will vary depending on which TV service you choose. CenturyLink partners with DIRECTV, but you could technically choose any available TV service. This can make the bundling process a little complicated, so if you’re looking for a simple internet and TV bundle, consider Spectrum.

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David Anders

Written by:

David Anders

Senior Writer, Broadband Content

David joined the Allconnect team in 2017, specializing in broadband and TV content. His work has been referenced by a variety of sources, including ArcGIS, DIRECTV and more. As a Senior Writer, David is motivate… Read more

Robin Layton

Edited by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

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