Are you confused between choosing CenturyLink and Spectrum? They are both evenly matched in terms of coverage, and there is a chance you might find them both at your location. In fact, Spectrum and CenturyLink share service areas in 27 states. So, how do you know which provider is the best option?

Although both CenturyLink and Spectrum are one of the largest providers, each has a few specific qualities that are better than the other. While CenturyLink is a DSL and fiber internet provider, Spectrum is a top cable internet provider. And While Spectrum is a reliable choice, CenturyLink’s value depends on the availability of fiber internet. Here is everything you need to know about these providers.

Spectrum

Spectrum is the second-largest cable internet provider offering its services in 44 states. It uses a hybrid fiber-coaxial cable to deliver fast internet plans to its subscribers. You can get fiber-like internet speed with Spectrum internet. And although it might be susceptible to slow speeds during rush hours, it is a much better option than DSL internet.

Pros:

Cons:

  • Limited plans
  • A bit more expensive than others

CenturyLink

As mentioned before, CenturyLink offers DSL and fiber internet services. However, its DSL service covers most of its service area, but it is not a bad option, with 100 Mbps or higher speeds available to more than a quarter of its coverage areas. Its fiber service has limited availability but is more desirable with better internet speeds, reliability, and value.

Pros:

  • Available in rural areas
  • Fast fiber internet plans

Cons:

  • Limited fiber availability
  • Poor customer service
  • Lack of mid-tier plans

Spectrum vs CenturyLink

Availability

CenturyLink is available in 37 states, including Oregon, Colorado, Washington, and North Carolina. It is unavailable in California and New York. However, its DSL service covers most of these states as its Fiber internet plan is only available in 19 cities, including Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, Orlando, and more.

On the other hand, Spectrum is known for its extensive coverage as it delivers its services in 44 states, including Hawaii, Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, and New York. Spectrum’s gig plan is also available in most of its coverage areas.

Plans & Pricing

CenturyLink provides two simple internet plans, one fiber and one DSL internet plan, ranging from $50 to $65. Meanwhile, Spectrum offers three simple cable internet plans ranging from $49.99 to $89.99. Both providers have the same rates for their basic internet plans and offer a gigabit plan. Although CenturyLink’s fiber internet plan is more expensive than its DSL plan, it is more affordable than Spectrum’s gig plan. However, it has limited availability.

Additionally, CenturyLink’s plans have the same rate, and you don’t have to worry about price hikes in the future.

PlanPriceSpeedData Cap
CenturyLink Simply Unlimited Internet$50/monthUp to 100 MbpsNo
CenturyLink Fiber Internet$65/monthUp to 940 MbpsNo

Spectrum’s internet plans, on the other hand, come with promotional prices for 12 months, which are raised to standard rates after the promotional period ends. However, Spectrum has better availability than CenturyLink fiber internet and is more reliable.

PlanPriceSpeedData CapLearn More
Spectrum Internet$49.99/month200 MbpsNoCall Now
Spectrum Internet Ultra$69.99/month400 MbpsNoCall Now
Spectrum Internet Gig$89.99/month940 MbpsNoCall Now

Speeds

Spectrum offers better speeds than CenturyLink and also has a mid-tier range. Its plans have three-speed tiers, 200 Mbps, 400 Mbps, and 940 Mbps.

On the other hand, CenturyLink primarily offers a DSL network with varying internet speeds ranging from 3 to 100 Mbps, depending on your location. If CenturyLink’s fiber service is available in your area, you can also enjoy up to 940 Mbps speeds. Otherwise, we recommend going with Spectrum.

Equipment Fee

Spectrum offers a free modem with all its internet plans and charges a monthly $5 rental fee for its router. Whereas CenturyLink’s monthly rental fee is $15, you can pay an upfront $200 to purchase the equipment to avoid this fee. Both providers allow you to use your own equipment to avoid the monthly rental fee. However, keep in mind that while you can save money with your equipment, you’ll have limited tech support from your provider.

ProviderEquipment Fee
CenturyLinkUp to $15/month
Spectrum$5/month for WiFi router
$3/month for each Spectrum WiFi Pod

Installation Fee

The best thing about Spectrum is that you don’t have to dig deeper for its charges. Additionally, its equipment rental and installation fees are much less expensive than CenturyLink’s fees. CenturyLink also doesn’t provide a grace period for the late fee. Whereas Spectrum gives you get a 21-day grace period before it charges a late payment fee.

Both CenturyLink and Spectrum provide two installation options; Self-installation and professional installation. Spectrum’s pro installation costs almost $50 less than CenturyLink’s equivalent installation. While CenturyLink’s self-installation is free, its qualification varies with your location and plan. You have to pay $19.99 for service activation with Spectrum’s self-installation option.

ProviderInstallation Fee
CenturyLinkProfessional installation: $99
Self-installation: Free
SpectrumProfessional installation: $49.99
Self-installation: $19.99 for service activation
Installing WiFi Pod: $49.99

Data Caps

Both Spectrum and CenturyLink do not enforce data caps on their internet plans. In the past, CenturyLink used to enforce 1 TB data caps on most of its internet plans, but now it offers unlimited data on both fiber and DSL internet plans. This means you can use your data without worrying about overage fees.

Contracts

Spectrum and CenturyLink are among no-contract internet providers. Hence, they allow you to switch plans or providers at any moment without worrying about paying early termination fees.

Bundles

Both CenturyLink and Spectrum offer bundles. The difference is that Spectrum no longer offers various bundles. Instead, it allows you to pair its TV Select service with any of the three internet plans at a promotional price of 12 months. However, you have to pay extra for the premium channels like HBO Max and SHOWTIME.

On the other hand, CenturyLink collaborates with DIRECTV to offer affordable bundles. It only provides one bundle with its fiber internet service and the rest with its DSL service. The similarity? Both the providers do not offer discounted prices with their packages.

Customer Service

Internet service providers rarely have impressive numbers for customer satisfaction. However, Spectrum has an edge as it ranked a little better in both ACSI and J.D. Power’s reports. Spectrum scored 63 out of 100 in the American Customer Satisfaction Index compared to CenturyLink’s 62. According to J.D. Power, it ranked higher in the North/Central, South, and West regions.

Final Call

Overall, Spectrum is a much better and more reliable option with less equipment and installation fee, wide availability, and better customer service. Although CenturyLink fiber internet provides more value and is less expensive than Spectrum gig plan, it is limited to certain cities. Moreover, Spectrum also delivers a mid-tier internet package for those who require a middle ground. Both providers offer unlimited data and contract-free internet plans. But we recommend choosing Spectrum if fiber internet is unavailable in your area.