EarthLink and CenturyLink are two of the largest internet service providers in the United States, offering reliable and high-speed internet plans with a variety of pricing and speed options. While EarthLink provides both DSL and fiber internet options and has coverage in over 43 states, CenturyLink offers different internet technologies including DSL, fiber, copper, and fixed wireless internet access, and is available in 39 states. For students and remote workers, CenturyLink Simply Unlimited Internet plan offers high download speed for music and standard video streaming while CenturyLink's Fiber plan and EarthLink’s fastest plan, Hyperlink 1 Gig, provide a fast, reliable fiber internet connection with upload and download speeds of up to 1000Mbps. Both internet providers offer 1000Mbps plans for professional gamers, homeowners with multiple devices, or smart home appliances that require significant bandwidth. While CenturyLink offers free installation for fiber plans and has a low self-installation fee of $15 for Simply Unlimited Internet, EarthLink charges $79.95 for the same service. With regards to equipment fees and contracts, EarthLink requires a minimum contract of 12 months for all their internet plans and charges $6.95/month for modem rental, while CenturyLink offers both contract and contract-free options, charging a modem fee of up to $15/month with a free modem and professional installation for fiber internet plan subscribers. Customer satisfaction surveys show that EarthLink has an A-plus rating and CenturyLink scored below the industry average, indicating that they struggle to resolve customer complaints.
Introduction to CenturyLink and EarthLink
CenturyLink and EarthLink are two of the most prominent internet service providers in the United States. While CenturyLink is the 13th largest internet provider in the country, EarthLink holds the top position in DSL provision. Both companies provide a variety of reliable and high-speed internet plans across many states, with EarthLink currently offering services to 43 states and CenturyLink serving 39. Additionally, CenturyLink offers a variety of internet technologies, including DSL, fiber, copper, and fixed wireless internet access, while EarthLink provides both DSL and fiber internet options. CenturyLink offers both contract and contract-free options, and it is noted for its Price for Life plan, which allows customers to keep the same price with no contract. On the other hand, EarthLink requires a minimum contract of 12 months for all its plans, and it offers a self-installation option for modem equipment at a fee of $19.95. However, EarthLink's professional installation costs are relatively higher than CenturyLink's. While EarthLink's prices are normally higher than many ISPs, this is due to its partnerships with other service providers and its reputation for great customer service makes it worth considering. Overall, the internet plans offered by CenturyLink and EarthLink are widely different based on area and are subject to extra fees and contracts.
Pros and Cons of CenturyLink
Pros of CenturyLink
1. No Data Overages or Caps: CenturyLink offers unlimited data plans for both its DSL and fiber optic services. This means customers can stream, game, and surf the internet without worrying about reaching data limits or overage charges.
2. Reliable Speeds: CenturyLink promises fast and reliable speed for its Simply Unlimited Internet plan. With download speeds of up to 140 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 40 Mbps, customers can enjoy a seamless internet experience.
3. No Price Hikes or Contracts: CenturyLink does not have long-term contracts and instead offers monthly subscriptions that can be canceled anytime. Customers can avoid unexpected price hikes and commitments.
4. Multiple Plan Options: CenturyLink offers two fiber optic plans and a variety of DSL plans depending on the customer's location. This provides customers with the flexibility to choose a plan that fits their needs and budget.
5. Fiber Optic Coverage: In limited cities, CenturyLink offers fiber optic services that can deliver speeds of up to 940 Mbps. This provides customers with blazing-fast internet that can support multiple devices streaming and gaming simultaneously.
6. No Bundling Requirements: Unlike some ISP providers, CenturyLink does not force customers to bundle their internet subscription with other services such as TV or phone. This gives customers the freedom to choose only what they need and avoid paying for unnecessary services or features.
7. Affordable Equipment Fee: CenturyLink has a reasonable equipment fee for renting modems with their DSL and fiber optic plans. Customers don't have to worry about shelling out significant upfront costs for equipment they may not own.
8. Positive Customer Reviews: CenturyLink has received many positive reviews from customers who appreciate the company's reliable internet speed, excellent customer service, and competitive pricing.
Cons of CenturyLink
1. Confusing Availability for Download Speeds: CenturyLink's plans have a reputation for being confusing with availability often being mistaken for download speeds. This can leave potential customers unsure of what they're really getting and ultimately lead to disappointment.
2. Lamentable Internet Speeds: Despite offering speeds of up to 100 Mbps, many customers report painfully slow speeds that don't even come close to what they signed up for. This can be especially frustrating for those who rely on the Internet for work or school.
3. Notoriously Difficult Customer Service: Another common complaint about CenturyLink is its poor customer service. Many customers report long wait times, unhelpful representatives, and difficulty resolving issues. This can be a major source of frustration for those in need of assistance.
4. Limited Availability: CenturyLink's service is only available in 16 states and even within those regions, coverage can be spotty. This puts many potential customers out of luck and forces them to look for other, possibly more expensive options.
5. Lackluster Performance: Despite offering unlimited data, CenturyLink's DSL plans are often slow and unreliable. This can lead to issues with streaming, uploading, and general internet use.
6. Confusing Pricing: As noted in the previous paragraphs, CenturyLink's packages can be confusing and difficult to understand. This extends to pricing as well, with many customers reporting hidden fees and unexpected charges on their bills.
7. Limited Fiber Coverage: While CenturyLink's fiber plans are generally better than their DSL options, coverage is limited to just 19 cities. This can make CenturyLink an attractive option for those within these cities but leaves many others out of luck.
8. Inconsistent Speeds: Even within regions where CenturyLink is available, speeds can be inconsistent. This can be especially frustrating for those who were promised a certain speed but ended up with much slower service.
9. No Contract Options: While some customers may appreciate the lack of a contract, others report feeling that this leaves them without leverage to push for improved service. This can be especially difficult for those who have experienced issues with CenturyLink in the past.
10. Overall Poor Value: Despite offering some appealing perks such as low prices and unlimited data, many customers report that CenturyLink is simply not worth the money. Poor service, slow speeds, and difficult customer service can leave many feeling like they are not getting what they paid for.
Pros and Cons of EarthLink
Pros of EarthLink
1. Straightforward Pricing
One of the biggest advantages of choosing EarthLink as your internet service provider is their straightforward pricing. Unlike other internet service providers that offer low introductory rates for a specified period, EarthLink avoids these sales tactics. Instead, they offer customers flat-fee pricing, which stays the same for a more extended period.
2. Unlimited Data
EarthLink offers unlimited data for all their plans. This aspect is especially beneficial for people who heavily rely on the internet for streaming, gaming, or work-related tasks. With this feature, EarthLink's internet services can function as a reliable hub for all your network activities without worrying about extra fees or data caps.
3. High-Speed Plans
Another positive attribute of EarthLink's internet service is its high-speed plans. They offer speeds ranging from 10 Mbps to 1 GB of fiber, catering to a wide range of internet users' needs. With their speed, users can get their work done quickly, stream videos without buffering and enjoy online gaming without interruptions.
4. Friendly Customer Service
EarthLink is known for providing exceptional customer service to its users. Their customer support is responsive, reliable, and available round-the-clock to cater to any issues customers may face. Whether it's setting up the internet service in your home or resolving technical issues, EarthLink has you covered.
5. High Availability
EarthLink's internet services are available in 48 states in the US, making them one of the most widely available internet service providers. They achieve this through partnerships with other internet service providers, and their network coverage combines wired and wireless connection types.
6. Additional Features
EarthLink's internet services come with extra features that help users stay secure and connected. Some of these features include EarthLink Protect+, a real-time protection tool, and EarthLink Online Backup, which can automatically backup and sync files across multiple devices, among others.
Cons of EarthLink
1. Limited availability: EarthLink's internet services are not available in every area. The company partners with other ISPs to provide services in different states, making it hard to get a clear view of how much it might cost you - or if you can get internet service from EarthLink at all.
2. High prices: One of EarthLink's major drawbacks is its high prices. Although it provides unlimited data and highly praised customer service, the cost of its services is higher than its competitors. Additionally, its plans and prices vary by location and are subject to change.
3. Fees: EarthLink charges fees for installation and outages, which are not handled by the company. You may also incur additional fees for services such as EarthLink Protect, its security software, or EarthLink Guardian, a monitoring and screen-time management service.
4. Confusing plans: EarthLink's plans and download speeds change depending on where you live. This makes it difficult to get a clear view of the services and prices available to you. For example, when you search for EarthLink plans in different locations, you may see different options with different speeds and prices.
5. Limited options: EarthLink only offers two different types of internet services; Dial-up and HyperLink. The hyperlink is the company's premier service that offers speeds up to 1Gbps with no data caps or teaser rates. While Dial-up may be affordable, it's a slow and outdated form of internet service.
6. No transparency on pricing: EarthLink does not disclose much information about its pricing on its website. While it does state that residential internet plans start at $49.95 a month, the cost of your internet service varies based on what speed you want and where you live. Additionally, the company does not disclose promotional prices, and your monthly bill may increase over time.
7. Limited features: Although EarthLink offers internet security software and digital marketing solutions for small businesses, its features are limited compared to other ISPs. For example, EarthLink Guardian, its monitoring and screen-time management service, only monitors certain activities, and you may need to subscribe to other services to get comprehensive protection.
Conclusion and Recommendation
In conclusion, EarthLink and CenturyLink are two popular internet service providers in the United States that offer reliable and high-speed internet plans. Both providers have different offerings and additional fees, and their networks are widely available in numerous states. Although both internet providers offer similar internet speeds, CenturyLink is mainly known for its fiber plans, while EarthLink provides both DSL and fiber internet options. CenturyLink also offers a Price for Life plan allowing you to keep the same price without a contract. Still, EarthLink's installation fees are generally lower than CenturyLink's fees.
Based on customer satisfaction reviews, EarthLink has an A-plus rating, while CenturyLink scored below the industry average in various regions. CenturyLink also has a lower customer review score and struggles to resolve customer complaints.
Based on the available data, EarthLink and CenturyLink remain decent options with their unique offerings, but consumers should choose the provider that best meets their specific needs. Students who use the internet primarily for online assignments and standard video streaming would find CenturyLink’s Simply Unlimited Internet plan with DSL speed sufficient. Remote workers will benefit from a higher upload speed, which both EarthLink and CenturyLink's fiber plans provide. Meanwhile, professional gamers will need the fastest internet plan possible, which both EarthLink and CenturyLink offer with their 1000Mbps plans. Ultimately, consumers should choose the plan and provider that best suits their needs and budget.
Call on (855) 210-8883 to choose the best internet provider between EarthLink and CenturyLink.