Spectrum vs CenturyLink: Side by Side Comparison

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

Spectrum vs CenturyLink

CenturyLink and Charter offer a dizzying variety of services, making it tricky to decide which makes more sense for your household. While the technologies they use to deliver your connection are different, the speeds and prices are often very similar, which pros and cons based on location. Choosing a plan comes down to details like quality of service and TV offerings.

Charter Spectrum AT A GLANCE

  • Sales: (855) 347-5741
  • Support: (833) 780-1880

(855) 347-5741

$44.99 to $44.99 / mo.

100 mbps to 940 mbps

10 mbps to 35 mbps

63%63%

Cable

Current: 8th (0)

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: 43rd ↓ (-1)

Spectrum OVERVIEW

Charter Spectrum markets residential and business broadband Internet. They also sell cable TV and phone packages. Spectrum is among the largest cable companies nationwide.

CenturyLink OVERVIEW

CenturyLink is a communications company that markets DSL, as well as fiber Internet, digital phone, and TV. Their TV channels are marketed under the brand name PrismTV.

Spectrum INTERNET DEALS †

  • $44.99 for 100 mbps Cable
    • 100 Mbps ↓ and 10 Mbps ↑ w/ no data cap.
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $65.99.
    • Modem included.
    • Call (855) 347-5741 to setup service.
Last updated on 12/2/2018

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

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 12/11/2018

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

Spectrum: NO DATACAP FOUND

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

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.

Spectrum's TECHNOLOGY

Charter Communications offers broadband Internet to consumers over a hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC) network.

Hybrid Fiber Coaxial is a broadband infrastructure that uses fiber optic cables for the network backbone, but switches to lower-bandwidth copper cables during the “last mile” between subscribers.[1] Local "optical nodes" switch optical signal into electric data, which is generally distributed via existing cable television networks.

This kind of connection is widely reffered to as “cable” since they rely on coaxial networking, which is also used to deliver “cable TV.”

CenturyLink's TECHNOLOGY

Centurylink provides Internet, TV, and telephone service to consumers over two main technologies: DSL and fiber-to-the-home.

DSL leverages Centurylink’s already-installed phone lines to provide Internet. While DSL networks don’t offer the fastest speeds, they are widely available and usually more cost-effective than alternatives since they can transmit data via the same lines carrying calls.

When you are evaluating DSL services, verify the speeds available in your area, as they can vary quite a bit.

Fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), on the other hand, is considered the next generation of internet access. Using Fiber-to-the-Home plans, CenturyLink connects a fiber line directly to your home. The main problem with Fiber-to-the-Home services is that installing fiber optic cables is costly, with the result that fiber is not widely available and usually comes with a higher monthly cost than DSL, cable, or fixed wireless.

Spectrum INSTALLATION

Charter Spectrum installation is overall straightforward. Most Charter plans are cable, which will require connecting a cable WiFi gateway into the television outlet in your house.

For subscribers with working wiring, self-installation can be done using equipment and self-install instructions charter provides. Homes without Charter wiring or with a need to upgrade will require assistance from a certified technician.

Installation requires a fee. For customers unsure about installing equipment themselves, the fee is likely well worth it for ease and simplicity's sake.

CenturyLink INSTALLATION

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

Self-installation is relatively straightforward, particularly for DSL. All equipment to complete the installation, plus instructions, comes with the welcome package. The task should be done within half an hour.

Professional installation is needed for homes that have never been connected to CenturyLink Internet before. Appointments with a professional technician can be made when you confirm your order.

There is a bill for professional installation, so centuryLink subscribers with wired homes who are okay with following simple instructions can save money by installing the equipment on their own.

Spectrum RATINGS AND REVIEWS

50%50% Customer Rating

50.0% recommendation rating according to 59939 verified Spectrum users.

CenturyLink RATINGS AND REVIEWS

35%35% Customer Rating

35.2% recommendation rating according to 59574 verified users.

Spectrum COVERAGE & AVAILABILITY

Charter Spectrum Interactive SVG Map showing broadband coverage.

CenturyLink COVERAGE & AVAILABILITY

CenturyLink Interactive SVG Map showing broadband coverage.

The battle for better service

Customer service matters, and not all online reviews can p trusted

When you find yourself in an area where both broadband providers offer interchangeable speeds and pricing, customer service might be the most important factor to consider. Broadband internet and phone service in particular are vital for emergencies and communication, and having a company that will respond quickly to service issues makes a huge difference.

That said, figuring out which online reviews of a provider’s customer service can be tricky. Look for two key phrases: “IP verified” and “ACSI.” IP-verified reviews use sophisticated network-detection protocols to ensure that each person leaving a review is a unique user on a computer actually on a given provider’s network. Additionally, safeguards are put in place to stop anyone from leaving a review twice, cutting out review manipulation. Ratings throughout BroadbandNow are IP-verified.

ACSI stands for the American Customer Satisfaction Index, a nationwide benchmark for customer satisfaction in the US. Experts at ASCI survey customers manually to ensure the most accurate results.

Reading the fine print

ETFs, hidden fees, and other “gotchas” to watch out for

Centurylink and Charter Communications, like most broadband providers, will often make special “sign-up promotions” to encourage new customers to sign up, and preferably bundle multiple services from their company. These promotional prices can save consumers money, but shoppers have to be careful about a few things.

First, ETFs, or “early termination fees,” could cancel out your savings if there’s a chance you’ll need to switch locations or providers in the near future. Second, surprise fees often show up on broadband bills, and it’s always worth calling your provider and complaining (or at least asking for an explanation) if you see fees that weren’t mentioned when you signed up. Third, be careful to factor in the final monthly price when comparing plans, not just the reduced sign-up promotion or bundle deal. Promotions usually time out within the year, leaving you with a bill that might be higher than you bargained for.

Disclaimer: All trademarks remain the property of their respective owners, and are used by BROADBANDNOW only to describe products and services offered by each respective trademark holder. The use of any third party trademarks on this site in no way indicates any relationship, connection, association, sponsorship, or affiliation between BROADBANDNOW and the holders of said trademarks. BROADBANDNOW is a comparison and research website that does not offer internet, TV, or home phone service.

© 2014 – 2018 BROADBANDNOW

BroadbandNow is a registered trademark of Centerfield BBN LLC