​​​​​​​Optimum vs. Centurylink: Which to Get?

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Two men sword fighting with paper symbolizing Optimum and Centurylink.

Researching different telecommunications and the various services that they provide can be stressful. To assist you with in this process, we will be sharing some specific details pertaining to two well-known service providers and evaluating which one is the better deal.

What should I know?

Optimum and Centurylink both offer Internet service with speeds ranging from 20-940 Mbps. Packages for both range between $35-$80 per month depending on which one you choose. Both companies also offer Internet and home phone services. Optimum doesn’t offer contracts and will even pay $500 to buy you out of your current contract. Centurylink has contracts ranging from 12-36 months, as well as early termination fees.

How does the set-up process work?

Optimum has free installation if you opt for one of the deals on their website. Otherwise they charge a one-time fee of $99 for a scheduled professional installation. This includes Wi-Fi configuration for up to six devices, the hardwiring of one device, and assistance with setting up your Optimum account. If you are interested in setting up more devices with Optimum, you can upgrade to the premium installation which costs $129 or $59 through the website.

Centurylink offers both self-installation as well as professional installation. Self-installation is only available in some areas and you will be charged $300 if your installation needs copper buried and $150 if you need aerial deliver. If you choose to do the professional installation, the technician will set up your modem as well as up to five of your devices for a one-time fee ranging from $99-$125.

How is the Internet service?

Optimum offers both cable and fiber to an estimated 12.9 million people spanning four U.S. states. Centurylink offers Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) and fiber to approximately 48.3 million people in all 50 states, predominantly in Arizona, Colorado and Washington. DSL is one of the oldest Internet technologies, utilizing the phone line to transfer data and connect to the Internet. Fiber is made up of plastic and used mainly for Internet service. Fiber is considered better because it allows for higher bandwidth connections and quick uploads. It is also less affected by slowdowns caused by high traffic. Unfortunately, it is not always an option in some areas due to high operating costs.

What are the Internet options?

Optimum costs $39.99/month for 300 Mbps, $59.99/month for 500 Mbps, and $79.99/month for 1 GB (940 Mbps).

Centurylink’s offers 20 Mbps via DSL for $45/month, 40 Mbps via VDSL for $45/month, and 100 Mbps via VDSL for $49.99/month.
Optimum Plans & Pricing Centurylink Plans & Pricing 
300 Mbps for $39.99/month20 Mbps via DSL for $45/month
500 Mbps for $59.99/month40 Mbps via VDSL for $45/month
940 Mbps for $79.99/month100 Mbps via VDSL for $49.99/month

What are the television options?

Optimum offers a home telephone service for $29.99/month. If you're interested in Internet and television also, you can add it through Optimum's mix-and-match options available through Optimum FlexAbility®.

Centurylink does not offer television but they have partnerships with DIRECTV, AT&T TV and DISH which allow you to bundle Centurylink’s Internet with their TV packages, which typically include 150+ channels. These packages include equipment fees, contracts, and a monthly cost of about $100/month. If you instead opt for their streaming package, it includes 60+ channels for $50/month without any equipment fees or contracts.

What home telephone services do they offer?

Optimum offers a home telephone service for $29.99/month. If you're interested in Internet and television also, you can addt those services through Optimum FlexAbility®.

Centurylink offers both basic and unlimited phone plans. The basic plan allows just local calls, whereas the unlimited phone plan includes local calls, long-distance calls to over a hundred countries, as well as discounted calls to Mexico and Latin American countries. Extra features are also available such as call waiting, caller ID, 3-way calling, call rejection, call forwarding, call return, speed dial etc.  The basic plan is typically $24.25/month and the unlimited phone plan is usually $60/month.

Do they offer bundles?

Optimum doesn't necessarily offer bundles, but they do offer Optimum FlexAbility.® This gives Optimum and Suddenlink customers the chance to change or cancel their services without any penalty fees. This makes it simple to upgrade or downgrade Internet speeds, change your TV package, or cancel your service altogether. It is completely risk-free with a 60-day money back guarantee!

If you’re interested in getting a bundle through Centurylink, you will need to utilize the television services offered through their partners. For just Internet and phone, you will only need service through Centurylink. The Internet and phone plan includes 40 Mbps Internet and unlimited nationwide calling for $85/month via fiber. If you opt for VDSL, the internet is 25 Mbps with unlimited nationwide calling for that same price. They also offer 100 Mbps Internet via Fiber and phone service for $105/month or 1 Gbps with a phone for $125/month.

Do they offer mobile phone plans?

Optimum offers mobile phone service through Optimum Mobile, they charge $14/month per line for 1 GB of data, $22/month for 3 GB, and $45/month for unlimited data if you're a current Optimum or Suddenlink customer. If not, the prices quoted above will actually be $10 more. Optimum Mobile offers a nationwide network with 5G access and no multi-line commitments. 

Centurylink does not offer any mobile plans at this time.

So which is the best deal?

Optimum and Centurylink offer a variety of both Internet and home phone options. As far as television is concerned, Optimum has several options whereas Centurylink is affiliated with various partners who can provide TV service. Lastly, you can get phone service through Optimum Mobile, a product of Optimum but you cannot get mobile phone service through Centurylink now. 

*Data as of 09/27/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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