In this article, we will compare and review two of the most popular internet service providers, Cox Cable and CenturyLink.
We’ve all had an unpleasant experience with an internet service provider (ISP). Whether you’ve had to put up with slow speeds, an unreliable connection, or long wait times for customer support, you’ll likely agree that it can be a very frustrating but necessary utility to deal with.
So, when it comes to picking an internet service provider for your home or business, it pays to do your research to eliminate as many of these unpleasant experiences as possible.
COX vs CenturyLink – Which Is Best?
COX and CenturyLink are two popular ISPs available in the United States – and deciding which one is best for your household’s particular needs is no easy task as in many ways, there are quite evenly matched.
There are many things to consider and compare, such as reliability, prices, and speed. To help you decide which is best for you, we’ve researched both ISPs and have provided a side by side comparison below so you can see which comes out on top in each area and can make an informed decision as to which is best for you.
COX offers internet speeds of 10 to 940 megabits per second (Mbps), while CenturyLink’s advertised speeds are from 15 to 940Mbps.
So, on the face of things, there’s not a whole lot of difference between the two ISPs when it comes to speed.
However, these speed ranges don’t provide the whole picture. First, it’s important to note that CenturyLink offers fiber and DSL connections, while COX only offers cable connections.
Fiber connections are the most stable and reliable, so while this point isn’t strictly related to speed, it’s nevertheless a potential pro of opting for a CenturyLink plan.
Based on customer feedback and our own research, COX generally offers faster speeds and its actual internet speeds are closer to its advertised speeds than CenturyLink (we’ll take a look at the different packages and their advertised speeds in the next section.)
Note: Every internet service provider’s internet speeds vary from area to area, and actual speeds can sometimes be just a fraction of the advertised speed.
Each ISP has several plans for customers to choose from to suit their budget and internet usage needs.
COX’s cheapest plan starts at $29.99 per month and offers a maximum download speed of 10Mbps.
Their next plan costs $39.99/month and offers download speeds of up to 30Mbps. This plan represents the best value for money, but if you won’t be using your internet connection for online gaming or streaming in high definition, you may prefer to go for their cheapest plan and save yourself $10 per month.
Their most expensive plan, COX Gigablast, costs $99.99 per month and offers lightning fast speeds of up to 940Mbps.
CenturyLink’s cheapest plan is considerably more expensive than COX’s slowest package, though it does also offer faster speeds.
Their cheapest plan costs $49 per month and offers speeds of up to 15Mbps. If you want a faster connection, you can pay an extra dollar and get access to their next plan which has an advertised speed of 20Mbps.
CenturyLink’s fastest and most expensive package is their fiber plan, which costs $65 per month and offers speeds of up to 940Mbps, just like COX’s costliest plan.
So, COX generally offers better value for money if you’re interested in a cheaper and slower internet connection, while CenturyLink gets you more bang for your buck if you want an ultra-high speed connection.
In addition to the monthly fee you pay for your internet service, there are other fees which you may have to pay your ISP. These include an installation fee and payment declined fees.
CenturyLink charges a $125 installation fee, up to $15 per month for equipment rental, and $50 for equipment shipping and handling. They also charge up to $25 if your payment is declined on any given month.
Meanwhile, COX’s installation fee varies from $20 to $75, and they also charge an early termination fee of up to $360.
As all their plans have a one terabyte monthly data cap (see the section below for more info), COX also charges a fee if you go above this limit (typically $10 per 50Gb of extra data used.)
All of CenturyLink’s plans are uncapped, so you can use as much internet as you want without worrying about running out of data.
On the other hand, COX have a one terabyte data cap on most of their plans. However, unless you’re downloading or uploading very large files every day or are gaming pretty much non-stop, you’re unlikely to reach this cap and run out of data during any given month.
CenturyLink is available in 37 States, while COX only serves 15.
CenturyLink is available in following States:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- South Carolina
Meanwhile, COX’s home internet plans are available in these States:
- Rhode Island
As you can tell from the above lists, both CenturyLink and COX are both available in certain States, while in others only one or the other is available. So, in many cases, there’s not much point comparing the two as they aren’t both an option.
Furthermore, it’s important to remember that these internet service providers won’t necessarily have 100 percent coverage in all of the aforementioned states, so even if you live in a State which they serve, their home internet connection packages might not be available in your particular area.
Both CenturyLink and COX have several mediums of helping customers with troubleshooting, billing and other queries. These include email, telephone support, and live chat.
But, as is the case with most internet service providers, COX and CenturyLink don’t have particularly good customer, based on customer reviews.
Specifically, COX scored 60 out of 100 in the 2018-2019 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report, while CenturyLink’s score was one point lower at 59/100. This is marginally below the average ISP customer satisfaction score of 62 out of 100, so they’re clearly not the best when it comes to customer support.
Other Features & Considerations
There are a few other differences and considerations which may be important to some households when deciding which ISP to go for.
A major advantage of joining CenturyLink is all of their plans are offered on a rolling monthly basis. In other words, you don’t have to commit to a multi-year contract with them, so they’re great for frequent movers or people who simply prefer to have the option of switching their ISP whenever they feel like doing so.
Another good thing about CenturyLink is their lifetime price guarantee. This means they won’t unexpectedly hike their prices – as many internet service providers tend to do – so you know exactly what you’ll be paying as long as you’re with them.
If you’re looking to bundle together your internet connection with cable TV and a home phone service, COX is the better option, as they offer various packages which offer good value for money.
As you’ve probably realized from reading this review, COX and CenturyLink are quite evenly well matched in many ways, so picking the best one for you won’t be easy.
However, there are a few important differences between the two – and it can be argued that there is a clear winner in some cases.
For example, if you’re looking for an affordable, low speed internet connection, COX is likely to be the best option for you. Also, if you’re interested in bundling cable TV and a landline service with your internet connection, COX is the one to go for, as they have several bundles to choose from (while CenturyLink doesn’t offer these additional services.)
On the other hand, if you’re looking for ultra-fast internet which is still relatively affordable, then CenturyLink is likely to be better suited to you than COX.
CenturyLink is also the better option for data-hungry households which stream or download loads of content and play online games, as all of their plans don’t have any data caps for you to worry about.
A Quick Summary
- COX and CenturyLink are both popular ISPs in the United States, but picking which is best for your household’s needs isn’t a simple task.
- There are many different factors to compare to help you make an informed decision as to which is best for you.
- Both COX and CenturyLink offer several different internet plans for you to choose from, with different speeds and prices.
- COX is usually the more cost-effective option if you want a cheap, low-speed internet connection, while CenturyLink offers better value for money if you want an ultra-fast yet relatively affordable connection.
- With regards to availability, CenturyLink serves twice as many States as COX – and they are direct rivals in many States.
- All of COX’s plans have a one terabyte monthly data limit, while all of CenturyLink’s plans are completely uncapped.
- CenturyLink has a lifetime price guarantee – so they will never unexpectedly hike their prices – and their contracts can be purchased on a monthly rolling basis.
- In contrast, COX’s plans can only be purchased on multi-year contracts, which can be a major turn-off for some people.