CenturyLink offers excellent fiber internet, but it’s available only in limited markets. If you can't get fiber, you may be able to get a DSL connection but you'll pay nearly as much.
MaxxSouth Broadband delivers fast, reliable cable and fiber internet to much of Mississippi and some of Alabama. The internet service provider (ISP) packs a ton of value in its plans, especially for smaller households. But if you want top-notch customer service, this might not be the company for you.
CenturyLink offers two types of plans, depending on your location. The more common option is DSL, which is relatively slow and offers inconsistent speeds. The other option is fiber, which is extremely fast and reliable.
Generally speaking, the DSL options are not a great value. The price is reasonable, but the speeds mean you’re likely to get more for your money elsewhere (this is true for many DSL providers). The fiber plans are a much better value—they offer much more speed for the money than CenturyLink’s DSL plans and are competitive with other providers’ fiber offerings. In fact, CenturyLink's 940 Mbps plan costs a little more than half of the national benchmark for similar plans. (1) We highly recommend CenturyLink fiber if you have it available.
MaxxSouth offers plans ranging from 150 Mbps to an incredible 10 gigs. However, anything above 1 gig isn't yet widely available, and for good reason. Most households don't need near those speeds, and current devices can't use it anyway. So stick with MaxxSouth's 1 gig plans or lower. In fact, the slower your plan, the better the deal you get with MaxxSouth. A 150 Mbps plan costs just 28% of the national benchmark, while a 1 gig plan runs about 67% of the national benchmark (which is still a good deal). (1)
Plans come with unlimited data, decent upload speeds, and inexpensive equipment and installation—all with no contract. That’s a ton of value!
There’s a performance divide based on the type of service available. The CenturyLink DSL plans can range from 15 to 100 Mbps, which is a wide range. Additionally, 15 Mbps just isn’t great these days. It doesn’t even reach broadband speeds (25 Mbps or more). That said, you shouldn’t have to worry about getting the advertised speed—whatever plan you sign up for, you seem to get what you pay for with CenturyLink.
On the other hand, the fiber plans offer Gigabit speeds (up to 940 Mbps), which is excellent. Additionally, fiber internet offers synchronous download speeds and upload speeds, meaning you can game, video chat, or upload large files just as fast as you binge Netflix. Fiber also tends to be inherently reliable because of the way the technology works—the light signals in fiber optic cables can carry more information over longer distances than coaxial cables. We have no complaints about performance on these plans.
MaxxSouth Broadband offers cable and fiber internet plans, both of which are highly reliable. MaxxSouth’s cable plans range from 150 Mbps to 1 gig download speeds, with upload speeds from 5 Mbps to 15 Mbps, which is better than a lot of other providers.
Some MaxxSouth fiber plans boast a whopping 10 gigs (holy cannoli!) with symmetrical connections (meaning the upload speeds match the download speeds). However, it's more realistic to see actual speeds max out at around 1 gig, even if you buy a faster plan. With 10 gigs, you could host the mother of all LAN parties (can we join?) and still have mountains of leftover bandwidth.
CenturyLink installation is more or less on par with other providers in terms of installation procedures and costs. If your neighborhood is wired for only DSL with CenturyLink, you can have your internet service set up by a pro for somewhere between $129 and $300 based on the installation requirements. You can alternatively choose to do a self-install for $15.
If you live in an area wired for CenturyLink fiber, your pro installation and equipment rental are free, and you may be able to self-install for free. You could also wrangle unlimited data and an included mesh wireless network if you sign a contract, so be sure to ask. This is about on par with other fiber internet providers.
Find out whether you need a professional to come by or if you can handle setup yourself.
As for equipment, the CenturyLink modem and router are also pretty standard stuff. The company charges around $15 per month for equipment rentals for DSL customers. The gear is nothing to write home about, but it works. You can also buy the modem outright from CenturyLink for up to $200—whether this is a good deal for you depends on how long you plan to have CenturyLink as a provider.
We don’t particularly recommend buying your own router. Both the DSL and fiber services require a modem certified by CenturyLink to function, so you may as well save some money and use the built-in wireless router.
MaxxSouth has minimal equipment and installation costs. A router/modem combo is included in your plan’s pricing, which is a rare find indeed. If you have a large home or a big family, though, you probably want to spring for this provider’s eero TrueMesh Wi-Fi, which uses multiple signal extenders placed throughout your home for the best coverage. At a reasonable $15 per month, this Wi-Fi package also includes an app that helps you find and eliminate dead spots, set parental controls, and even gives you access to remote support.
MaxxSouth’s professional installation will cost you around $20 in most cases, though if your home isn’t quite internet ready, this cost could go up. Since professional installation usually costs $70–$100 even for plug-and-play homes, that’s a sweet deal. The downside is that there’s no free self-install option, which means you’ll have to schedule an appointment. But there are worse trade-offs.
CenturyLink consistently scores slightly below average in customer satisfaction (2), largely due to complaints about a lack of responsiveness regarding customer service. The service also gets a lot of complaints from new fiber internet customers, but complaints are very common industry-wide.
CenturyLink hires techs and contractors from around the country, so some inconsistency is expected. It redeems itself slightly, though, with an easy-to-use support page.
The company is expanding and we hear that many new cities will have fiber internet hookups from CenturyLink within the next few years. If you can get only DSL, though, you may have a connection as slow as 3 Mbps or one as fast as 100 Mbps, with huge variation in latency depending on how far you are from the nearest access point.
We like that CenturyLink provides DSL to customers who may have no other option, but we don't recommend the DSL offering if you have access to cable or fiber internet from another provider.
We love that installation is just $20 in most cases and that you can call into MaxxSouth customer service 24/7/365. However, some of the customer reviews suggest that the low price and availability aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Multiple reviews cite technicians leaving holes in walls, unsightly cables, or non-functioning internet in their wake, while others say it’s hard to get a person on the phone when they call in.
MaxxSouth has some decent self-help content on its website to help you troubleshoot issues on your own, but not all issues can be solved this way. We’d love to see MaxxSouth’s customer service rise to the level of its value in other areas.