Sparklight vs CenturyLink: Side by Side Comparison

A Side-by-Side Comparison of Sparklight and CenturyLink in 2021.

Sparklight and CenturyLink are two providers that offer residential internet service to millions of people in the U.S. Both internet providers offer high-speed plans. Sparklight supplies cable internet whereas CenturyLink supplies DSL and fiber internet. Customers who reside outside of Sparklight’s cable internet coverage may opt for CenturyLink’s DSL or fiber internet.

There are notable differences between Sparklight and CenturyLink in terms of plans, pricing, and speeds, which we note below. Coverage availability of these plans, prices, and speeds vary by location.

Sparklight Info

Price Range

$39-125/mo.

CenturyLink Info

Price Range

$49-65/mo.

Sparklight vs. CenturyLink Comparison
Provider Sparklight CenturyLink
Speed 100-1,000 Mbps 20-940 Mbps
Pricing $39-125/mo. $49-65/mo.
Service Type Cable or Fiber DSL, Fiber, Copper or Fixed Wireless
Sparklight vs. CenturyLink FEATURE COMPARISON
Provider Sparklight CenturyLink
High-Speed Plans Yes Yes
Unlimited Data No Select Plans
Contract-Free Plans Yes Yes
TV Service Yes No
Phone Service Yes Yes

Sparklight Internet Deals †

Last updated on 3/17/2021

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

CenturyLink Internet Deals †

Last updated on 4/14/2021

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

Sparklight vs. CenturyLink Performance Overview

As the ninth-largest residential cable provider in the U.S., Sparklight services approximately 3.3 million people across 19 states. Sparklight has the greatest coverage in Idaho, Mississippi, and Texas. Aside from internet service, Sparklight also offers TV and phone services through their packages. Internet plans will vary in speed and pricing.

CenturyLink is the third-largest residential DSL provider in the U.S. with the greatest coverage in Arizona, Colorado, and Washington. Their internet service is available to approximately 49.2 million people across all 50 states. CenturyLink not only offers DSL and fiber internet but also TV and phone services that can be bundled together. Depending on location and availability, speeds and prices might differ.

Sparklight Installation

When you sign up for Sparklight, you have two installation options: professional and self-installation. With professional installation, you are expected to pay a fee of up to $90. There is no fee for self-installation but it may not be available in your area. Regardless of whether you opt for professional installation or self-installation, a $100 activation fee is required.

CenturyLink Installation

CenturyLink offers professional installation or self-installation. Professional installation fees vary by location and internet service type, but these fees can cost up to $99. With self-installation, there is no setup fee and CenturyLink spells out the steps you need to take to set up and activate your internet service on their website. For both installation options, there is no activation fee.

Sparklight Contracts, Equipment Fees & Fine Print

Contracts are not required to sign up for Sparklight’s internet service.

As there are no contracts, there are no early termination fees. On the other hand, an activation fee and equipment rental fee are required. Activating your Sparklight internet service can cost up to $100 and renting their modem with WiFi costs $10/month. You can opt for a regular modem for the same monthly price. As for Sparklight’s download and upload speeds, they range between 100-1000 Mbps and 10-50 Mbps, respectively.

CenturyLink Contracts, Equipment Fees & Fine Print

CenturyLink does not offer any long-term contracts.

You don’t have to worry about early termination fees that typically come with contracts. Prepay and paperless billing are required for all of CenturyLink’s internet plans. You also have to pay for equipment rental fees, which cost either $15/month or a one-time fee of $200 for the modem with WiFi. Download speeds range between 20-940 Mbps while upload speeds go up to 940 Mbps for the Fiber Gigabit plan.

Sparklight Data Caps

Sparklight does implement data caps for all of their internet plans, but you can upgrade your plan with unlimited data for an additional $40/month. Data caps range between 350-1500 GB. Sparklight charges $10 for each additional 100 GB of data used per month.

CenturyLink Data Caps

CenturyLink’s Fiber Gigabit plan is the only plan that does not employ data caps. For their other internet plans, the data cap is 1 TB per month. If you want to enjoy unlimited data, your only option is to upgrade to the Fiber Gigabit plan.

I rather enjoy the service

on October 08, 2020

I am a customer of 5 years that saw the transition of CableOne into Sparklight - I saw no real difference in my service here nor there, and I was able to keep my plan from CableOne as "grandfather'd in". I noted, at the time, that Sparklight menu of service seemed much more limited/expensive in how they wanted to meter your connection, perhaps only offering 300gb (+$10 for each addtl 100gb). It seemed much more expensive, and I had to manage a household of 5 heavy users, so we regularly saw 2.5TB data-months. The culmination of this review, that I will now cut short, is that I saw excellent service on the Gulf Coast, and if my internet went down, I would certainly see a Sparklight truck down the road performing routine maintenance on the neighborhood node (you can also sign up for emails to receive prior notice of these routine maintenances). I never experienced slow-downs, so if you can withstand the price-point, I would recommend this provider for stable, strong service in this area. I am moving 2 cities over, to provide internet for just myself, and I feel compelled to switch to AT&T Fiber for only about $65/mo, after promotional pay-period, I think I remember seeing a 1TB limit; they also claim to offer a $100 gift card, which I intend to use to buy my own router. I hope this review has been helpful.

Great service

on March 22, 2021

Sparklight was fast to schedule an appointment. Techs worked outside and inside our house to find the problems and fixed them within two hours. Awesome service!

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.

Reliability - 4

on February 16, 2021

Great speed and reliability.

Sparklight vs. CenturyLink Coverage Availability

Sparklight Coverage & Availability

CenturyLink Coverage & Availability

Frequently Asked Questions about Sparklight & CenturyLink

  • Is Sparklight cheaper than CenturyLink?

    Pricing for both providers’ internet plans vary. Sparklight’s lowest-priced internet plan is cheaper than CenturyLink’s lowest-priced plan, but Sparklight’s highest-priced internet plan is more expensive than CenturyLink’s highest-priced plan. Sparklight plans cost $39-$125/month and CenturyLink’s plans cost $49-$65/month.

  • Who has faster speeds? Sparklight or CenturyLink?

    Speeds vary by location but both Sparklight and CenturyLink offer high-speed internet plans. Sparklight’s download speeds range from 100-1000 Mbps while CenturyLink’s download speeds range from 20-940 Mbps.

  • Do Sparklight and CenturyLink have unlimited data?

    Both Sparklight and CenturyLink offer unlimited data depending on the plan or upgrade. All of Sparklight’s internet plans have data caps, but you can upgrade to unlimited data for $40/month. If not, data caps range between 350-1500 GB and each additional 100 GB of data per month costs $10. CenturyLink’s Fiber Gigabit plan offers unlimited data while their other plans have a 1 TB data cap.