CenturyLink vs. Windstream

A Side-by-Side Comparison of CenturyLink and Windstream Internet Service in 2021

CenturyLink and Windstream are some of the most popular U.S. internet providers who offer coverage in all 50 states. Both providers supply fiber internet in select regions with high-quality, reliable speeds. Those who aren’t in a fiber internet coverage area can take advantage of DSL internet from either company. Windstream also offers cable internet. There are a variety of internet plans to choose from with either company. We’ve outlined a few key differences below to help you decide what’s right for you.

CenturyLink Info

Price Range


Windstream Info

Price Range


CenturyLink vs. Windstream Comparison
Provider CenturyLink Windstream
Speed 100-940 Mbps 50-1,000 Mbps
Pricing $30-65/mo. $37-75/mo.
Service Type DSL, Fiber, Copper or Fixed Wireless DSL, Fiber, Copper, Cable or Fixed Wireless
CenturyLink vs. Windstream FEATURE COMPARISON
Provider CenturyLink Windstream
High-Speed Plans Yes Yes
Unlimited Data Yes Yes
Contract-Free Plans Select Plans Yes
TV Service No Yes
Phone Service Yes Yes

CenturyLink Internet Deals †

Last updated on 10/14/2021

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

Windstream Internet Deals †

Last updated on 11/20/2021

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

CenturyLink vs. Windstream Performance Overview

CenturyLink is the 3rd largest DSL provider for residential services in the U.S. and the 5th largest provider of fiber internet service. Both types of internet are available in select regions, but fiber internet from CenturyLink is mostly available in larger metropolitan areas. CenturyLink customers can choose to bundle their internet with phone and digital TV services.

Windstream offers its DSL internet service to more than 13 million people and is the 7th largest broadband fiber provider and 18th largest cable internet provider in the U.S. Windstream is known for its ability to provide DSL coverage to rural customers who typically don’t have many internet options. Windstream offers bundles that include internet, digital TV, and/or phone service.

CenturyLink Installation

CenturyLink gives you the option of having a professional technician install your internet service, which can cost up to $125.

Alternatively, you can opt for a self-installation kit for no extra charge. Your kit includes a modem, power cord, ethernet cable, an activation letter, and an installation guide. You’ll also have access to the CenturyLink technical support team should you run into any problems during the self-installation process.

Windstream Installation

Windstream offers a professional installation for $35, which will appear on your first bill as a one-time charge.

They also offer free activation and installation when you order online. With all Windstream internet plans, you can choose to complete the self-installation route for no extra charge. With this option, you’ll receive a self-installation kit with your modem, instructions, and a technical support number to help you through the process, if necessary.

CenturyLink Contracts, Equipment Fees & Fine Print

CenturyLink offers both contract and non-contract plans.

Like their Price for Life internet plan, CenturyLink is known to offer locked-in broadband pricing without a contract. If you decide to cancel your contracted plan, you’ll be responsible for paying the monthly charges for the remainder of your contract. Regarding equipment, CenturyLink gives you the option to rent a modem for $10/month or purchase one for a one-time fee of $150.

Windstream Contracts, Equipment Fees & Fine Print

Windstream offers month-to-month internet plans, so you can cancel your service whenever you want without early termination fees.

Depending on the selection of your plan, the rates to rent a modem range from $9.99 to $11.99.

CenturyLink Data Caps

Most of CenturyLink’s internet plans have a data cap of 1 TB. If you go over your data limit, you can purchase an additional 50 GB for $10. They also offer plans with no data cap.

Windstream Data Caps

Windstream does not have any data cap restrictions, which means they offer unlimited internet usage with all of their plans.

100 Mbps CenturyLink Internet

on September 19, 2019

We switched to CenturyLink and could not be happier. It is so much faster, has never cut out and had the best installation customer service. The price is also great.

Love Centurylink

on June 18, 2021

We have had Centurylink landline for literally decades. It was a no-brainer for us to use them for internet and landline when we moved into our new home. Our home was built in an area with their new fiber internet. They installed it on the day scheduled, at the scheduled time. The technician was great. Had it up and running quickly. Have not had any problems. Both the internet and landline are cheaper than we were paying Cox for just the internet. Had a very bad experience with our previous ISP. Kept dropping calls. Hope to have Centurylink for decades to come.

Speed is so much better now!

on August 30, 2018

5 years ago, we struggled with connecting to the internet with Windstream. 3 years ago, Windstream ran fiber to Mount Vernon and upgraded to bonded DSL and we immediately jumped to 25Mbps. They are now running fiber closer to our home which will result in speeds jumping to 50Mbps.

Ok for email, and Streaming video, not any good for Steam server loses signal.

on March 11, 2021

Have had Windstream for years. Ok for email and works most of the time on video streaming. Only have dual DSL. Works for streaming sometimes then crashes steam server connection. Upload is very slow, like 1.4mbps. It will download at 20mbps max.

CenturyLink vs. Windstream Coverage Availability

CenturyLink Coverage & Availability

Windstream Coverage & Availability

Frequently Asked Questions about CenturyLink & Windstream Internet Services

  • Is CenturyLink cheaper than Windstream?

    Windstream’s lowest-speed internet plan is more affordable than CenturyLink’s lowest-speed plan and provides more than double the speed. CenturyLink’s fiber internet is cheaper than Windstream’s but offers slightly lower speeds. Pricing for CenturyLink internet plans currently range from $45-85/month while Windstream’s range from $26-75/month.

  • Who has faster speeds? CenturyLink or Windstream?

    CenturyLink and Windstream both have plans with speeds up to 1000 Mbps.

  • Do CenturyLink and Windstream have unlimited data?

    Currently, Windstream offers unlimited data with any of its internet plans. Most CenturyLink plans have a 1 TB data cap but also offers unlimited data with select plans.

  • Do CenturyLink and Windstream require a contract?

    CenturyLink has a no-contract option for customers who choose a three-year Price Lock Guarantee plan, but its other plans require a contract. No contracts are required to sign up for any Windstream internet plan.