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 $49/mo. for all of its DSL plans. In most areas, Xfinity internet prices increase significantly after 12 months.
- 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 2021 with a 67/100 compared to CenturyLink’s 62, 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||50 Mbps||10 Mbps||$50.00/mo.*||3.15/5|
|Connect More||100 Mbps||10 Mbps||$39.99/mo.*||3.09/5|
|Fast||300 Mbps||10 Mbps||$50.00/mo.||3.44/5|
|Superfast||600 Mbps||20 Mbps||$60.00/mo.||3.62/5|
|Ultrafast||900 Mbps||20 Mbps||$70.00/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
|Plan||Allconnect score||Starting price*||Price after 12 mos.*||Max download speed||Max upload speed||Connection|
|10 Mbps||2.50/5||$50.00/mo.||$50.00/mo.||10 Mbps||1 Mbps||DSL|
|20 Mbps||2.58/5||$50.00/mo.||$50.00/mo.||20 Mbps||1.5 Mbps||DSL|
|40 Mbps||2.73/5||$50.00/mo.||$50.00/mo.||40 Mbps||3 Mbps||DSL|
|80 Mbps||3.04/5||$50.00/mo.||$50.00/mo.||80 Mbps||10 Mbps||DSL|
|100 Mbps||3.34/5||$50.00/mo.||$50.00/mo.||100 Mbps||10 Mbps||DSL|
|140 Mbps||3.55/5||$50.00/mo.||$50.00/mo.||140 Mbps||20 Mbps||DSL|
|Fiber 100 Mbps||3.59/5||$50.00/mo.||$50.00/mo.||100 Mbps||100 Mbps||Fiber optic|
|Fiber Gigabit||4.31/5||$65.00/mo.||$85.00/mo.||940 Mbps||940 Mbps||Fiber optic|
*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 11/05/21.
Which internet plan should you choose?
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.
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 same $49/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 100 Mbps for just $49/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.
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. CenturyLink charges $99, but it’s waived on some DSL and all fiber plans.
- Contracts: Neither provider has contracts. You can cancel service any time without getting hit with early termination fees.
- Data caps: CenturyLink has a 1TB (1,000GB) data cap on all of its DSL plans, while Xfinity’s are 1.23TB (1,229). Most people aren’t likely to come close to these, but if you live in a bigger household with heavy gamers or streamers, it’s worth considering. CenturyLink doesn’t charge you extra if you go over your cap, but it may throttle your speeds. 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 $64.99/mo.*
- 160-330+ channels
- Free professional installation available
- DVR device included, $7/mo.* for each additional receiver
- Record up to five shows at once
- NFL Sunday Ticket included in most packages
*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 11/05/21.
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. Here’s how Xfinity and CenturyLink scored over the past four years.
|Avg. past four years||63.5/100||60.5/100|
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
No. Comcast owns the Xfinity brand, but is separate from CenturyLink.
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.
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
Senior Writer, Broadband Content
Joe Supan is the senior writer for Allconnect and MyMove. He has helped build the proprietary metrics used on Allconnect’s review pages, utilizing thousands of data points to help readers navigate these comple… Read more
Edited by:Robin Layton
Editor, Broadband Content
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