The titans are clashing in the southeast and midwest of the USA. The race for the best internet service provider in town is down to the final two contenders, CenturyLink vs. Mediacom. Now, it is up to you to decide, which internet carrier will make it to your humble abode. Confused? Don’t be because we have done the bulk load of work for you.
Our carefully dissected analysis on ‘CenturyLink vs. Mediacom- Which one is better?’ will help you decide which of the two is the most suited internet service provider for you.
So, let’s get started.
- Pros & Cons – CenturyLink vs. Mediacom
- Internet Service Comparison – CenturyLink vs. Mediacom Internet
- Internet Plans
- Internet Speed
- Bundle Deals
- Additional Costs
- Type of Internet
- Customer Service
- Coverage Area
- Internet for Gaming
- Final Verdict
The origin of CenturyLink dates back to 1930 in a small village in Louisiana. The Oak Ridge Telephone Company had 75 paid subscribers and serviced the area through its switchboard located at the front of a family parlor. By 1967, Oak Ridge Telephone had 10,000 access lines and was offering its services in three states. In 1971, the company was renamed Century Telephone Enterprises Inc. and it started trading on the New York Stock Exchange with this name.
Today, CenturyLink is a brand name for Lumen Technologies and offers DSL and fiber-optic internet services to its residential and business customers. CenturyLink’s footprint encompasses 36 states of the USA. In 16 states, mostly in the east and mid-east region, CenturyLink is offering internet services directly. Whereas, in the remaining 20 states, Centurylink has formed a partnership with Brightspeed, a new and upcoming internet service provider, to offer broadband and home phone services.
Currently, CenturyLink has over 4.6 million internet customers, most of whom are also subscribed to CenturyLink’s home phone, VoIP, and live TV streaming services.
CenturyLink’s DSL internet service is available throughout its 36-state coverage area. However, its high-speed fiber internet service is limited to a few metro areas in 20 states of the country. According to the USNEWS’s recent ranking for 2022, CenturyLink has been recognized as the 8th best internet provider in the USA and the carrier is especially popular for offering low-cost DSL internet service in the forgotten parts of the country.
Mediacom Communications Corporation is a leading cable operator in the United States. The company was founded in 1995 as a cable TV service distributor in the midwest and southeast regions. Over the years Mediacom has expanded into the internet market and offers broadband internet access via its coaxial cable network.
Mediacom’s coverage area includes 22 states of the USA. It is the fifth largest cable internet provider in the country and has the biggest chunk of broadband market share in the state of Iowa. Currently, Mediacom is offering its cable TV, cable internet, and cable telephony service to 1.44 million customers across its footprint.
Mediacom’s fiber-rich, gigabit internet for residential customers is available under the brand name Xtreme. Customers of Xtreme internet receive ultrafast and reliable 1 GIG internet speeds over a hybrid fiber-coaxial cable network.
Although Mediacom internet plans are initially cheaper than other internet providers in the same regions, in the long run, the service becomes twice as expensive due to unexpected price hikes and data overage charges.
Xtreme powered by Mediacom is widely available in the urban, suburban, and rural communities of the midwest and the Gulf Coast.
Pros & Cons – CenturyLink vs. Mediacom
Chances are that you will have both CenturyLink and Mediacom available at your residential address if you are living in the central and southern parts of the country. CenturyLink and Mediacom’s broadband access overlap in 17 states. There is a heavy concentration of Mediacom internet users in Iowa. And while Mediacom may be a popular cable internet in the cities of Iowa, the countryside enjoys Centurylink’s affordable Program and reliable DSL internet service in areas like Le Claire, Pella, and the Amana Colonies.
CenturyLink and Mediacom are both listed among the 10 best internet service providers in the country. It can be tough competition if you have both service providers available at your zip code and both offer up to 1000 Mbps download speeds. To come to an informed decision, you must weigh the pros and cons of each service provider and see which features seem most attractive to you.
Let’s look at some of the pros and cons for each broadband carrier to move you in the right direction of the CenturyLink vs. Mediacom Internet debate.
|Pros – CenturyLink vs Mediacom|
|Wider coverage area||High-speed cable internet|
|Ultrafast fiber internet plans are available for metro areas||Covers the southern and central western states|
|Basic DSL internet service for rural areas||No-contract service|
|No-contract service||Cheaper than CenturyLink internet|
|Cons – CenturyLink vs Mediacom|
|The speeds are inconsistent for their DSL internet plans||Price hikes after the expiry of the promo period|
|Limited availability of fiber internet across the country||Data cap restrictions and extra charges for using more data in the same billing cycle|
|In some areas, on-ground technical staff is not available||Poor customer service|
|Expensive as compared to Mediacom||Speed throttling during peak hours|
Internet Service Comparison – CenturyLink vs. Mediacom Internet
On the surface level, there are many similarities between CenturyLink and Mediacom Internet. For example, both provide coverage in more than half of the country. Both internet carriers can deliver download speeds up to 1000 Mbps and both offer their customers a chance to bundle different services under one cost-effective monthly plan. But an in-depth analysis of CenturyLink and Mediacom’s internet service will reveal that some stark contrasts make one carrier better than the other.
It is our job to highlight those differences and tell you why there can be only one winner for the CenturyLink vs. Mediacom discourse.
In the table below, we have listed some of the key differences between CenturyLink and Mediacom’s internet service.
|Type of Internet||Fiber and DSL||Fiber and Coaxial cable|
|Price Range||$50.00 to $70.00 per month||$39.99 to $69.99 per month|
|Internet Speed||Up to 1000 Mbps(Up to 35 Mbps upload speed)||Up to 1000 Mbps(Up to 50 Mbps upload speed)|
|Additional Costs||$15 per month for gateway||$12 per month for modem|
|$99 for professional installation||$10 per month for a Wi-Fi router|
|$15 for self-installation||$10 fee for internet activation|
|$3.99/mo. for internet cost recovery fee||$10 to $30 price hike after the promo period expires|
|Customer Service||4.1 stars out of 5||3.7 stars out of 5|
|Coverage Area||36 states of the USA||22 states of the USA|
|Internet for Gaming||1 GIG fiber internet||1 GIG cable internet|
|Learn More||Call 877-395-5851 Now!|
CenturyLink and Mediacom offer contract-free service on their residential internet plans. Subscribers can pay on a month-to-month basis for their selected internet speeds. As both CenturyLink and Mediacom offer fiber internet service along with their cable or DSL broadband connections, users can choose what type of service they would prefer to get at their homes. There is a separate plan for each type of service.
CenturyLink fiber internet plans start at $30 per month with 200 Mbps download speeds. However, the service is available in 20 out of 36-state coverage areas. Compared to that, Mediacom’s fiber internet plans start at $39.99 per month with 100 Mbps download speeds and a 300 GB data cap.
Internet Plans for CenturyLink Internet
The best part about purchasing one of the 4 CenturyLink internet plans is that the service comes with an exclusive promise of “price-for-life”. CenturyLink is one of the few internet providers in the USA that promise you price locks for some years. It can be real relief during times of inflation when the cost of living goes up and people struggle to survive.
The CenturyLink DSL internet plan is available in all the areas across its footprint. At a flat rate of $50 per month, you can enjoy up to 100 Mbps of download speed.
CenturyLink fiber internet plans are among the cheapest in the United States. The lowest tier, the Fiber Internet 1 plan costs just $30 per month and you get superfast download speeds of up to 200 Mbps. Unlike Xtreme’s fiber-rich internet service, CenturyLink offers unlimited data. You can download unlimited songs, videos, and movies without the fear of hitting a data cap and paying overage charges at the end of the month.
|DSL Internet||$50.00/ mo||100 Mbps||
|Fiber Internet 1||$30.00/mo||200 Mbps||
|Fiber Internet 2||$50.00/mo||500 Mbps||
|Fiber Internet 3||$70.00/mo||1000 Mbps||
Note: CenturyLink is offering free professional installation for a limited time in some parts of the country. You can order a self-installation kit for $15 and set up your internet in less than 10 minutes.
Internet Plans for Mediacom Xtreme Internet
At the moment, Xtreme is offering 4 fiber-rich internet plans to its residential users at varying prices. Each plan includes perks like no-contract service, free installation, and Wi-Fi router rental. For the first 12 months of service, new customers of Xtreme internet benefit from the promo rates. But after the expiry of the promo period, there is an immediate price hike of up to 30 percent and if users exceed their monthly data usage by 50 GB, they are required to pay an overage charge of $10.
|Internet 100||$39.99/mo||100 Mbps||
|Internet 300||$49.99/mo||300 Mbps||
|Internet 600||$59.99/mo||600 Mbps||
|Internet 1 GIG||$69.99/mo||1000 Mbps||
Xtreme by Mediacom may seem like the cheapest internet provider out of the two but this is a clever advertising gimmick. The same Internet 1 GIG plan which would have initially cost you just $69.99 per month becomes $70 more expensive as soon as the promo period ends.
Here is a neat idea. You can enjoy Xterem’s affordable broadband service for a year and before the expiry of the promo period, you can cancel the service and escape! Since it is a contract-free service, you don’t have to worry about paying the early termination fee.
Mediacom’s Access Internet 60- Cable Internet Service
Mediacom provides its standalone coaxial cable broadband service in those parts of the country that are devoid of fiber-optic networks. The internet plan starts at 19.99 per month and you can get up to 60 Mbps of basic download speed. However, like its other Xtreme internet plans, this plan too comes with a limited data allowance of 200 GB.
After 12 months, you will be charged $29.99 per month for the service. Mediacom’s solely cable internet plan, Access Internet 60, is a popular choice of affordable internet in rural areas of America.
|Plan||Promo Price||Regular Price||Speed||Details|
|Access Internet 60||$19.99/mo||$29.99/mo||60 Mbps||
Both CenturyLink and Mediacom can deliver up to 1000 Mbps download speeds on their elite-level fiber internet plans. However, Mediacom fares better when it comes to delivering high-speed internet over long distances. This is because Mediacom uses a hybrid fiber-coaxial cable system for internet distribution. The gigabit speeds of fiber internet are maintained inside high-frequency coaxial cables. So, even if the fiber-optic cable network is limited in a particular city or town, Mediacom customers will still get the speeds that they pay for.
But in the case of CenturyLink internet, only those metro cities and towns can enjoy gigabit download speeds that have a well-maintained fiber internet infrastructure. The remaining areas have to compromise with 100 Mbps DSL broadband service.
Costo may have popularized bulk buying but it is the internet carriers in the USA that are leveraging this concept. CenturyLink and Mediacom are selling multiple services under their portfolio by combining them in one cost-effective bundle deal.
Bundling CenturyLink Internet and Home Phone Service
Customers can save up to $10 per month by combining their internet and home phone in one plan.
|DSL Internet + Home Phone||$90.00/mo||
||Call 877-395-5851 Now!|
|Fiber Internet 1 + Home Phone||$70.00/mo||
||Call 877-395-5851 Now!|
|Fiber Internet 2 + Home Phone||$90.00/mo||
||Call 877-395-5851 Now!|
|Fiber Internet 3 + Home Phone||$110.00/mo||
||Call 877-395-5851 Now!|
Bundling CenturyLink DSL Internet and Pay-TV Service
CenturyLink offers uninterrupted satellite TV service to its customers through its partnerships with DirecTV and DISH TV. Unlike its cable TV counterpart, Mediacom, CenturyLink has acknowledged the fact that cable TV service is limited in rural areas across the country.
That’s why CenturyLink’s DSL internet and satellite pay-TV bundle deals are specially targeted to rural communities where terrestrial internet and on-screen entertainment options are limited.
|DSL Internet + DirecTV||$114.99/mo||100 Mbps of DSL internet||
|DSL Internet + DirecTV Stream||$119.99/mo||100 Mbps of DSL internet||
|DSL Internet + DISH||$119.99/mo||100 Mbps of DSL internet||
|Call 877-395-5851 Now!|
Bundle Deals for Xtreme Internet and TV Service
Combining your Xtreme internet plans with the Variety TV service can help you save $20 each month. When bought separately, the Xtreme Variety TV package costs $60 per month.
|Internet 100+ Variety TV||$79.99/mo||100 Mbps||170+ channels||Call Now!|
|Internet 300+ Variety TV||$99.99/mo||300 Mbps||170+ channels||Call Now!|
|Internet 600+ Variety TV||$119.99/mo||600 Mbps||170+ channels||Call Now!|
|Internet 1000+ Variety TV||$139.99/mo||1000 Mbps||170+ channels||Call Now!|
Bundle Deals for Xtreme Internet, TV, and Home Phone
You can also combine all three services in one value-added bundle plan to get an amazing discount of $40 per month. The telephone service by Mediacom starts at $20 per month but when you stack it on top of your Internet and Variety TV plan, it becomes free.
|Deal||Price||Internet||Variety TV||Home Phone||Learn More|
|Internet 300, TV & Phone||$109.99/mo||300 Mbps||170+ channels||Unlimited nationwide calling||Call Now!|
|Internet 600, TV & Phone||$129.99/mo||600 Mbps||170+ channels||Unlimited nationwide calling||Call Now!|
|Internet 1000, TV & Phone||$139.99/mo||1000 Mbps||170+ channels||Unlimited nationwide calling||Call Now!|
Before you set aside a fixed budget for your monthly internet bills, you must bear in mind that your internet fee is exclusive of additional costs such as the equipment installation fee, activation charges, and monthly taxes. At the end of the billing cycle, you will be asked to pay these extra charges which will significantly increase the overall cost of your internet connection.
So, let’s look at the additional costs associated with each service provider.
Additional Costs Associated with CenturyLink Internet Service
|Professional Internet Installation||One-time $99 charge|
|Internet Modem + Wi-Fi Router Gateway||$15 per month|
|Internet Cost Recovery Fee||$3.99 per month|
|Late Payment Fee||$5 per month|
|Taxes||Up to $10 per month|
|Surcharges||Up to $5 per month|
Additional Costs Associated with Mediacom Internet Service
|Internet Modem Rental||$12 per month|
|Wi-Fi Router Rental||$10 per month|
|Data Overage Charge||$10 for every 50 GB of excess usage|
|Price Hike After Promo Period||$40.00 to $70.00 per month|
|Internet Activation Fee||One-time $10 charge|
|Taxes||Up to $10 per month|
|Surcharges||Up to 20 per month|
Type of Internet
In the end, it is the type of internet that determines the maximum speed and reliability of a broadband connection. Generally, DSL internet is the slowest available internet and can deliver maximum download speeds up to 100 Mbps. Coaxial cable internet is faster than DSL connections and can distribute speeds up to 1000 Mbps. Whereas, fiber-optic internet was built to deliver data signals at the speed of light. Fiber optic cables can easily carry data at multigigabit speeds. In some parts of the USA, users of fiber internet are getting 100 Gbps download speeds.
CenturyLink and Mediacom both offer gigabit speeds over their fiber-optic cable networks. However, the difference lies in how they have incorporated fiber technology into their transmission model. CenturyLink provides its fiber internet service as a separate service but Mediacom combines its fiber network with its coaxial cable network to form a hybrid distribution system. Let us explain. As the data signals leave the data centers, they are carried inside the fiber-optic cables. At the end of these fiber optic cables, fiber nodes have been attached that convert light photons into electronic signals. These electronic signals are then passed through the coaxial cables until they reach the customers’ modems.
So, unlike CenturyLink Internet, Mediacom delivers high-speed internet through a unified pathway. That’s why gigabit speeds are more consistent on Mediacom networks as compared to CenturyLink’s limited fiber-optic network.
According to Forbes Home, CenturyLink’s 4.1-star customer service supersedes Xtreme’s 3.7-star ranking.
In the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Residential Internet Service Provider Satisfaction Study, Centurylink was named the 6th best internet service provider in the North-central and western regions. The carrier was praised for its lifetime price guarantees, the professionalism of the technical staff, and troubleshooting unexpected power outages.
However, in the south region, Mediacom is the 5th best internet service provider in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Residential Internet Service Provider Satisfaction Study. This is because Mediacom has an extensive cable network in the southern states of the country and often customers are late to recognize that Brightspeed is a trusted partner of CenturyLink in the south.
CenturyLink and Mediacom offer their services in more than 50 percent of the country. While CenturyLink has a direct presence on the west coast, Mediacom is dominating the eastern side of the USA.
The CenturyLink internet network is available in the following 16 states:
As of October 2022, CenturyLink internet and telephone service are being offered under the Brightspeed banner in the following 20 states:
|Alabama||Kansas||New Jersey||South Carolina|
Xtreme Internet by Mediacom is available in the following 22 states:
Internet for Gaming
There are three factors that all professional gamers consider before selecting an internet service provider.
- Latency: It is the amount of time that data signals take to be transmitted from your gaming device to the internet service provider’s server, and back to your device. Simply put, it is the time that data signals take to complete a journey. The latency is measured in milliseconds (ms).
Generally, for online gaming, a latency time that is below 100 ms is considered to be good. It denotes that your internet quality is good enough to offer you a lag-free gaming experience. However, professional gamers look for internet service providers that can promise a latency rate of 20 ms or lower. This allows them to live-stream their gameplay to a global audience.
- Ping: Refers to the actual signal that is sent out to the server and the server sends the signal back to your device. Quite often ping and latency are used interchangeably but they are not the same. While latency refers to the reaction speed of a broadband connection, ping is the network utility that is used to measure latency.
Gamers need a low ping rate of less than 50 ms to have a smooth online gaming experience.
- Lagging: It is the delay that the gamers notice from the time they enter a command on their device and the online game responds. For example, we will say that there is a lag when the player hits the key ‘W’ to make his/her character move in the game, but the character on the screen moves only after a few seconds. Usually, a high ping rate and a slow internet connection will cause an increased lagging. Sometimes, the lagging can be so bad that the screen freezes for a few seconds, and the gamer is forced to refresh the page to resume gameplay.
For reduced lagging, gamers look for high-speed internet providers with a minimum of 100 Mbps download speed and 20 Mbps upload speed.
Centurylink and Mediacom offer a maximum of 1000 Mbps of download speeds and at least 35 Mbps of upload speeds so the lag time for both internet providers is minimal. However, the ping tests conducted on CenturyLink’s fiber internet service showed that the average latency for the connection was 13ms. In contrast, Mediacom users said that their hybrid fiber-coaxial cable service was delivering an average latency between 30ms and 35ms, which is still good but not the best for professional gamers.
Therefore, CenturyLink’s fiber internet service, available in 20 states across the country, is the best internet service for professional gamers.
The jury has spoken. Our in-depth analysis of the CenturyLink vs. Mediacom discussion leads us to the conclusion that if you are looking for a wider coverage area, lifetime price guarantees, gigabit fiber internet service, and unlimited data then CenturyLink is the right carrier for you. Moreover, its DSL broadband service is available in most rural areas across its footprint and you can bundle it with satellite TV and phone at affordable rates. CenturyLink is also undoubtedly the best internet for online gaming because of its low latency and reduced lagging.
However, if you are more concerned with receiving consistent internet speeds with 99.9 percent network reliability then Mediacom should be on the top of your list. Mediacom’s hybrid fiber-coaxial cable system allows it to maintain internet speeds throughout its coverage area.