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. 

CenturyLink

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 

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
CenturyLink 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
CenturyLink 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. 

Comparison CenturyLink Mediacom
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 Plans 4 4
Internet Speed Up to 1000 Mbps(Up to 35 Mbps upload speed) Up to 1000 Mbps(Up to 50 Mbps upload speed)
Bundle Deals Available Available
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
Contract Required No No
Data Caps No Yes
Internet for Gaming 1 GIG fiber internet 1 GIG cable internet
Learn More Call 877-395-5851 Now!

Internet Plans

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. 

Plan Price Speed Perks Learn More
DSL Internet $50.00/ mo 100 Mbps 
  • High-speed internet
  • 99.9% network reliability
  • No data caps
  • Free internet installation
Call Now!
Fiber Internet 1 $30.00/mo 200 Mbps
  • Unlimited data
  • 20x faster than DSL & cable
  • 99.9% network reliability
  • Multi-device streaming in HD quality
  • Free internet modem & installation
Call Now!
Fiber Internet 2 $50.00/mo 500 Mbps
  • Unlimited data
  • 99.9% network reliability
  • Multi-device streaming in HD quality
  • Free internet modem & installation
Call Now!
Fiber Internet 3 $70.00/mo 1000 Mbps
  • Unlimited data
  • 0x faster than DSL and cable 99.9% network reliability
  • Multi-device streaming in HD quality
  • Free internet modem & installation
Call Now!

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.  

Plans Price Speed Details Learn More
Internet 100 $39.99/mo 100 Mbps
  • Upload speeds up to 10 Mbps
  • 300 GB data cap
  • No-contract service
  • Wi-Fi 360 pro allows connection to over 70 devices
Call Now!
Internet 300 $49.99/mo 300 Mbps
  • Upload speeds up to 20 Mbps
  • 1,500 GB data cap
  • No-contract service
  • Wi-Fi 360 pro allows connection to over 70 devices
Call Now!
Internet 600 $59.99/mo 600 Mbps
  • Upload speeds up to 30 Mbps
  • 3000 GB data cap
  • No-contract service
  • Wi-Fi 360 pro allows connection to over 70 devices
Call Now!
Internet 1 GIG $69.99/mo 1000 Mbps
  • Upload speeds up to 50 Mbps
  • 6000 GB data cap
  • No-contract service
  • Wi-Fi 360 pro allows connection to over 70 devices
Call Now!

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
  • Upload speeds up to 5 Mbps
  • 200 GB data cap
  • No-contract service
  • Available in most rural areas across its footprint
  • Free installation

Internet Speed

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. 

Bundle Deals

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. 

Deal Price Details Learn More
DSL Internet + Home Phone $90.00/mo
  • 100 Mbps
  • Unlimited calls nationwide
Call 877-395-5851 Now!
Fiber Internet 1 + Home Phone $70.00/mo
  • 200 Mbps
  • Unlimited calls nationwide
Call 877-395-5851 Now!
Fiber Internet 2 + Home Phone $90.00/mo
  • 500 Mbps
  • Unlimited calls nationwide
Call 877-395-5851 Now!
Fiber Internet 3 + Home Phone $110.00/mo
  • 1000 Mbps
  • Unlimited calls nationwide
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. 

Deal Price Internet TV
DSL Internet + DirecTV $114.99/mo 100 Mbps of DSL internet
  • Free access to HBO Max, Showtime, STARZ, Epix, and Cinemax with the DirecTV Premier Pack
  • Regional Sports channels are included in the DirecTV Choice, Ultimate, and Premier packs
  • Up to 150 channels
  • Unlimited cloud storage
DSL Internet + DirecTV Stream $119.99/mo 100 Mbps of DSL internet
  • Free access to HBO Max, Showtime, STARZ, Epix, and Cinemax with the DirecTV Premier Pack
  • Regional Sports channels are included in the DirecTV Choice, Ultimate, and Premier packs
  • Up to 150 channels
  • Unlimited cloud storage via Genie HD DVR
DSL Internet + DISH $119.99/mo 100 Mbps of DSL internet
  • Free voice-activated DISH remote control
  • Free professional installation
  • Access to more than 36,000 on-demand movies and shows with America’s Top 250 pack
  • Access to more than 290 TV channels
  • Free Smart DVR
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.

Deal PriceInternet Pay-TVLearn More
Internet 100+ Variety TV $79.99/mo100 Mbps170+ channels Call Now!
Internet 300+ Variety TV$99.99/mo300 Mbps 170+ channels Call Now!
Internet 600+ Variety TV$119.99/mo600 Mbps170+ channels Call Now!
Internet 1000+ Variety TV$139.99/mo1000 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 PriceInternetVariety TVHome Phone Learn More
Internet 300, TV & Phone $109.99/mo300 Mbps170+ channels Unlimited nationwide callingCall Now!
Internet 600, TV & Phone $129.99/mo600 Mbps170+ channelsUnlimited nationwide callingCall Now!
Internet 1000, TV & Phone $139.99/mo1000 Mbps 170+ channelsUnlimited nationwide callingCall Now!

Additional Costs

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

Service Additional Costs 
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

ServiceAdditional Costs 
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. 

Customer Service

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. 

Coverage Area

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:

Arizona Minnesota  North Dakota 
Colorado Montana  Oregon 
Florida  Nebraska  South Dakota 
Idaho Nevada  Utah 
Iowa New Mexico Washington 
Wyoming 

As of October 2022, CenturyLink internet and telephone service are being offered under the Brightspeed banner in the following 20 states:

Alabama KansasNew JerseySouth Carolina 
ArkansasLouisiana North CarolinaTennessee
Georgia MichiganOhio Texas 
Illinois Mississippi Oklahoma Virginia 
Indiana Missouri PennsylvaniaWisconsin 

Xtreme Internet by Mediacom is available in the following 22 states:

Alabama  Georgia  Kentucky Missouri
Arizona Illinois  Maryland North Carolina
California Indiana  Michigan Ohio
Delaware Iowa  Minnesota South Dakota 
Florida  Kansas Mississippi Tennessee
Virginia  Wisconsin 

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. 

Final Verdict

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.