Cox vs CenturyLink: Comparing the Pricing, Technologies, Data Cap

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Similar to phone service, good internet service isn’t just about availability. It’s also about that provider you can count on all your online activity when it matters. And in this review, we’re going to compare Cox vs CenturyLink Internet to see who has exactly what you need.

The two are some of the oldest telecommunication companies in the country, with their parents dating back to the 60s. And especially with the long history of telephone provision, we’d expect them to have better internet service than their newest competitors.

But then, is that how it’s in reality? Well, let’s jump to our comparison and see.

Cox vs CenturyLink: A Summary of the Internet Service Providers

FeatureCox InternetCenturyLink Internet
Parent CompanyCox CommunicationsLumen Technologies
Service AvailabilityResidential & BusinessResidential & Business
Internet TechnologiesCable & FiberADSL, Fiber, & Fixed Wireless
Internet Speed TiersFive (residential)N/A (a little Complicated)
Highest Internet Speeds2000Mbps (on fiber)940Mbps (on fiber)
Data CapsYESVaries
Cheapest subscription$29.99/ month$50/ month
Affordable Connectivity Program DiscountYES  YES
Coverage Across the U.S.About 7%About 17%
SubscribersAbout 6.5 Million (all cabled services)About 4.47 Million (internet only)
Out-of-home WiFi AccessYESNO
Phone DiscountYESYES
Contract BuyoutNONO
Other Extra PerksMCAfee Security Suite$100 MasterCard Card, Amazon Fire TV Stick, EPIX NOW, Sling TV, etc.

Even before we dive deep into our internet wars, you can see from the chart the two providers are far from alike.

Yes, they both have a section of fiber footprint, phone bundle discount, and FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program. But that’s something even Spectrum and Frontier, amongst other internet service providers (ISPs) share.

In any case, the main pros and cons of Cox vs CenturyLink you should know include:

Cox Internet


  • It has flexible internet rates
  • Has symmetrical fiber packages
  • Includes postpaid & prepaid service
  • Has millions of free public WiFi hotspots
  • You can bring your own router & modem


  • It offers capped data on all plans
  • Has a high risk of overage charges
  • The fiber internet’s so expensive

CenturyLink Internet


  • It has free self-installation
  • Offers prepaid & postpaid service
  • Has no data caps in most plans
  • Offers symmetrical fiber speed
  • It gives amazing promotional deals


  • It has pretty expensive modem fees
  • Has unusable data speeds in various areas
  • It doesn’t have the free public WiFi hotspots
Cox vs CenturyLink

Cox vs CenturyLink: Comparing Features & Perks of the Internet Providers

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Both Cox and CenturyLink are popular internet providers here in the US. But in the 2022 American Customer Satisfaction index, they have taken a slight dip- a 3% drop to be exact.

In 2021, CenturyLink, which is the larger service, had a customer satisfaction score of 62 out of 100 points but now has 60. Then, Cox service has dropped from a score of 63 to 61 points out of 100.

Well, there are quite a number of reasons the two ISPs have declined in the end-user experience within the one-year timeline. And I’m going to point them out as we proceed with the review.

Coverage & Availability

CenturyLink takes the point here. It’s a connectivity footprint in over 30 states, covering about 17% of the US population. And that would mean over 20.8 million households, including in suburban and rural regions, could get connected today.

But in the latest quarter investors report, Lumen Technologies, the parent company of CenturyLink, has reported a total of 4.47 million subscribers. So, the largest population has opted for the rival internet providers, including Cox.

Of course, Cox even has far fewer subscribers on the internet packages (a little over 3 million). Then again, it’s available in only nineteen states at the moment, with about a 7% total nationwide footprint.

Internet Technologies

CenturyLink also leads here as you can get your internet via fiber, ADSL (asymmetrical digital subscriber line), or fixed wireless. But the ADSL, which connects via the copper telephone line, is the most accessible (with over 97% footprint).  

The CenturyLink fiber footprint is also available in a large area (about 23% of the total footprint). Only that the provider doesn’t let you choose what you’d want to have in your residence but rather dictates the plan as per your address.

Cox also has a complicated rule on its fiber internet, whereby you’ll have to contact them for installation. And considering it only covers a small area ( about 6% of the total footprint), they can easily turn down your request.

Consequently, your home will be eligible for the CenturyLink cable internet, which, sadly, doesn’t have the best upstream speeds.

Internet Speeds

If approved for the Cox business fiber (for residence), you can enjoy symmetrical speeds of up to 2000Mbps (or 2Gbps). And that’s more than enough to efficiently game, video conference, and upload large files to the cloud.

As I’ve said, though, Cox has most of the subscribers on the cable internet, which has up to a gigabit (1000mbps) download speeds. But with upstream speeds at only 35-40Mbps, which has left a large group unsatisfied with their connection.

Well, the CenturyLink ADSL is even worse as your address could be only eligible for 1.5Mbps download and 0.5Mbps uploads. And if lucky to have the highest ADSL plan, 140Mbps downloads, the uplink speeds are still limited to 20-25Mbps.

The best CenturyLink internet package would bethe fiber, which has symmetrical speeds at equal 100-940Mbps upload and download. But again, most areas don’t have the underlying lines.

Internet Plans & Pricing

On the CenturyLink vs Cox internet rates, I’d prefer the latter as the prices are more friendly in most places.

Chart 2.0 Cox Residential Internet plans Structure

FeaturesStarter 25Essential 50Preferred 250Ultimate 500Gigablast
Introductory Price/ month$29.99 (12 Months)$39.99 (12 Months)$59.99 (12 Months)$79.99 (12 Months)$99.99 (12 Months)
Regular Price Rate/ Month$44.99$65.99$83.99$99.99  $119.99
Installation Fee$20 – $100 (One-Time)$20 – $100 (One-Time)$20 – $100 (One-Time)$20 – $100 (One-Time)$20 – $100 (One-Time)
Equipment Fee$13/ Month (avoidable)$13/ Month (avoidable)$13/ Month (avoidable)$13/ Month (avoidable)$13/ Month (avoidable)
Data CapsYES (1.25TB)YES (1.25TB)YES (1.25TB)YES (1.25TB)YES (1.25TB)
Download Speeds25Mbps50Mbps250Mbps500Mbps1000Mbps
Upload Speeds3Mbps3Mbps10Mbps10Mbps35Mbps

 2.1 CenturyLink Residential Internet Plan Structure

FeaturesSimply Unlimited (ADSL)200Mbps Fiber Plan500Mbps Fiber PlanGigabit Fiber Plan
Pricing/ Month$50$50$50$65
Installation Fee$0 – $99 (One-Time)$0 – $99 (One-Time)$0 – $99 (One-Time)None
Equipment FeeUp to $15/ mo. (or $200 one-time)Up to $15/ mo. (or $200 one-time)Up to $15/ mo. (or $200 one-time)None
Data CapsN/A (soft cap)NONONO
Download Speeds1.5 – 140MbpsUp to 200Mbps500Mbps940Mbps
Upload Speeds0.5 – 20MbpsUp to 200Mbps500Mbps940Mbps
Free Sling TV for 6 MonthsNONONOYES
Free Amazon Fire TV StickNONONOYES

The charts above summarize the cost of the internet plans, equipment, and installation of our two providers. And Cox wins on flexibility as you can get the cable service in most areas at an introductory price of $30 to $100/ month.

However, the introductory promotional price will be only for the first year after joining the service. Then, after that, it will increase by twenty to twenty-six bucks depending on the plan you’re using.

As for the Cox business-fiber-for-residence, there’s no mention of how much it will cost on the company page. But a Reddit user has claimed to be paying over $300 and another a grand on his 200Mbps business plan.

So, the CenturyLink internet leads in the fiber category as you can get the Gigabit plan from as low as $65/ month.

But do remember the provider generally dictates the service plan on your address. And in that case, you might only be eligible for the fiber speeds between 100-500Mbps at $50/ month.

If not fiber, you’ll most likely qualify for the ADSL Simply Unlimited internet. And CenturyLink charges here $50/ month for either of the 1.5Mbps through 140Mbps speeds (over a dozen plan options).

Installation & Equipment Fees

CenturyLink has the option to do a free self-installation or pay a one-time fee of $100 to get a professional installer. Then, the modem you could bring your own, lease at $15/ month, or purchase a $200 one-time fee.

Cox also has the option to bring your own modem and router if you don’t want to pay the $13 monthly fee. Then, you could do a self-installation at no cost or a minimal one-time fee of $20.

Ps. CenturyLink Gigabit fiber plan includes no fees for the equipment or installation.

Data Cap & Overage

Some years back, CenturyLink used to have a data cap of 1TB per month on their internet packages. But lately, the fiber and most of the premium ADSL plans have unlimited data with no cap.

The only CenturyLink plans I’d say has a soft data cap are the lower copper plans. But it kind of kicks in when the node seems too busy.

As for the Cox internet plans, they all have a 1.25TB (or 1280GB) cap and overage charges of $10 per 50GB block. But you could add the “unlimited Additional Data plan” suite at $30 to $50/ month, depending on your location.

Common Related Questions

Is CenturyLink more reliable than Cox?

Personally, CenturyLink internet is more reliable than Cox if your address is eligible for either of the fiber packages. You can a symmetrical 940Mbps connection from as low as $65/ month and no data caps or overage charges.

Are CenturyLink and Cox the same?

No, CenturyLink and Cox are not the same companies. The only detail same between them is that you can get fiber lines overlapping in several areas and also the fact you can get the Affordable Connectivity Program discount.

What is the fastest internet speed offered by Cox?

The 2 Gig Fiber is the fastest Cox internet speed at the moment, with up to 2000Mbps on both upstream and downstream. But you could also get the Gigablast cable internet with a maximum download speed of 940-1000Mbps and 35-40Mbps uploads.

Why does Cox charge so much?

If I’m to be honest, Cox charges so much on its internet plans due to the monopoly policy in these suburban & rural areas it covers. You can see the Gigablast cable internet shot up to $170 or more with the add-on unlimited additional data plan.

What Internet Should I Pick?

As I’ve said in the beginning, Cox and CenturyLink have very few similarities in their internet service.

Even in the fiber technology where they have some similar packages, CenturyLink is way cheaper even without the promotional pricing. And to make it even better, you won’t need to pay for the installation or modem on the Gigabit plan. Then, the monthly allotment includes unlimited data with no caps or overage fees.

All that said, though, CenturyLink has most areas with the ADSL internet, which has relatively low data speed. And in that case, you can consider the Cox cable connection if available and are okay with the upload speeds.