How does CenturyLink compare to Xfinity internet?

If you’re in an area where potential internet service providers (ISPs) include both CenturyLink and Xfinity, you have two solid options. Xfinity is a dominant brand across the U.S., but CenturyLink covers some of the same areas and caters to rural communities. While CenturyLink offers upfront no-contract pricing, Xfinity has more plan choices at varied price points.

So when it comes to Xfinity vs. CenturyLink, who wins? The choice comes down what you want in terms of cost and connection.

Who CenturyLink and Xfinity internet are for

If you live in a rural area and/or prefer not to enter a contract, CenturyLink may be for you. While CenturyLink offers fiber in some areas, it’s not widely available. However, CenturyLink also offers older digital subscriber line (DSL) technology, which delivers internet service via copper phone lines throughout its entire service footprint.

Comcast Xfinity covers a bigger service area, with availability in 39 states and many major cities. If you prefer a company that’s ranked the top-rated ISP and offers a range of packages and price points, Xfinity could be a good fit. Xfinity has the most residential broadband subscribers in the U.S., with its cable internet available throughout its service territory. Although Xfinity offers fiber, as well, availability is much more limited.

Not sure what type of internet you need? A few considerations to keep in mind are:

DSL: Great for average internet users doing the following tasks: checking emails, streaming on up to two devices, and gaming from time to time.

Cable: Great for medium to heavy internet users who check email, stream on more than two devices, game online, pursue heavy video editing, or upload large files.

Fiber: Great for the busy internet user who needs fast uploads and downloads, streams on more than four devices, and wants the absolute best quality even at a higher price.

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Key considerations

Xfinity generally requires you to enter a contract for the first-year teaser rate, but CenturyLink lets you cancel at any time with no penalties. Another important thing to know is that CenturyLink offers DSL or fiber service, while Xfinity offers cable or fiber service. In addition, CenturyLink has two pricing options, while Xfinity has a longer list of choices.

Beyond the fees for monthly service, you’ll need to consider a few other factors when deciding between CenturyLink vs. Xfinity internet:

Installation fees. CenturyLink requires an installation appointment for its fiber service, and professional installation is free with any fiber internet plan. You can expect to pay $99 for DSL installation. CenturyLink does have a self-install option, and this comes at no cost. Xfinity pushes self-installation hard, with self-install fees starting around $40. For a technician to install cable, the cost is just under $100, and fiber comes with free installation.

Modem rental or purchase. CenturyLink offers the option for you to buy a modem for $200 or rent one for $15 a month. If you opt for a CenturyLink fiber plan, the modem is included and customer-owned modems can be used at no charge, however this option varies by plan and address. Xfinity will rent you one for $14 a month but doesn’t offer a purchase option. You can buy your own modem if you’d like.

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What others say about CenturyLink and Xfinity internet

CenturyLink reviews

  • From the Better Business Bureau (BBB): CenturyLink (Lumen Technologies) has a C rating, due to some customer complaints around pricing and availability of service.
  • U.S. News and World Report ranked CenturyLink 7th among ISPs (2nd for rural service) for 2022.
  • The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) gave it 62% in 2021, with 100% the highest possible rating.

Xfinity reviews 

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How do CenturyLink and Xfinity internet packages compare?

Both CenturyLink Fiber and Xfinity offer a range of services that might vary by location, but this chart compares representative sample plans. This does not include additional fees, and pricing is subject to change.*

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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 1/7/22.

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.