Compare Xfinity vs. CenturyLink
By Joe Supan Last updated: January 6, 2023
See how Xfinity and CenturyLink internet and TV services stack up against each other.
Is Comcast’s Xfinity or CenturyLink better?
Is CenturyLink better than Xfinity? The answer is a pretty easy one for most people. If CenturyLink’s fiber internet service is available at your address, you should get it. But if all you can get is DSL from CenturyLink — any of its plans below 940 Mbps — Xfinity is a better choice. The cable internet that Xfinity uses is a much faster and more reliable option than DSL, but it’s not quite as strong as fiber.
- Fastest speeds: In most areas, Xfinity has much better speeds than CenturyLink. Both providers both offer gig speeds (940 Mbps), but Xfinity has it in more areas. In many places, all CenturyLink offers is slower DSL service.
- Most affordable: CenturyLink’s internet plans don’t increase in price after a year, and you’ll pay a flat $50/mo. for all of its DSL plans up to 100 Mbps. In most areas, Xfinity internet prices increase significantly after 12 months. If it’s available, CenturyLink’s 200 Mbps fiber plan is only $30/mo.
- Contracts and hidden fees: Neither provider locks you into a contract, but Xfinity has no installation fee and its equipment rental is slightly cheaper.
- Best in customer service: Xfinity scored higher in customer satisfaction for internet service in 2022 with a 66/100 compared to CenturyLink’s 60, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
Comcast’s Xfinity vs. CenturyLink ratings
|Category||Xfinity||CenturyLink DSL||CenturyLink Fiber|
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.
For each sub-factor, we score all providers on a continuous scale of 1 to 5, 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.
Comcast’s Xfinity vs. CenturyLink internet
Xfinity and CenturyLink both offer a range of internet plans, and prices and speeds might vary by location. In general, this is what you can expect from each provider.
Comcast’s Xfinity internet plans
3.53 / 5
|Plan||Download speeds||Upload speeds||Starting price||Allconnect score|
|Connect||75 Mbps||10 Mbps||$24.99/mo.*||3.15/5|
|Connect More||200 Mbps||10 Mbps||$25.00/mo.*||3.09/5|
|Fast||400 Mbps||10 Mbps||$55.00/mo.||3.44/5|
|Superfast||800 Mbps||20 Mbps||$65.00/mo.||3.62/5|
|Ultrafast||900 Mbps||20 Mbps||$75.00/mo.||3.65/5|
|Gigabit||1,200 Mbps||35 Mbps||$80.00/mo.||4.02/5|
|Gigabit Pro||3,000 Mbps||3,000 Mbps||$299.95/mo.||3.95/5|
*Rate requires paperless billing. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. Offer Details. Speed may not be available in your area. Maximum download/upload speed of up to 940 Mbps via a wired connection. As of 11/05/21.
CenturyLink internet plans
3.46 / 5
|CenturyLink internet plans||Price||Max download speeds|
|Simply Unlimited||$50/mo.*||Up to 100 Mbps|
|200 Mbps||$30/mo.*||Up to 200 Mbps|
|Fiber Gigabit||$70/mo.**||Up to 940 Mbps|
*Pricing per month plus taxes for length of contract. Additional fees and terms may apply. Pricing varies by location and availability. All prices subject to change at any time. May or may not be available based on service address. Last updated 8/22/22.
Which internet plan should you choose?
Best overall internet plans: Xfinity
For most people, Xfinity internet hits the sweet spot between best speeds at the most affordable prices. It has also received higher overall scores than CenturyLink from both the American Customer Satisfaction Index and Consumer Reports.
Cheapest internet plan: CenturyLink Fiber 200
Xfinity’s prices and speeds vary greatly depending on where you live, while CenturyLink gives you the fastest speed available (up to 100 Mbps) for the similar $50/mo. price. When CenturyLink’s speeds only go up to 3 Mbps, that probably doesn’t seem like a great deal. But if you can get 200 Mbps for just $30/mo. through CenturyLink in your area, it may be a better option than Xfinity’s internet plans. And unlike Xfinity, you’ll never have to worry about price hikes with CenturyLink internet.
Fastest internet plans: Xfinity
Xfinity has some of the fastest internet plans in the country, with speeds up to 2,000 Mbps. That’s far more than most people need, but its 1,000 Mbps plans are also available throughout much of the country, and it has faster plans on average than CenturyLink, which primarily offers slower DSL connections.
Equipment, installation, contracts and data caps
The sticker price isn’t the only thing you should pay attention to when comparing internet providers — there are often a number of extra fees that get added onto your bill. Here’s how CenturyLink and Xfinity compare when it comes to some of the extras:
- Equipment: CenturyLink charges $15/mo. for equipment rental, but it’s free on the Fiber Gigabit plan. Xfinity is slightly cheaper at $14/mo., but it doesn’t include it for free on any plans. For both providers, you also have the option of purchasing your own modem and router.
- Installation: Xfinity doesn’t have any installation fees. For CenturyLink, you may have to pay a one-time installation fee of either $129 or $149 based on the internet technology at the address.
- Contracts: Neither provider has contracts. You can cancel service any time without getting hit with early termination fees.
- Data caps: CenturyLink has unlimited data, while Xfinity’s are 1.23TB (1,229). Most people aren’t likely to come close to that, but if you live in a bigger household with heavy gamers or streamers, it’s worth considering. Xfinity will give you one freebie month per year to go over, but after that, it’ll cost $10 for every 50GB you exceed the cap.
CenturyLink vs. Xfinity internet and TV bundles
Xfinity offers savings for bundling internet with TV while CenturyLink does not. Xfinity bundles cable internet, TV and digital phone plans, while CenturyLink offers DSL or fiber optic internet and home phone services. If you’re looking for TV service with CenturyLink, you can get satellite through DIRECTV and DISH Network or streaming through DIRECTV STREAM, but they aren’t discounted. Overall, Xfinity gives customers more ability to mix and match internet speed options with TV channel plans than CenturyLink does.
Xfinity vs. CenturyLink TV
- TV and internet bundles start at $49.99/mo.
- Three to five package options depending on location
- Packages starting at $30/mo.*
- 10-260+ channels available
- Record up to six shows at once
- HD DVR device included, starting at $5.99/mo.* for each additional
- No contract required for standalone TV
DIRECTV (through CenturyLink)
- Four channel package options available
- Packages starting at $74.99/mo.*
- 165-340+ channels
- Free professional installation available
- DVR device included, $7/mo.* for each additional receiver
- Record up to five shows at once
*Pricing per month plus taxes for length of contract. Additional fees and terms may apply. Pricing varies by location and availability. All prices subject to change at any time. May or may not be available based on service address. As of 8/22/22.
Who is better for customer satisfaction? Xfinity vs. CenturyLink
Customers tend to be much more satisfied with their service from Xfinity than with CenturyLink. The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) scores internet providers based on feedback from customers and gives them an annual customer satisfaction score.
Xfinity has outscored CenturyLink every year since 2016. J.D. Power also gave Xfinity a better score in every region where they overlapped internet service. Consumer Reports readers rated Xfinity higher, too, with better scores for both reliability and speed. This tracks with complaints about CenturyLink on Reddit and the Better Business Bureau: Its DSL plans are often slower than expected, and some customers have experienced frequent outages.
Comcast’s Xfinity vs. CenturyLink FAQS
Does Comcast own CenturyLink?
No. Comcast owns the Xfinity brand, but is separate from CenturyLink.
Does a CenturyLink modem work with XFINITY internet?
No. CenturyLink internet uses either a DSL or fiber-optic network, whereas Xfinity uses a cable network. The equipment required for each network type will vary.
How fast should my CenturyLink internet be?
Ideally, your CenturyLink internet speeds should be 80% or higher of your plan’s advertised speeds. If you are consistently getting slower speeds, check out these ways to boost your Wi-Fi speeds.
Do you need a phone line for CenturyLink internet?
It depends on the type of CenturyLink service you get. For DSL service, you will need a phone line. For CenturyLink fiber-optic internet, a phone line is not required.
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Written by:Joe Supan
Principal Writer, Broadband Content
Joe Supan is a principal writer for CNET and Allconnect. He has helped build the proprietary metrics used on Allconnect’s review pages, utilizing thousands of data points to help readers navigate these complex… Read more
Edited by:Robin Layton
Editor, Broadband Content
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Although our fiber service usually means 100% fiber-optic network to your location, in limited circumstances CenturyLink may need to deploy alternative technologies coupled with a non-fiber connection from a certain point (usually the curb) to your location in order to provide the advertised download speeds.
Customer speed experiences will vary, particularly when accessing the Internet wirelessly from various devices. Download speeds are via a wired connection. Internet speeds are not guaranteed due to conditions outside of network control, including customer location, devices, equipment, and access through a wired or wireless connection; see www.centurylink.com/InternetPolicy for more information.
Service is not available everywhere. Offer available to qualifying customers only. Limited time offers. Monthly service rate, leased equipment rates, and taxes, fees, and surcharges, are subject to change and, if any changes are made to existing CenturyLink accounts in any manner, all prior discounts will be void. Modem: A CenturyLink-provided modem is included in the service. Installation: Offer includes professional installation at customer’s eligible location. Construction: For certain, new Internet installations, construction charges may apply (“Construction Charges”). CenturyLink will absorb the first $1,500 of the Construction Charges; customer will be responsible for Construction Charges to the extent they exceed $1,500, usually no more than an additional $2,000. Customer will be contacted prior to install for approval to proceed with order if Construction Charges apply. Month to month (referred to as “no contract”) service means no term commitment and may be cancelled at any time without an early termination fee but customer must accept High-Speed Internet Subscriber Agreement prior to using service (see www.centurylink.com/eula). To receive advertised rate, all customers must enroll in paperless billing and agree to not receive a paper invoice from CenturyLink. If paperless billing is cancelled or not activated in a timely manner, the then-current standard rate will apply. Customer may access their monthly invoice in My CenturyLink online account. Service will begin on the date your order is completed and full payment is processed through your choice of debit card, credit card, or other prepay service available with your subscription. Each month following, a recurring e-commerce transaction for your service will be processed as service automatically renews monthly until cancelled by customer. CenturyLink may change, cancel, or substitute offers and services, or vary them by service area, at its sole discretion without notice. All products and services listed are governed by tariffs, terms of service, or terms and conditions posted at www.centurylink.com/terms. See www.centurylink.com/feesandtaxes for applicable taxes, fees and surcharges. Additional restrictions apply. Secure WiFi: If your modem includes the Secure WiFi feature, it should begin working within 72 hours of activating as long as you fully install it and leave it plugged in. Altering modem settings may disable Secure WiFi, as will Internet connection issues. If you are unsure whether Secure WiFi is working, contact us. Restrictions apply. Updated 8/22/22.