Comcast (Xfinity) VS CenturyLink as an ISP

This is a comparison of Comcast and CenturyLink as an Internet Service Provider. I am going to look at Speed, Cost and Reliability.

Speed & Cost

Comcast offered 3 options to me on the phone:
  • 25 mb/s for $75 /m
  • 50 mb/s for $125 /m
  • 150 mb/s for $173 /m
CenturyLink offers many different speeds but I listened to those you see below: (However, it seemed that I could get whatever I wanted)
  • 20 mb/s $20/m
  • 40 mb/s $40 /m
  • 80 to 100 mb/s $75 /m 
I've had Comcast (now called Xfinity) for years and been paying the $75 a month. I've never thought that I had another reasonable choice for high speed internet. Well, recently I found out that CenturyLink offers these new high speeds in my area. I've been using the basic (25 mb/s) speed from Comcast for a long time, anything more would be silly for the price. To be perfectly honest $75 a month is still way too much! I chose to try out the 40mb/s from CentruyLink to see how that goes.



Having had Comcast for years as my Internet Service Provider (ISP) I can tell you something about my experience. Mostly I can't say that I've been really happy with them as a high speed ISP. The price is probably a lot of that, but also the speeds I get vary a lot. Sometimes I get very slow speeds. Today is a good day and I'm getting all of the 25 mb/s. But some days I don't get even 10 mb/s.

Normal and expected Comcast internet speedI do also lose service all together sometimes too. When that happens we go through an exercise in restarting the router and if that wasn't the problem then we try restarting the cable modem. If still nothing then we find something to do that doesn't include the internet since its obviously down. Service outages happen more frequently than I would like, if I had to give you a guess, I would say that its about once every couple months and it's down anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. A few times over the years we have experienced it going down more than once in a week, but that's pretty rare. So, yes, reliability could be better.

Another thing about Comcast is that you do not get a dedicated line. You are on something called a "node" with several others in your area. I don't know how many others, just that you are sharing speed with everyone that is also using internet. If everyone on your node were to be streaming movies or doing large downloads that is going to affect your personal speeds.

Sometimes the problem with being on a node is that you can get viruses from others that are on your node. I know this because it happened to me. I had a virus I could not seem to shake. So, like any techie I rebuilt my computer and installed my OS from scratch. The funny thing was I had the same virus again right after connecting to my network. I started again a couple times, each time taking several hours. Eventually, I found that if I connected my computer directly to the cable modem I got the virus immediately. This had taken all the computers on my home network out of the mix. This direct connection to the Comcast modem and the internet would lead to only one place, my node on the Comcast network. I called their customer support and explained my problem. The support person said that no one else was reporting the problem and wanted to tell me it was my problem and there was nothing I could do. I got to a supervisor and explained all the hours of troubleshooting I had done and still wasn't getting anywhere, they weren't going to do anything. I canceled my service with Comcast at the time and went with another local high speed service and I didn't get the virus again. Several years later we moved and had no choice but Comcast. I was very reluctant to use them, due to my experience, but had no other high speed choices at the time.


I can't wait to tell you how it turns out... as soon as I know how it's going. I'm scheduled to be setup early next week. The reputation is that their service is not reliable at all. I don't know if that's just hearsay or if there's real meat to it. Friends of mine are interested as well after I told them what you read above. Price and Speed are both good, now we just need to see if its reliable.

Also, it's a fiber optic network, ride the light baby! There are no "nodes" in this CenturyLink network, I get a direct dedicated line. It will be my line alone to use that goes directly to my house. Other people's traffic should not affect mine. My speeds are not supposed to fluctuate, i'm paying for 40 mb/s and that is what I'm supposed to get.


Well, CenturyLink came out and setup my connection yesterday while I was out. When testing the connection I noticed that I was only getting 10.9 mb/s. I called their support and found out that the speeds that I was promised on the phone were not offered in my area yet, they are still topped out at 12 mb/s where I live. Considering my usage, this is a deal breaker for me. So, I told the service rep that I was not interested in slower speeds and to send me a return label since this was not going to work out at all.

The things I noticed while on CenturyLink at that slower 11 mb/s speed. The speed test was VERY consistent. No fluctuation in speed at all, it pegged the needle at nearly 11 mb/s every time and stayed there. I noticed also that my phone (VOIP via Ooma) was not as clear as I usually experienced, and it was difficult to get it to connect at all on the network while I was using CenturyLinks internet connection. I don't really understand why that would be but perhaps it had problems as other devices maxed out the bandwidth while I was connecting it to the network or talking on the phone. I didn't take the time to dig into it further, as soon as I got off the phone with the CenturyLink service person I disconnected their modem and reconnected the one for Comcast.

I was very disappointed in my experience since their service personnel apparently don't know how to tell you what speeds you can actually get in your area. All in all, it was just a waste of time. I do think its worth finding out if they have faster speeds in your area, I will certainly keep my eyes out for when they or someone else does.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to leave a comment.