CenturyLink is a major DSL and fiber optic internet provider in the U.S. While many consumers know about them for their internet access, CenturyLink also offers satellite and live-streaming TV through third-party partners and their own home phone services.
CenturyLink Internet Plans and Pricing Summary
|Plan name||Download speed||Monthly start price|
|CenturyLink Fiber 100||100 Mbps||$30/mo|
|CenturyLink 100 Mbps Plan||100 Mbps||$50/mo|
|CenturyLink Fiber Gigabit||940 Mbps||$65/mo|
CenturyLink is one of the cheapest internet providers nationwide for fiber internet. AT&T offers a lower-priced Fiber Gigabit plan, but it’s only cheaper by $5. CenturyLink’s DSL plans are on par with other nationwide DSL providers.
Which CenturyLink Speed Tier Is Good Enough?
Because CenturyLink offers both DSL and fiber connections, the maximum speeds available to your residence may vary wildly. Having strong internet speed is important for “cord- cutters” who watch a lot of Netflix and YouTube.
Generally, Netflix recommends a speed of around 5 megabits per second (Mbps) for a single standard definition stream. Mbps is the standard measure for the speed of an internet connection. DSL service from CenturyLink maxes out at 40 Mbps, which would take around 15 minutes to download a high-definition movie of average length. CenturyLink’s fastest fiber connection, on the other hand, will download the same movie in around 30 seconds. It’s easy to see how a faster connection means less time spent waiting for a stream to load and more time watching your favorite shows.
For a single person with just a few devices, the high-end DSL plans should be more than enough for standard definition streaming. For homes with multiple people with multiple devices online, your speed requirements will increase pretty drastically.
For most everyone, CenturyLink’s 100 Mbps fiber package should be more than enough. For hard-core streamers and gamers, the 1000 Mbps tier may be more suitable. In some areas, however, neither of those plans are available. For the average person’s internet use, we highly recommend speeds of at least 40 Mbps.
CenturyLink Data Limits
CenturyLink places a data cap of about 1 TB on residential internet plans. The average customer will use much less, but this can be an issue for large households with multiple “power users.”
In practice, a family of four can comfortably stream HD video daily without hitting the ceiling. CenturyLink maintains that the use of data caps helps limit network stress and guarantees a consistent service for all users.
CenturyLink TV Options
Technically, CenturyLink only offers TV through DIRECTV. It is possible to order TV service, satellite, and live streaming, through CenturyLink; however, there are no discounts for ordering through CenturyLink, nor will you receive a bill from CenturyLink — you will be billed directly by the TV provider you choose. Still, CenturyLink partners with a number of TV providers:
|Live TV Providers||Starting Price|
|Dish||$64.99 per month|
|DIRECTV||$59.99 per month|
|AT&T TV||$59.99 per month|
|YouTubeTV||$64.99 per month|
|fuboTV||$54.99 per month|
|Philo||$20 per month|
|Sling||$30 per month|
|On-Demand/Network Exclusive||Starting Price|
|Starz||$8.99 per month|
|ESPN+||$5.99 per month|
|FOX Nation||$5.99 per month|
|Hulu, Disney Plus, ESPN Plus bundle||$12.99 per month|
|Pantaya (International)||$5.99 per month|
CenturyLink Equipment Prices
In order to connect to the internet with CenturyLink, you’ll need a modem and router, or a combination of the two known as a gateway. The modem allows you to connect your home to the internet, while the router gives you the ability to connect multiple devices — typically through a wireless network.
You have the option to either buy or rent the gateway through CenturyLink. If you choose to buy the equipment, it’s a rather large initial investment ($200 plus tax), and it will take around 13 months of service to break even — CenturyLink charges $15 a month to lease a gateway. However, after that point, you’ll start to save a significant amount each year.
Setting up your CenturyLink internet service is pretty easy once you have the equipment, and professional installation is usually unnecessary.
How to Install CenturyLink Internet:
- Plug your gateway into an electrical outlet.
- Plug one end of the phone cord into the wall and the other into your modem.
- If you have a router to connect multiple devices to the internet, use an Ethernet cord to connect the modem to the router by plugging it into the WAN port.
- Plug the router into an electrical outlet.
At that point, you’ll be able to connect your devices to the internet either through a cable or wirelessly (if you have a router). If you were provided with a gateway rather than a separate modem and router, you’ll be able to skip the steps involving hooking the two together.
To set up CenturyLink Fiber, it’s usually as simple as plugging your gateway into the cord coming out of your wall and connecting it to power via a standard outlet. If your home is not already wired for fiber service, however, you’ll need a professional to visit in order to run outside wires into your home.
Each of CenturyLink’s internet-only plans are contract-free. However, there is a contract with some of CenturyLink’s TV partners. Expect a two-year contract with DIRECTV and Dish.