CenturyLink Business Internet Review: 2021

Free 24/7 technical support and a combination of business software and high-speed internet that won't break the bank—CenturyLink offers a sensible option for your small business.
Best Full-Service Fiber
CenturyLink
3 out of 5 stars
3.0
  • Check
    Plan prices starting at $44.99/mo.*
  • Check
    DSL plans up to 100 Mbps
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    24/7 technical support
  • X
    Poor industry ratings

*Speed may not be available in your area. Requires 2-year term, AutoPay, and Ebill enrollment. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. Rate excludes CTL fees not to exceed $1.00/mo.

Like the Little Engine That Could, CenturyLink has chugged along for decades, expanding its communication and technology services throughout the United States. If you’re looking for small-business internet to keep your company on track, CenturyLink has a few reasonably priced plans.

CenturyLink offers affordable plans and always-available tech support

We compared CenturyLink DSL internet costs to other business internet service providers. CenturyLink emerged as one of the most affordable.

Although some providers offer a wider range of plan speeds and costs, CenturyLink offers a few solid plans at prices that won’t bludgeon your budget. The most expensive plan—Simple Internet 940—is cheaper than the same speed plan offered by both AT&T and Comcast.

Recommended CenturyLink plans

Plan
Starting price (per month)
Learn more
Pure Business Internet 40 Mbps$44.99*
Pure Business Internet 100 Mbps$74.99*
Pure Business Internet 200 Mbps$74.99*
Pure Business Internet 500 Mbps$104.99*
Pure Business Gig Internet$154.99**

Data as of 12/9/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Speed may not be available in your area. Requires 2-year term, AutoPay, and Ebill enrollment. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. Rate excludes CTL fees not to exceed $1.00/mo.
**Speed may not be available in your area. Maximum download/upload speed of up to 940 Mbps via a wired connection. Requires 2-year term, AutoPay, and Ebill enrollment. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. Rate excludes CTL Fees not to exceed $1.00/mo.

Things to know about CenturyLink internet plans

There’s more to business internet than just DSL plans, so we wanted to show you a complete picture of CenturyLink’s services. Because the company focuses its small-business internet plans on companies with up to 10 employees, that’s where we focused this review too. CenturyLink lumps larger businesses in with its medium and enterprise market segment.

We showed you our favorite plans, so now let’s get to the details—warts and all. CenturyLink has a few things to like and several to hold your nose for.

Strengths
Pro Bullet Affordable DSL plans
Pro Bullet Symmetric fiber speeds
Pro Bullet 24/7 technical support
Weaknesses
Con Bullet Few upper-level DSL speeds
Con Bullet Sparse fiber availability
Con Bullet No static IPs available

CenturyLink Business Internet plans and pricing

CenturyLink offers two types of business internet service: digital subscriber line (DSL) and fiber-optic. The tables below break down CenturyLink’s small-business plans by internet speeds and pricing (if available).

DSL internet plans

Depending on where you live, CenturyLink also offers DSL plans, which range in download speeds from 10 to 940 Mbps.

Plan
Starting price (per month)
Max. download speed
Learn more
Pure Business Internet 10 Mbps$44.99*10 Mbps
Pure Business Internet 40 Mbps$44.99*40 Mbps
Pure Business Internet 100 Mbps$74.99*100 Mbps
Pure Business Internet 200 Mbps$74.99*200 Mbps
Pure Business Internet 500 Mbps$104.99*500 Mbps
Pure Business Gig Internet$154.99**940 Mbps

Data as of 12/14/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Speed may not be available in your area. Requires 2-year term, AutoPay, and Ebill enrollment. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. Rate excludes CTL fees not to exceed $1.00/mo.
**Speed may not be available in your area. Maximum download/upload speed of up to 940 Mbps via a wired connection. Requires 2-year term, AutoPay, and Ebill enrollment. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. Rate excludes CTL Fees not to exceed $1.00/mo.

Very small businesses that don’t need a ton of online computing power can get by with the slower plans in the 10 to 40 Mbps range. The monthly prices for these plans aren’t too high, which means they are a reasonable option if you’re looking for basic internet.

CenturyLink also gives you free tech features with most business plans, including two licenses for Microsoft Office 365 Business Essentials and 20 GB of data backup. These perks are great for new businesses that need some basic technology to improve their operations.

If you need more speed—say, for downloading large files or streaming video—you should consider CenturyLink’s upper-tier plans.

CenturyLink also gives you free tech features with most business plans, including two licenses for Microsoft Office 365 Business Essentials and 20 GB of data backup

Unfortunately, we couldn’t track down upload speeds for any of CenturyLink's Business Internet plans. Upload speeds matter if you need to do a lot of file uploading or conduct videoconference calls because slow uploads can lead to interruptions for these services.

Our recommendation: before you sign up for any CenturyLink Business Internet plan, ask about the plan’s max upload speed.

Anything below 1 Mbps is too low for most businesses. But unless you expect your operations to demand a lot of uploading power, you can likely get by with upload speeds in the 1 to 10 Mbps range.

Find the best internet providers in your area.

Fiber internet plans

Like most other major internet service providers, CenturyLink has been building a fiber-optic network to deliver speeds faster than any DSL connection. For now, some details about CenturyLink’s fiber service—like pricing and specific availability—are murky.

Click the links in the table below to check if fiber is available in your area and to ask CenturyLink for a quote. But for now, here’s what we do know, starting with a list of plans.

Plan
Max. download speed
Max. upload speed
Learn more
Fiber gigabit1 Gbps1 Gbps

Data as of 12/09/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Fiber is famous for its capability to provide true gigabit internet—that’s a thousand megabits. Speeds this blazingly fast are great for uninterrupted, complicated online work.

CenturyLink fiber plans also boast symmetric speeds, which means their upload speeds match their download speeds. This is a godsend for businesses that need to connect many users, upload large files, and run demanding online point-of-sale systems—all with minimal lag.

To find out if CenturyLink fiber is available for your small business, visit CenturyLink's site and enter your ZIP code. As details about CenturyLink fiber become more available, we’ll be sure to update you.

CenturyLink Business Internet bundles and packages

CenturyLink lets you bundle your business internet service with phone products. If you need to equip your employees with a phone system, consider one of these affordable bundles.

Phone bundle: Internet + voice

  • DSL internet download speeds from 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps
  • Unlimited nationwide calls with voicemail
  • Prices starting at $64.99 per month
Best Fiber Internet Service Providers for Business
Verizon Fios
Best overall
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
AT&T Business
Best for small shops
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
Frontier Business
Best budget deal
3 out of 5 stars
3.0
CenturyLink Business
Best full-service fiber
3 out of 5 stars
3.0
Learn more about our top brands.
Not sure which option will help you grow?

Transform your business with a free assessment, and get a tailored recommendation for services that will drive better results.

Technology and extras

CenturyLink entices business customers with a few perks that can make running your company a bit easier. These extra technologies are included with many CenturyLink plans and bundles:

  • Up to 10 licenses for Microsoft Office 365 Business Essentials: Go beyond the personal Microsoft Office suite and get access to tools like email, calendars, file sharing and backups, online conferences, team sites, and more—all synced to the cloud so you can work from anywhere.
  • Website services: Register your business’s domain name with up to 5 GB of data, search engine listing, and online faxing.
  • Online backups: Securely back up 10 GB of your precious business data to the cloud for up to 20 devices.
Pin
Watch out
Static IPs are a must for businesses that host their own servers or use remote access for employees and vendors. This is a feature CenturyLink lacks, so be careful if you use services that rely on an unchanging IP address.

CenturyLink business support

CenturyLink offers 24/7 technical support for business internet plans and packages—a vital lifeline in case you experience a serious outage or problem. And for you convenience, they offer phone and chat services.

CenturyLink internet reviews and ratings

How do industry leaders and customers rate CenturyLink service? The answer is somewhere between below average and so-so. Let’s look at a couple different factors.

  • American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI): In 2020, ACSI rated customer satisfaction with CenturyLink at 63/100—up four points from the previous year.1
  • Better Business Bureau (BBB): The BBB, which uses customer complaints to form its ratings, currently lists CenturyLink with a C- rating.2

These results are a bit disheartening. But if CenturyLink can better respond to customer complaints, there’s definitely room to improve the company’s reputation.

The fine print

Let’s get down to details: here are some of the fees you might have to pay, contracts you might have to sign, and hardware you might have to buy to get CenturyLink Business Internet.

Fees

No one likes hidden fees, but CenturyLink is up front about the extra fees you have to pay to sign up or make changes to your service.

  • Activation fees: CenturyLink does mention the possibility of an activation fee on its site, but unfortunately, we couldn’t track down an exact number.
  • Installation fees: The installation fee for CenturyLink can be up to $60. But you can choose to self-install your equipment and avoid the $60 charge.
  • Early termination fees: The early termination fee varies depending on the amount of time left on your contract, but you shouldn’t be charged more than $400 for canceling early.

Contracts

The DSL plans we could find all require a two-year contract to get the prices we show. You also must agree to automatic payments and electronic billing to get those prices. Fiber plans require a one-year contract.

Equipment

To get up and running, you’ll need to purchase or rent a modem from CenturyLink. You can own the modem outright for $100, or you can lease it monthly for $10.

FAQ about CenturyLink Business Internet

We discovered a few frequently asked questions about CenturyLink from current and prospective customers. You’ll find our research-backed answers to some of these questions below.

Why did CenturyLink acquire Qwest and Level 3?

CenturyLink has gone through several changes over the last few years, including expanding its footprint and market share through acquisitions.

You can own the modem outright for $99.99, or you can lease it monthly for $9.99.

In 2011, CenturyLink acquired the larger Qwest Communications for $12.2 billion.3 At the time, both companies were focused on phone services, but the merger likely helped the newly formed corporation expand its internet capabilities.

More recently, CenturyLink merged with Level 3 Communications, combining their technology prowess to serve even more customers and businesses throughout the globe.4

Where is CenturyLink business fiber available?

We can’t pinpoint exactly where CenturyLink sells business fiber yet, but according to this site, you may be able to find it in some areas within these cities:

  • Columbia and Jefferson City, MO
  • Denver, CO
  • La Crosse, WI
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN
  • Omaha, NE
  • Orlando, FL
  • Platteville, WI
  • Portland, OR
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Seattle, WA

What’s the difference between DSL and fiber internet?

Internet technology has grown leaps and bounds since the days of dial-up connections. Today, high-speed internet comes in a few forms, mainly digital subscriber line (DSL) and fiber-optic.

Business Internet 10
CenturyLink

Just need the basics? Connect one or two employees to run email, messaging, and point-of-sale systems—starting at $44.99* per month.

*Speed may not be available in your area. Requires 2-year term, AutoPay, and Ebill enrollment. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. Rate excludes CTL fees not to exceed $1.00/mo.

DSL internet uses existing copper wire phone lines to provide internet to business and residential customers. Download speeds using DSL connections range from a few megabits per second to, in rare cases, a couple hundred Mbps.

Although it uses ordinary phone lines, the internet connection via DSL doesn’t interrupt the phone services like traditional dial-up connections. A downside to DSL is that speeds and reliability can be affected by the physical distance between connections. In addition, DSL upload speeds rarely come close to download speeds, leaving some modern technology services at risk for gaps and lags.

Fiber-optic internet, or simply fiber, uses some of the best technology available to deliver internet speeds many times faster than the average DSL speeds.

Fiber connections offer fewer interruptions and more bandwidth for uploads. But fiber internet hasn’t expanded to cover as many customers as DSL (yet) and prices can be much steeper.

The takeaway

CenturyLink business internet plans are an affordable choice for small businesses that need low to average speeds.

Want to see your DSL internet options besides CenturyLink? See our article on this year’s best DSL internet providers for small businesses.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Business.org Staff Writer
Written by
Business.org Staff Writer
Business.org is committed to providing up-to-date, valuable information to help our users make easy and successful decisions. Our team works collaboratively behind the scenes to ensure our pieces meet high standards for the best possible content.
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