Century Link vs Cox vs Xfinity 2019 Review

Person on LaptopEveryone wants the best internet service at the best possible price. As the industry develops, the technology changes and allows for faster and faster internet speeds. 

When setting up your internet service, you want to be sure that you will have the speed you need, a price that fits your budget, and good internet security.

There are many internet service providers. Each has different offerings that may vary zip code to zip code.

We’ve done the the research to provide you with a side-by-side comparison of CenturyLink, Cox, and Xfinity.

Which company is the best?

While all three companies offer competitive speeds and internet service plan options, CenturyLink stands out for its Price for Life plans that do not require contracts.

High speed internet

Internet speed is generally measured in megabits per second (Mbps). It’s how fast data can be downloaded to your computer or your TV.

Some of the fastest speed available are measured in gigabits per second (Gbps). 1000 Mbps is the same as 1Gbps.

The speeds offered by each company usually vary location to location, so the fastest speeds may not always be available in your area. Check the service provider’s website to determine what speeds are available to you.

Internet speed is also affected by how many devices are using the internet at a given time and can be affected by power outages and weather.

What speed do I need?

The speed you need depends on several factors including the number of devices on the internet and what the internet is being used for.

BroadbandNow recommends 25 Mbps for most people. Video gamers may need more speed for online games.

What speeds are available?

CenturyLink

  • 20 Mbps
  • 40-80 Mbps
  • 100-140 Mbps
  • 1000 Mbps

Cox

  • 10 Mbps
  • 30 Mbps
  • 100 Mbps
  • 300 Mbps
  • 1000 Mbps

Xfinity

  • 15 Mbps
  • 60 Mbps
  • 150 Mbps
  • 250 Mbps
  • 400 Mbps
  • 1000 Mbps
  • 2000 Mbps

How expensive is internet service?

Internet providers charge a monthly fee for service. These fees vary based on location and internet speed purchased.

Most companies require a certain kind of modem or router for setting up secure wireless internet. The equipment can be rented with an additional charge per month or can be bought at the beginning of the contract.

Other one time fees include an activation fee and an installation fee.

If the internet service is purchased with a contract, customers will pay an early termination fee for ending their service early.

Monthly costs at a glance

CenturyLink

Up to 20 Mbps: $45

Up to 40-80 Mbps: $55

Up to 100-140 Mbps: $65

 

 

Equipment Rental: $10

Cox

10 Mbps: $49.99

30 Mbps: $66.99

100 Mbps: $87.99

300 Mbps: $104.99

1000 Mbps: $119.99

Equipment Rental: Undisclosed

Xfinity

15Mbps: $49.95-$51.95

60 Mbps-1000 Mbps: $59.95-$66.95 + upgrade surcharge

2000 Mbps: $299.95

 

Equipment Rental: Undisclosed

How much does CenturyLink cost?

CenturyLink has three Price for Life plans. These plans are month-to-month and the rate remains fixed for as long as a customer stays with CenturyLink.

Monthly rates for the Price for Life plans vary based on speed. The prices listed here do not include applicable taxes or equipment rental fees:

  • Up to 20 Mbps: $45/month
  • Up to 40-80 Mbps: $55/month
  • Up to 100-140 Mbps: $65/month

CenturyLink also offers an online deal for fiber internet with 1000 Mbps for $65 per month.

Customers who choose to rent equipment from CenturyLink will be charged an additional $10 per month in rental fees.

Alternatively, customers can purchase equipment upfront. The upfront cost can be as much as $150.

CenturyLink allows customers to self-install the internet or have it professionally installed for $125.

There is no early termination fee with CenturyLink, because its internet service is month-to-month.

The total cost, excluding taxes, for the first month with CenturyLink is between $55-$340 depending on the services requested.

How much does Cox cost?

Cox offers five internet plans to residential consumers. These plans come with a one-year contract. If customers prefers a no-term service agreement, they can pay an extra $10 per month for month-to-month service.

The prices below do not include applicable taxes, month-to-month fee, or equipment rental:

  • Cox Internet Starter 10 (10 Mbps): $49.99/month
  • Cox Internet Essential 30 (30 Mbps): $66.99/month
  • Cox Internet Preferred 100 (100 Mbps): $87.99/month
  • Cox Internet Ultimate (300 Mbps): $104.99/month
  • Gigablast (1000 Mbps): $119.99/month

There are discounted prices available for new customers. These discounted prices only last the first 12 months.

Cox’s activation fee, installation fee, equipment purchase fee, and monthly equipment rental fees were not disclosed on its website. Interested customers will have to contact Cox directly for more information regarding these fees.

Cox does allow customers to use non-Cox equipment as long as it meets its requirements.

Customers who choose to have a contract for their internet will be subject to an early termination fee if they end the contract early after the first 30 days. This fee can be up to $120. 

How much does Xfinity cost?

Xfinity has three main internet plans. Most of its internet plans require a one-year contract. 

Some plans have the option to be contract-free with an additional $10-$35 per month depending on the speed. Most plans that are contract free cost an additional $20 per month.

The monthly prices listed below are for one-year contracts (unless otherwise noted) and do not include applicable taxes or additional fees.

  • Performance Starter Internet (15Mbps): $49.95-$51.95/month
  • Performance Plus Internet (60 Mbps-1000 Mbps): $59.95-$66.95/month 
  • With 150 Mbps can upgrade to Performance Pro Internet for extra $15/month
  • With 250 Mbps can upgrade to Blast!® Pro Internet for an extra $30/month
  • With 400 Mbps can upgrade to Extreme Pro for an extra $45/month
  • With 1000 Mbps can upgrade to Gigabit Pro Internet for extra $60/month
  • Gigabit Pro Internet (2000 Mbps): $299.95/month (2-year contract)

Xfinity also provides discounted promotional rates to new customers. These rates last one or two years depending on the specific terms of the plan.

Xfinity charges fees for the following:

  • Activation
  • Installation
  • Equipment purchase
  • Equipment rental
  • Early termination

The fee amount for each of these items was not easily found on Xfinity’s website. Interested customers will need to contact Xfinity directly.

Xfinity does have an option for customers to self-install their internet. Customers can also purchase a modem and a router independently as long as they meet Xfinity’s requirements. 

Xfinity offers a 30-day, money-back guarantee. If a customer cancels within the first 30-days, Xfinity will refund the customer up to $500.

Data caps

It’s common for internet service providers to set a limit on monthly data usage. Exceeding the limit can result in additional fees or slower data.

CenturyLink

Monthly Limit: Undisclosed

Excess Surcharge: Undisclosed

Data Rollover: Undisclosed

Cox

Monthly Limit: 1 TB (1024 GB)

Excess Surcharge: $10/up to 50 GB used

Data Rollover: No

Xfinity

Monthly Limit: 1 TB (1024 GB) with some plans

Excess Surcharge: Undisclosed

Data Rollover: Undisclosed

Additional Features

Internet service providers provide the following additional features with their internet plans:

  • Security software
  • Specialized hardware (modems and routers)
  • Technical support

What additional features come with CenturyLink?

CenturyLink offers the following security services with some of its internet plans:

  • Anti-virus protection
  • Computer check-ups
  • Identify Guard® Basic Protection® 
  • 24/7 tech support
  • Online back-up from Norton™ AntiVirus Online Service

Customers buying a plan without the security services can subscribe to the same services by purchasing a CenturyLink @Ease® Package for a monthly fee.

What additional features come with Cox?

All of Cox’s internet plans include Cox Security Suite Plus by McAfee. This service helps maintain your internet’s security and enhances the security of up to five devices.

Cox subscribers are also able to have up to 10 email accounts through Cox.

Cox provides in-home Wi-Fi support 8AM-midnight every day for customers renting equipment.

Customers who would like technical support can subscribe to Cox Complete Care (SM) for the same services. Cox Complete Care (SM) includes the following:

  • 24/7 remote technical support and security
  • Internet wiring repairs
  • Customer training and education
  • Hot spots

Cox’s Preferred 100 plans and higher also come with access to Cox Wi-Fi hotspots. This feature is handy for people who travel frequently.

  • Featured hardware
  • Cox offers specially designed internet equipment:
  • Panoramic WiFi (SM) Modem
  • Panoramic WiFi Extender

This equipment is designed to create steady wireless internet service throughout a customer’s home. Cox technicians install the equipment to make sure it is set up to maximize performance.

Wi-Fi configured via this hardware can be managed from smart phones through the Cox Connect app.

What additional features come with Xfinity?

Xfinity offers the following benefits to its customers:

  • 24/7 support
  • Easy-to-use self service apps
  • Guaranteed 2-hour appointment window
  • Hot spot access

Hot spots

Hot spots are not available everywhere. Only customers with a Performance Plus Internet subscribers have unlimited access. 

Performance Starter customers can be granted access with 40 1-hour passes every 30 days.

Featured hardware

Xfinity has its own modem router called xFi Gateway. It provides consistent speeds and good wireless coverage. 

Customers can also use the modem router to monitor internet activity by device, set parental controls, and turn off Wi-Fi for certain periods of time. All of these control features are available on a mobile app.

The xFi security system that comes with xFi Gateway also protects from malware.

Xfinity also offers Norton™ Security Online for PC, Mac, and mobile, can add Norton™ Secure VPN.

To bundle or not to bundle?

Many internet service companies also offer other services, like phone, TV, and home security. 

Customers interested in purchasing these services anyway may be able to save money by bundling.

Purchasing multiple services from a company can be more cost effective than purchasing them separately.

What bundling options does CenturyLink have?

Customers purchasing internet service from CenturyLink can add phone and TV service to their purchase and receive discounted rates.

CenturyLink’s bundling options require a two-year contract. The promotional pricing for DirecTV lasts one year.

The promotional rates are between $80 and $120 per month depending on customer location, which services are selected, internet speed, and kind of TV service. These rates exclude equipment fees.

With these bundling options, CenturyLink charges a $19.95 activation fee.

Because these bundles come with contracts, there is an early termination fee of $20 per month remaining on the contract.

What bundling options does Cox have?

Like CenturyLink, Cox offers phone and TV service in addition to internet. Cox also offers home security and automation services.

Cox’s bundling options also come with a two-year contract. The monthly costs (excluding taxes) range between $61.99 and $332.46. 

The promotional rates are between $49.99 and $179.99. These rates last one to two years depending on bundle terms.

These rates vary based on customer location and services bundled.

What bundling options does Xfinity have?

Xfinity offers TV service, phone service, and home security service in addition to internet service. Customers can bundle services with a two-year contract. 

The promotional monthly rates fall between $34 and $190 per month excluding taxes. 

Xfinity charges additional service fees for Broadcast TV, Regional Sports, AnyRoom DVR, HD Technology, and voice activation. 

CenturyLink vs Cox

  CenturyLink Cox
Speeds Available

Up to 20 Mbps

Up to 40-80 Mbps

Up to 100-140 Mbps

Up to 1000 Mbps

10 Mbps

30 Mbps

100 Mbps

300 Mbps

1000 Mbps

Monthly Costs

Internet Service

 

 

 

 

Equipment Rental

 

Up to 20 Mbps: $45

Up to 40-80 Mbps: $55

Up to 100-140 Mbps: $65

 

 

Rental: $10

 

10 Mbps: $49.99

30 Mbps: $66.99

100 Mbps: $87.99

300 Mbps: $104.99

1000 Mbps: $119.99

Rental: Undisclosed

One-time Costs

Activation

Installation

Equipment Purchase

 

Undisclosed

Self-install or $125

Up to $150

 

Undisclosed

Undisclosed

Undisclosed

Early Termination Fee Not Applicable Up to $120
Contract Type Month-to-month One-year or Month-to-month (+$10/month)
Data Caps Undisclosed 1 TB (1024 GB)

Additional Features

Security

Tech Support

Hot Spots

Featured Hardware

 

Yes

Yes

Undisclosed

Undisclosed

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Bundling Services

Phone

TV

Home Security

Automation

 

Yes

Yes

No

No

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Bundling Contract Typ Two-year Two-year
Additional Bundling Fees $19.95 Activation Fee Undisclosed
Bundling Early Termination Fee $20/month left on contract Undisclosed

 

CenturyLink vs Xfinity

  CenturyLink Xfinity
Speeds Available

Up to 20 Mbps

Up to 40-80 Mbps

Up to 100-140 Mbps

Up to 1000 Mbps

15 Mbps

60 Mbps

150 Mbps

250 Mbps

400 Mbps

1000 Mbps

2000 Mbps

Monthly Costs

Internet Service

 

 

 

Equipment Rental

 

Up to 20 Mbps: $45

Up to 40-80 Mbps: $55

Up to 100-140 Mbps: $65

 

Rental: $10

 

15 Mbps: $49.95-$51.95

60-1000 Mbps: $59.95-$66.95 + upgrade surcharge

2000 Mbps: $299.95

Rental: Undisclosed

One-time Costs

Activation

Installation

Equipment Purchase

 

Undisclosed

Self-install or $125

Up to $150

 

Undisclosed

Undisclosed

Undisclosed

Early Termination Fee Not Applicable Undisclosed
Contract Type Month-to-month One-year, two-year, or Month-to-month (+$10-$35/month)
Data Caps Undisclosed 1 TB (1024 GB) with some plans

Additional Features

Security

Tech Support

Hot Spots

Featured Hardware

 

Yes

Yes

Undisclosed

Undisclosed

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Bundling Services

Phone

TV

Home Security

Automation

 

Yes

Yes

No

No

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Bundling Contract Typ Two-year Two-year
Additional Bundling Fees $19.95 Activation Fee Undisclosed
Bundling Early Termination Fee $20/month left on contract Undisclosed

While Xfinity and Cox have some excellent bonus features and more bundling options, CenturyLink has lower monthly costs. Customers on one of CenturyLink’s Price for Life plans don’t have to worry about rate increases or contracts. 

While additional information about data caps and surcharges would be nice, CenturyLink is much more transparent about its rates and fees.

Customers who are looking to bundle services with home security or interested in more speed options and higher speeds should consider Xfinity and Cox.

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