Because of its 2011 acquisition of Qwest Communications, CenturyLink has become the third-largest telecommunications company in the United States and one of the largest ISPs. In fact, Qwest Field, the home of the Seattle Seahawks, is now CenturyLink Field. If you are a migrating Qwest customer, you likely have already noticed the green "Qwest is becoming CenturyLink" logo. The merger has helped them combine forces to provide 190,000 route miles of fiber network, and now CenturyLink is available in new areas, including Utah, New Mexico and Montana.
Since this is a recent merger (at the time of this writing), evaluating potential speed and customer satisfaction proved to be a bit more difficult, so we researched both Qwest and CenturyLink. In most third-party tests Qwest tests in a range about what you would expect from DSL. Depending on your location, you may experience download speeds of 1 to 10Mbps. CenturyLink for the most part seems to test in about the same range as Qwest. We also looked at Emparq, whose infrastructure CenturyLink acquired in 2009, and their download speeds test in the midrange, below the faster cable and fiber optic companies. If you are a casual internet user, CenturyLink, utilizing its newly acquired infrastructure, should be able to satisfy your needs. However, if you are a heavy internet user and use the internet for entertainment purposes such as playing online games and streaming movies, or if you don't like waiting for websites to load, we would recommend you consider one of their upper-end subscriptions or one of our higher-ranked products if available.
CenturyLink provides services to nearly 6.5 million people across the United States. They provide services to two of our eight test markets and offer services outside of the continental U.S. They have over one million telecommunication access lines in Minnesota, Arizona, Colorado, Florida and Washington, and 73,000 in their home state of Louisiana. They continue to add new infrastructure, including a proposed addition of 20 million of broadband services in New Mexico. They are certainly a company to watch as they continue to grow and expand.
CenturyLink provides volumes of helpful information online for your customer support needs, including tutorials, speed tests, forums and store locators. You can contact them by email, telephone and chat. Qwest had a reputation in some areas for unimpressive and often exasperating customer service, so we hope that CenturyLink will put more value on customer service and improve their reputation in those areas.
CenturyLink's lower tiered and slower speed options are not impressive. However, if you can obtain one of their faster connection options such as 10Mbps or more with a dedicated line, you will be able to enjoy most of the media that the internet has to offer, such as video and streaming music.
CenturyLink provides a variety of connection speed options and includes Norton internet security software.
CenturyLink does not provide cable services.
They are working hard on creating faster connections for their customers; they continue to invest in infrastructure and are well worth checking out.