How does CenturyLink compare to Spectrum internet?

What do you need to know when comparing CenturyLink and Spectrum for home internet service? CenturyLink provides no-contract DSL service in 37 states, with a fiber internet option in 25 states. Spectrum is also a no-contract internet provider but offers access to cable internet service across a 44 state footprint.

There’s a lot more to learn about these internet service providers (ISPs), and we’ve gathered all the facts and figures you’ll need.

Who CenturyLink and Spectrum internet are for

If you have relatively simple internet needs — like browsing, checking email, and streaming videos — a lower-cost plan may work well. Both CenturyLink and Spectrum offer entry-level plans for around $50/month, but you’ll see a second-year price increase from Spectrum.

People who work from home, avid gamers, and families that stream on multiple devices simultaneously have more intensive needs when it comes to internet speed. If this sounds like your household, it’s smart to look at the higher-end CenturyLink fiber and Spectrum cable plans. CenturyLink offers a fiber plan with up to 940Mbps in select markets for the first-year price of $65/month, and Spectrum’s Gig plan will cost you more at $109.99/month for the first year of service.*

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Key considerations

While base prices and speeds are essential information to have, other factors can often drive a decision. Knowing about hidden fees before you sign on with an ISP can help you avoid unwanted financial surprises.

Plans and Pricing

CenturyLink offers two plans, Simply Unlimited Internet with speeds up to 100Mbps for $50/month, and a Fiber Gigabit plan with speeds up to 940Mbps for $65/month. Both plans offer no contracts, but fiber isn’t available everywhere.

On the other hand, Spectrum has three no-contract plan options. Its entry-level 200Mbps plan costs $49.99 the first year, with its mid-range 400Mbps plan coming at $69.99. You can also get a 1000Mbps plan for $109.99/month. All Spectrum fees rise after the first 12 months. 

Installation fees

For Spectrum, the professional installation fee is $49.99. By comparison, CenturyLink’s professional installation fees is $99 for its DSL internet plans. However, professional installation is free if you choose CenturyLink fiber. 

If you want to save some money you can choose self-installation, which costs $19.99 for Spectrum and $15 for CenturyLink’s Simply Unlimited Internet customers. One thing to note is that both CenturyLink and Spectrum waive self-installation fees for certain customers based on address.

Modem fees

Spectrum includes a free modem with all residential internet plans, but you’ll need to pay a $5/month router fee for its 200Mbps and 400Mbps plans. You can also choose to provide your own equipment and save on this monthly cost. While there is no router fee for the Spectrum 1000Mbps plan, you’re required to use the company’s equipment. If you go with CenturyLink, you’ll pay a $15/month fee for a DSL modem, but the modem for its fiber plan is included for free. For certain customers, determined by plan speed and address, CenturyLink allows you to bring your own modem at no charge.

Early termination fees

The good news about CenturyLink vs. Spectrum is that both providers don’t require contracts, so you won’t pay a fee if you decide to cancel early. However, both providers may charge a fee if you fail to return equipment so keep that in mind.

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What others say about CenturyLink and Spectrum internet

What are the experts saying about CenturyLink and Spectrum? We’ve combed through popular reviews to bring you some highlights.

CenturyLink

CenturyLink earned an B+ customer service rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

CenturyLink’s fiber plan is affordable and high quality, according to CNET, with symmetrical download and upload speeds that prevent disruptions during video calls, gaming, and streaming high-definition content.

Spectrum

Spectrum earns praise from CNET for not having a data cap — unlike its chief cable internet competitors, Xfinity and Cox.

Spectrum achieved the #1 ranking on the US News & World Report listing of Best Rural Internet Providers and ranked #2 on the Best Cable Internet Providers list in a three-way tie with RCN and Cox.

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How do CenturyLink and Spectrum internet packages compare?

We’ve summarized CenturyLink vs. Spectrum packages, prices, and speeds to help you choose your next ISP.

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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.

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