CenturyLink vs Cox: Side by Side Comparison

Enter your zip code below to see if CenturyLink or Cox offers service in your area.

CenturyLink vs Cox

Centurylink and Cox Communications look similar on the surface, but there are major differences in the “fine print” to consider before you sign on the dotted line. Both providers have a lot to offer the right customer. Making the right decision comes down to examining the benefits highlighted, as well as the shortcomings that are less obvious at first glance.

CenturyLink AT A GLANCE

  • Sales: (855) 893-1284
  • Support: (866) 963-6665

(855) 893-1284

$45 to $75 / mo.

10 mbps to 1,000 mbps

Up to 2.0 mbps

63%63%

DSL

Current: 44th (0)

Cox Communications AT A GLANCE

  • Sales: (844) 547-8341
  • Support: (800) 818-0679

(844) 547-8341

$29.99 to $69.99 / mo.

10 mbps to 300 mbps

2.0 mbps to 30 mbps

63%63%

Cable

Current: 11th ↓ (-2)

CenturyLink OVERVIEW

CenturyLink is a communications company that provides DSL and fiber Internet, phone, and TV service. Their TV offerings are marketed under the name “PRISMTV.”

Cox OVERVIEW

Cox Communications is a cable broadband provider offering cable Internet, TV, and phone service in addition to connected home security and automation products in several states across the US.

CenturyLink INTERNET DEALS †

  • $45 for 10 mbps DSL
    • 10 mbps ↓ and -- mbps ↑ w/ a 1024 GB/mo data cap
    • Setup: $0 (Free standard tech installation and internet activation.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $10/mo or one-time $100
    • Call (855) 893-1284 to setup service.
  • $45 for 25 mbps DSL
    • 25 mbps ↓ and -- mbps ↑ w/ a 1024 GB/mo data cap
    • Setup: $0 (Free standard tech installation and internet activation.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $10/mo or one-time $100
    • Call (855) 893-1284 to setup service.
  • $45 for 40 mbps Fiber
    • 40 mbps ↓ and -- mbps ↑ w/ a 1024 GB/mo data cap
    • Prepay required.
    • Setup: $0 (Free standard tech installation and internet activation.)
    • Modem: $10/mo or one-time $100
    • Call (855) 893-1284 to setup service.
  • $55 for 100 mbps Fiber
    • 100 mbps ↓ and -- mbps ↑ w/ a 1024 GB/mo data cap
    • Prepay required.
    • Setup: $0 (Free standard tech installation and internet activation.)
    • Modem: $10/mo or one-time $100
    • Call (855) 893-1284 to setup service.
  • $75 for 1,000 mbps Fiber
    • 1,000 mbps ↓ and -- mbps ↑ w/ no data cap.
    • Prepay required.
    • Setup: $0 (Free standard tech installation and internet activation.)
    • Modem: $10/mo or one-time $100
    • Call (855) 893-1284 to setup service.
Last updated on 8/18/2017

†All plans not available in all areas or to all customers. Verify details with CenturyLink.

Cox INTERNET DEALS †

  • $29.99 for 15 mbps Cable
    • 15 mbps ↓ and 2.0 mbps ↑ w/ a 1024 GB/mo data cap
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $59.99.
    • Setup: $20.00 (Includes self install (shipment).)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $9.99/mo
    • Call (844) 547-8341 to setup service.
  • $49.99 for 100 mbps Cable
    • 100 mbps ↓ and 10 mbps
    • 2-year promo rate. Regular rate is $79.99.
    • Setup: $20.00 (Includes self install (shipment).)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $9.99/mo
    • Call (844) 547-8341 to setup service.
  • $69.99 for 300 mbps Cable
    • 300 mbps ↓ and 30 mbps ↑ w/ a 1024 GB/mo data cap
    • 2-year promo rate. Regular rate is $99.99.
    • Setup: $0 (Free professional installation.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $9.99/mo
    • Call (844) 547-8341 to setup service.
Last updated on 8/22/2017

†All plans not available in all areas or to all customers. Verify details with Cox.

CenturyLink: DATACAPS From 1024 GB/mo.

We have found plans that include datacaps. CenturyLink offer plans with data caps regionally or nationwide. Be sure to verify plan details before purchasing.

Cox: DATACAPS From 1024 GB/mo.

We have found plans that include datacaps. Cox offer plans with data caps regionally or nationwide. Be sure to verify plan details before purchasing.

CenturyLink's TECHNOLOGY

Centurylink offers internet, TV, and phone service to consumers using two primary technologies: DSL and fiber-to-the-home (FTTH).

DSL is an older internet technology that uses Centurylink’s existing telephone infrastructure to deliver internet service. While DSL networks don’t offer the fastest speeds or lowest latencies, they are widely available and generally less expensive than other alternatives since they travel over the same cheap, readily available cables that carry telephone data.[3]

If you are considering DSL, make sure to check the speeds available in your area as they can vary dramatically depending on your local infrastructure and distance between your house and the provider’s local office.

Fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), on the other hand, is widely considered the next generation of consumer internet access. In an FTTH implementation, Centurylink delivers a fiber optic connection directly to your residence, resulting in higher bandwidth and lower latency. The only problem with FTTH is that installing fiber optic cables are expensive, so this type of service is not widely available and usually comes with a higher monthly cost than DSL, cable, or fixed wireless.

Cox's TECHNOLOGY

The company delivers broadband Internet service via a hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC) network. While the “backbone” of the network transmits data over next-generation fiber optic cables, these cables terminate at nodes within neighborhoods which then branch off via coaxial cable to serve individual subscribers.[4]

Any given node may serve anywhere from 50–2,000 residences, using a technology called “statistical multiplexing” to effectively share bandwidth between customers on a node. This is why cable Internet sometimes slows down at peak usage times, when dozens to hundreds of Internet users try to send and receive data over the same fiber-optic cable simultaneously.

CenturyLink INSTALLATION

CenturyLink customers have two options for installation: self-installation or professional installation.

Self-installation is generally very simple, particularly for DSL broadband. Everything needed to perform the installation, including step-by-step instructions, should come with the modem or welcome kit. The whole process generally takes no more than 40 minutes.

Professional installation is necessary if your house has never been connected to CenturyLink before, or if the customer simply doesn’t care to fiddle with the cables and settings. An appointment with a professional technician can be made directly through CenturyLink.

There is usually a fee associated with bringing in a professional, so customers with pre-wired homes who are comfortable plugging in a few cables and following simple instructions can easily save money by doing it themselves.

Cox INSTALLATION

Cox encourages customers to self-install if possible. Assuming a residence has already been wired for Cox service, self-installation is simple using the instructions provided on the Cox website. Going this route will save money up-front for cost-conscious buyers.

On the other hand, if a residence hasn’t been wired for cable service before, it will be necessary to schedule a time for professional installation by a technician through the provider. Professional installation is also available for customers who simply don’t want to mess around with the cables and configuration themselves.

CenturyLink RATINGS AND REVIEWS

36%36% Customer Rating

35.8% recommendation rating according to 44,348 verified users.

Cox RATINGS AND REVIEWS

47%47% Customer Rating

46.6% recommendation rating according to 26,371 verified Cox users.

CenturyLink COVERAGE & AVAILABILITY

CenturyLink Interactive SVG Map showing broadband coverage.

Cox COVERAGE & AVAILABILITY

Cox Communications Interactive SVG Map showing broadband coverage.

Buying vs renting

Many customers can cut costs by buying their own modem

Modem rentals are a standard part of many broadband plans, thanks to the convenience of combo units that make “plug and play” self-installation a breeze.

With that in mind, subscribers often find that the modest monthly rental fees will add up to the retail cost of a new modem within the year. Why pay a premium for old hardware, especially when owning your own modem and router opens up so many options so far as security, customization, and network control?

The only catch here is that providers aren’t always friendly to every brand and type of modem and router, so you’ll need to make sure the model you purchase works with your plan. This matters even more for customers who move or switch providers regularly, as they can easily wind up stuck with a modem that no longer works for their plan.[1]

Understanding the fine print

Understanding termination fees and final prices is key

Centurylink and Cox Communications both offer TV and phone in addition to broadband Internet service. The details of these offerings differ, but the marketing tactics are the same: signing up for more services usually comes with a discount for loyalty.

Steep discounts for “triple play” and “double play” Internet/Phone/TV plans are a common incentive for luring new customers. Shoppers need to be aware that signing a multi-year contract can become expensive if the final price they pay once the promotion ends is more than they want to pay. ETFs (early termination fees) can make it difficult to switch if prices rise, so be sure to compare the final monthly price of competing plans, not just the “limited time offer.”[2]

Last updated on 8/22/2017.

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