CenturyLink vs Comcast Cable

CenturyLink continues to expand across the country, recently purchasing Qwest communications. With this move, the local telephone carrier now competes head to head with Comcast in several markets including Colorado and Washington state. If these two companies are available in your area, which should you choose? Does one top the other when it comes to high speed internet and video service? Lets take a closer look.


Comcast vs Centurylink Internet Speeds

Most residential customers are looking for a fast broadband connection to their home first and foremost. Video service is a close second, as Americans still love to watch hours of TV each day. Comcast has built their business around these services, while Centurylink has adapted their telephone network to offer internet service, and partnered with DIRECTV for video in most areas.

In most areas where CenturyLink and Comcast compete, you will find faster speeds with the cable provider. Branded under the Xfinity name, internet speeds now top out at 100 Mbps or more in some areas. CenturyLink has upgraded some major metropolitan areas as well, but speed only reach 40 Mbps at best. If the fastest connection possible is your priority, then Xfinity is going to be your best option.



Pricing on Internet Service

When it comes to price, there are literally dozens of variables that come into play. Both companies want you to bundle, so better deals are out there if you get multiple services.

Comcast is focused on getting you to bundle internet with video service, and usually the promotional deals are good for the first year of service. Some longer term discounts are offered if you sign a contract, so check this option if you can commit to a two year deal.

Centurylink delivers internet service over their copper phone lines, so their bundle deals are offered to those wanting a home phone line. A one year contract deal offers DSL up to 40 Mbps (where available) for just $19.95 a month. There are also price lock deals which are good for three years on a home phone line plus internet with Centurylink.


The Winner?

So which company should you go with? If price is your top priority, then you are probably going to find that Centurylink gets the job done at the right price. But if you need or want the fastest broadband internet connection, Comcast is going to beat the competition in most cases. Shop both websites with your home address to see exact speeds and pricing.

Video service is another battlefield where these two companies meet head-to-head, offering different products but similar channel lineups. Here is what you can expect.

TV Options

Because Centurylink is the incumbent local telephone company, video has been a challenge. Huge network upgrades are necessary to provide video over a traditional telephone network. AT&T and Verizon have already spent billions upgrading their networks to compete with cable and satellite companies, while Centurylink has taken a more measured approach.

In most areas, the video option offered by the company is DIRECTV satellite service. This partnership between the companies allows combined billing and customer service through CenturyLink. They take care of the customer while DIRECTV provides the actual service.

A few areas do have a Centurylink television product, called Prism TV. It is similar to AT&T's U-verse product, offering IPTV technology to residential customers. At this point though, it has only been deployed to a handful of markets.

With Comcast, you will find a full slate of cable programming packages, along with all of the bells an whistles like HD, DVR, and video on demand. All of this can get pricey if you have multiple cable boxes and digital video recorders throughout the home.

Both companies are going to offer you better deals if you bundle. Promotional rates are usually offered for one year, with the DIRECTV option being heavily discounted for 12 months before reverting to normal pricing.

The winner? In most cases its going to be a matter of preference. Some don't like the idea of having a satellite dish mounted on their home, so they shy away from DIRECTV. But when it comes to content, both companies offer hundreds of channels in high definition, so you really won't notice much of a difference either way.



Triple Play Packages

So what can you expect to pay if you get a triple play package with Comcast or Centurylink? Pricing is always changing - but here are a few of the current offers.

Comcast offers their HD Preferred package (160+ channels), Performance Internet (25 Mbps) and a home phone line with unlimited talk for $119.95 a month. This offer is good for one year with no contract, or locked in for two years if you agree to a 24 month contract. The contract deal also nets new customers a $150 Visa prepaid card in the mail, so if you like the price and terms, its a fairly good deal.

A comparable package with Centurylink would include the following. An home phone/internet/DIRECTV package for $99.94 a month would include unlimited local and long distance calling, DSL speeds ranging from 1.5 Mbps to 40 Mbps, and the Choice package which has 150 channels. The big variable here is the internet speed available, as there is really a big differential in speeds depending on your particular neighborhood. To see what is offered at your home, go to centurylink.com and plug in your information.

This deal does require a two year contract agreement on the DIRECTV portion, and there are early termination fees if you stop service before the end of the contract.

Both of the deals reviewed here are baseline pricing, if you add DVR services and additional equipment in other areas of your home expect additional monthly fees. You will also have modem fees and taxes added to your bill.

Prism TV

Your Preference

If you have tried Comcast and Centurylink, who provides better service?

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