CenturyLink vs TDS: Side by Side Comparison

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

CenturyLink vs TDS

Speed, ping, and price of broadband plans from Centurylink and TDS tend to be in the same ballpark, although this might change as both providers are working to bring more fiber-based solutions to areas throughout the US. TDS is expanding fiber based on community interest, and you can request access via the “Fiberville” section of their website. With Centurylink, ask your local reps what the roadmap is for your local network in the next few years, and also take add-ons like TV and phone service into consideration while you compare offerings.

CenturyLink AT A GLANCE

  • Sales: (855) 272-5033
  • Support: (877) 862-9343

(855) 272-5033

$45 to $75 / mo.

3.0 mbps to 1,000 mbps

Up to 1,000 mbps

63%63%

DSL

Current: 42nd (0)

TDS Telecom AT A GLANCE

  • Sales: (866) 571-6662
  • Support: (866) 571-6662

(866) 571-6662

$29.95 to $89.95 / mo.

5.0 mbps to 1,000 mbps

0.512 mbps to 400 mbps

--

DSL

Current: 40th (0)

CenturyLink OVERVIEW

CenturyLink offers DSL, as well as fiber Internet, digital phone, and TV. CenturyLink TV is marketed as “PRISMTV.”

TDS OVERVIEW

TDS Telecom sells DSL, cable, and fiber Internet throughout the US, in addition to TV and phone services. Fiber with gigabit download rates is accesible for some locations.

CenturyLink INTERNET DEALS †

  • $45 for 10 mbps DSL
    • 10 Mbps ↓ and -- Mbps ↑ w/ a 1024 GB/mo data cap
    • Prepay required.
    • Setup: $0 (Free self-installation and internet activation. Standard tech install is $60.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $10/mo or one-time $100
    • Call (855) 272-5033 to setup service.
  • $45 for 3.0 mbps DSL
    • 3.0 Mbps ↓ and -- Mbps ↑ w/ a 1024 GB/mo data cap
    • Prepay required.
    • Setup: $0 (Free self-installation and internet activation. Standard tech install is $60.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $10/mo or one-time $100
    • Call (855) 272-5033 to setup service.
  • $45 for 40 mbps Fiber
    • 40 Mbps ↓ and -- Mbps ↑ w/ a 1024 GB/mo data cap
    • Prepay required.
    • Setup: $60.00 (Includes standard tech installation. Internet activation is free.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $10/mo or one-time $150
    • Call (855) 272-5033 to setup service.
  • $55 for 100 mbps Fiber
    • 100 Mbps ↓ and -- Mbps ↑ w/ a 1024 GB/mo data cap
    • Prepay required.
    • Setup: $60.00 (Includes standard tech installation. Internet activation is free.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $10/mo or one-time $150
    • Call (855) 272-5033 to setup service.
  • $75 for 1,000 mbps Fiber
    • 1,000 Mbps ↓ and -- Mbps ↑ w/ no data cap.
    • Prepay required.
    • Setup: $60.00 (Includes standard tech installation. Internet activation is free.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $10/mo or one-time $150
    • Call (855) 272-5033 to setup service.
Last updated on 11/9/2018

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

TDS INTERNET DEALS †

  • $29.95 for 15 mbps DSL
    • Download speeds of 6 to 15 Mbps and max upload of 0.768 Mbps
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $59.95.
    • $100 processing fee applies. Processing fee waiver available to qualifying customers.
    • Setup: $14.95 (Includes equipment one-time handling fee. Activation is free.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $6.95/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
  • $29.95 for 25 mbps DSL
    • Download speeds of 18 to 25 Mbps and 1.5 to 5 Mbps upload speeds
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $64.95.
    • $100 processing fee applies. Processing fee waiver available to qualifying customers.
    • Setup: $14.95 (Includes equipment one-time handling fee. Activation is free.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $6.95/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
  • $29.95 for 50 mbps DSL
    • Download speeds of 36 to 50 Mbps and 1.5 to 10 Mbps upload speeds
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $64.95.
    • $100 processing fee applies. Processing fee waiver available to qualifying customers.
    • Setup: $14.95 (Includes equipment one-time handling fee. Activation is free.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $6.95/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
  • $29.95 for 5.0 mbps DSL
    • Download speeds of 2 to 5 Mbps and max upload of 0.512 Mbps
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $54.95.
    • $100 processing fee applies. Processing fee waiver available to qualifying customers.
    • Setup: $14.95 (Includes equipment one-time handling fee. Activation is free.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $6.95/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
  • $39.95 for 100 mbps DSL
    • Download speeds of 75 to 100 Mbps and 7 to 15 Mbps upload speeds
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $64.95.
    • $100 processing fee applies. Processing fee waiver available to qualifying customers.
    • Setup: $14.95 (Includes equipment one-time handling fee. Activation is free.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $6.95/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
  • $39.95 for 100 mbps Cable
    • 100 Mbps ↓ and 10 Mbps
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $60.00.
    • Modem: $4.95/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
  • $49.95 for 100 mbps Fiber
    • 100 Mbps ↓ and 100 Mbps
    • 2-year promo rate. Regular rate is $69.95.
    • $100 Internet-Only processing fee applies. Waiver available for eligible customers.
    • Setup: $14.95 (Includes equipment one-time handling fee. Activation is free.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $6.95/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
  • $49.95 for 300 mbps Fiber
    • 300 Mbps ↓ and 300 Mbps
    • 2-year promo rate. Regular rate is $69.95.
    • $100 Internet-Only processing fee applies. Waiver available for eligible customers.
    • Setup: $14.95 (Includes equipment one-time handling fee. Activation is free.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $6.95/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
  • $59.95 for 300 mbps Cable
    • 300 Mbps ↓ and 10 Mbps
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $80.00.
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $10/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
  • $69.95 for 600 mbps Fiber
    • 600 Mbps ↓ and 400 Mbps
    • 2-year promo rate. Regular rate is $89.95.
    • $100 Internet-Only processing fee applies. Waiver available for eligible customers.
    • Setup: $14.95 (Includes equipment one-time handling fee. Activation is free.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $6.95/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
  • $79.95 for 600 mbps Cable
    • 600 Mbps ↓ and 20 Mbps
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $100.00.
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $10/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
  • $89.95 for 1,000 mbps Fiber
    • 1,000 Mbps ↓ and 400 Mbps
    • 2-year promo rate. Regular rate is $109.95.
    • $100 Internet-Only processing fee applies. Waiver available for eligible customers.
    • Setup: $14.95 (Includes equipment one-time handling fee. Activation is free.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $6.95/mo
    • Call (866) 571-6662 to setup service.
Last updated on 11/10/2018

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

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.

TDS: NO DATACAP FOUND

We have not found plans that include data caps. This doesn't mean TDS doesn't have data caps, just that we haven't found them when collecting their plans. Always verify plan details before purchasing.

CenturyLink's TECHNOLOGY

Centurylink services broadband Internet, TV, and phone service to consumers over two main network types: DSL and fiber-to-the-home (FTTH).

DSL "piggybacks" on Centurylink’s existing telephone lines to provide Internet. DSL networks are usually more cost-effective compared to alternatives since they can use the same wires that carry calls.

If considering DSL plans, make sure to check speed tiers available in your area, as they can vary based on the distance between your house and the ISP’s local office.

Fiber, on the other hand, is widely considered the best consumer internet access. Using a Fiber-to-the-Home implementation, Centurylink connects a fiber-optic line the full distance to your address, which leads to higher bandwidth. That said, installing fiber optic is expensive for providers, with the result that fiber is not expanding quickly and usually comes with a higher monthly cost than DSL, cable, or fixed wireless.

TDS's TECHNOLOGY

TDS provides broadband Internet, digital telephone, and television services for their customers. They mainly provide DSL.

DSL is deployed through offices near the subscriber via copper phone line infrastructure. Cable is provided using fiber lines up to the switchpoint in local areas. Then, digital data switches over to an existing TV cable coaxial network for the final distance [3]

Fiber packages from TDS use 100% fiber optic wiring. TDS fiber allows speeds up to 1Gbps (1,000Mbps). Keeping data in optical format for the entire distance from server and customer avoids the slowdowns associated with “switching” to a copper cable.

CenturyLink INSTALLATION

CenturyLink subscribers have two installation choices: self-installation or professional installation.

Installing the equipment yourself involves connecting and configuring your modem and router. they gives you an install kit. All equipment is included with the self-install box.

Installation by a certified technician is necessary if your house has not been connected to CenturyLink Internet before, or if the subscriber doesn’t want to configure the cables and settings. An appointment with a licensed installer can be made directly through CenturyLink.

There is a bill associated with bringing in a professional, so customers who are comfortable following directions can save money by installing WiFi themselves.

TDS INSTALLATION

TDS is straightforward to install, especially for buildings already wired for TDS television. Installing WiFi yourself is an option for cable plans. Self-installation might not be allowed for DSL plans.

Professional installation is available fora nominal fee.

CenturyLink RATINGS AND REVIEWS

35%35% Customer Rating

35.2% recommendation rating according to 59426 verified users.

TDS RATINGS AND REVIEWS

43%43% Customer Rating

42.9% recommendation rating according to 4458 verified TDS users.

CenturyLink COVERAGE & AVAILABILITY

CenturyLink Interactive SVG Map showing broadband coverage.

TDS COVERAGE & AVAILABILITY

TDS Telecom Interactive SVG Map showing broadband coverage.

The modem question: to rent or not to rent?

Hardware is often provided for a fee, but owning coup help your bottom line

Rental fees for modems have been rising in recent years, and most companies charge a little less than ten dollars per month for the convenience of a “free” modem/router combo unit with service and replacement included.

This is a good deal if you don’t care to mess with your own hardware, but a bad deal when you consider the hundreds of dollars you’ll lose over the course of a multi-year contract. Check with your provider to find out what modems are compatible with their service — this information is usually available via their website, but you might have to call for a rundown on the latest makes and models. Since modems aren’t compatible with all providers, renting is sometimes a better option for students, apartment renters, and other less permanent Internet users.[1]

Fine print fees and discount plans

Promotional offers can be good and bad depending on details

Steep sign-up discount for new customers in your area? That’s great news, but don’t rush to sign on the dotted line without considering a couple things: namely, ETFs (early termination fees) and final monthly pricing.

No matter how cheap a plan seems with the discount you get for the first few months, be sure to consider that the final cost when the promotion times out will matter much more in the long run. Switching isn’t always easy if you change your mind, and if the plan in question has an early termination fee you could wind up paying more out of pocket than if you’d simply bought a more expensive plan in the first place.[2]

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