How does AT&T compare to CenturyLink internet?

No matter what you like to do: gaming, streaming movies, posting on social media, or browsing online, you may find that internet packages from AT&T or CenturyLink meet your needs. What’s the difference between these two internet service providers (ISPs)? AT&T offers a low starting price on its fiber gigabit internet, but availability is limited. CenturyLink offers fiber internet in select markets as well but is best known for providing digital subscriber line (DSL) service in 36 states.

We’ve put together a detailed summary, including key facts and expert reviews, to help you learn more about both of these ISPs.

Who AT&T and CenturyLink internet are for

When considering your internet options, you need to think about your household size, budget, and speed requirements. Then you can take a deeper dive into packages and prices in order to narrow down your options.

CenturyLink offers an entry-level plan that is a good fit for small families or households that only connect a few devices at a time. CeturyLink’s Simply Unlimited Internet has speeds up to 100Mbps, letting you surf the web and stream your favorite TV shows for an affordable price of $50/month.

Are you a work-from-home professional, gamer, or streamer? If so, CenturyLink’s Fiber Gigabit plan is worth a look. It offers a fast connection that lets you play games on multiple devices, have Zoom meetings with no lag, send large files via email and live stream with ease. Plus, with CenturyLink’s fiber plan, you can have up to 12 devices connected at once and back up your files to the cloud.

AT&T has affordable internet plans for individuals and small families who browse online, post on social media, and watch streaming video on a few devices. If you’re fortunate enough to live in an area where AT&T provides fiber internet, you’ll find it offers a great mix of speed and value.

The least expensive AT&T fiber plan is a good fit for households of up to three people, but larger families will likely need faster internet. If you need high speeds for work, school, gaming, or streaming, AT&T gigabit packages start at $80/month and give you blazing-fast download speeds up to 5000Mbps. With this top-tier AT&T fiber plan, you can connect up to 12 devices at once.*

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Comparison of internet services

What else do you need to know to choose between AT&T and CenturyLink internet?

Installation fees

AT&T’s self-install fee is $99, with professional installation costing $149. CenturyLink’s professional installation is $99, but you can opt for self-installation, which costs $15. If you choose a fiber internet plan from CenturyLink, installation is free.

Modem fees

AT&T doesn’t charge any equipment fees. With CenturyLink, you’ll pay up to $15/month to rent a modem. Or you can choose to buy a modem from CenturyLink and pay a one-time fee of $200. If you opt for CenturyLink’s Fiber Gigabit plan, the modem will be included for free.

Data overage fees

AT&T fiber and CenturyLink customers get unlimited data. That means you don’t have to pay a data overage fee or worry about throttling once you hit your data cap limit.

Early termination fees

AT&T and CenturyLink are contract-free internet services, so you won’t pay a termination fee if you decide to cancel your plan.

Non-return equipment fees

If you don’t return the modem to either of these ISPs after canceling your service, there is an associated charge. AT&T charges you up to $150, and CenturyLink’s non-return equipment fee is $200.

Prices after 12 months

With both CenturyLink and AT&T, prices will remain stable after 12 months.

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What others say about AT&T and CenturyLink internet

AT&T

In the JD Power US Residential Internet Service Provider Satisfaction Study, AT&T achieved a first-place ranking in the North Central and South regions, with an average score of 738 on a 1,000-point scale. However, AT&T ranked third in the East and West regions.

AT&T also beat other ISPs in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) survey, tying Verizon for first place with a score of 71 out of 100.

CenturyLink

According to US News & World Report, CenturyLink earned stature as the #1 ISP on its Best DSL Internet Providers list and ranked #2 among Best Internet Providers for Rural Areas. The publication said CenturyLink works well for households who don’t want a contract, prefer to avoid price increases, and use a lot of data.

ASCI reports a customer service score of 62 out of 100 for CenturyLink, which puts it on par with Cox and Spectrum.

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How do AT&T and CenturyLink internet packages compare?

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*Pricing varies by location and availability. Speeds may vary. All prices subject to change; for current pricing and availability visit our internet service page. Prices as of 1/24/22.

Disclosure | Updater articles are based on our own data and research, independent from partner relationships. We are not compensated by partners for information and opinions presented here. Our Editorial Terms of Service can be found here.