• CenturyLink

    CenturyLink

    CenturyLink began as a telephone company that was purchased by Marie Williams and William Clarke. Marie Williams’ son, Clarke McRae Williams, expanded the company in 1968 and became its president. This started the company on the path to becoming the country’s third largest telecommunication service provider based on access lines. The company was rename in 2009 after a merger. Before that, it was known as CenturyTel.

    The company is a provider of cable, telephone, wireless Internet and DSL Internet as well as voice, data and managed services. It also provides home security and television plans. The company serves customers locally, nationally and in select markets abroad. It has around 14 million voice consumers and approximately 8 million DSL Internet users.

    The company has won a number of awards over the years. Their most recent awards include the 2013 Partner of the Year Award, the 2012 MEF Carrier Ethernet Award, and three Best-in-Class Awards in 2012.

    Juniper Networks, a producer of networking equipment, presented the company with the Partner of the Year Award because of its achievements and excellent performance in the areas of customer service, sales, technology and service. Metro Ethernet Forum, an international nonprofit industry group, gave the company the 2012 MEF Carrier Ethernet Award for the Ethernet service solutions they provided for school systems in educational institutions. ATLANTIC-ACM, a leading international benchmarking and telecommunications consulting firm, has awarded the company with Best-in-Class Awards for seven consecutive years. 2012 alone saw them win three of these honors. The award is based on ATLANTIC-ACM’s Business Connectivity Report Card. The winner is the company with the highest carrier ratings in several service categories.

    These awards, along with the many others the company has accumulated over the years, shows their consistency and commitment to their work. It also shows that they have consumer trust and solid business relationships.

    The company’s market share as of 2011 was 12.30 percent. Its recent acquisitions point favorably to an increase in its market share. In July of 2009, the company obtained Embarq Corporation, the largest local exchange carrier in the U.S. This meant that it could provide a wider array of products and services in addition to advanced entertainment, DSL Internet service and wireless Internet. It also meant more stable financial strength as well as greater employment opportunities.

    In April of 2010, the company decided to purchase Qwest Communications, a telecommunications carrier. The merger was a significant because of the advantages it provided. Qwest had an impressive product portfolio, and the acquisition meant they had great potential to be a telecommunication powerhouse.

    The company’s most recent acquisition took place in July of 2011. They bought Savvis, Inc., an information technology company known for its innovations in cloud computing. It was an advantageous merger because of the increase in demand for cloud computing providers and cloud-based services.

    Pricing & Plans

    Residential

    CenturyLink offers services at very affordable rate for residential customers. They have DSL Internet service for just $19.95 per month. The plan promises consistent speed and a direct connection.

    The company also offers pure broadband without requiring a home phone. This wireless Internet service is priced from $29.95 per month. It is only available for residential customers.

    Small-Medium Business

    CenturyLink offers High-Speed DSL Internet with its Office Plus plan. The price is $56 per month. It guarantees a direct connection to the Internet with enhanced streaming and downloading.

    The company also offers the Core Connect plan that is great for small-scale businesses. It comes with high-speed DSL Internet. Prices range from $85 to $115 with a 36 month term. Technical support is available round the clock.

    CenturyLink Internet

    Essential Power is the Internet offer. Bundled with a home phone, it will cost $19.95 a month with a five year contract. For pure broadband, the price can go up to $24.99 a month for a six month contract.

    Advanced Power is another online offer that costs $19.95 per month on a five year contract when bundled with a home phone. For just broadband Internet, the price will be $29.99 per month for six months.

    For the Full Power plan, Internet will cost $24.95 a month for five years if bundled with a home phone. Without a phone, it is $29.99 a month for six months.

    The Ultimate Power plan costs $29.95 a month for a five year contract bundled with a home phone. If ordered without a phone, the cost will be $29.99 a month with a six month contract.

    Connection Speed

    The company offers a number of different Internet speeds. Fast connections are 768k, 1.5Mbps and 3Mbps. This is good for emailing, Internet surfing or sharing photos online. Faster connections are 7Mbps, 10Mbps and 12 Mbps. This is convenient for networking, video and music streaming, movie streaming and downloading, online multiplayer gaming and video and photo sharing. The fastest connections are 20Mbps, 25Mbps and 40Mbps. These plans are great for advanced applications and heavy use, multiplayer online games, downloading and streaming HD movies and professional use for home offices.

    The service provider also makes use of the technologies from DSL Internet service, fiber optic connections, cables and Dial-up. DSL or Digital Subscriber Line is a broadband online connection that accesses the Internet through network wires. It comes with a DSL modem where the wires from the telephone network are attached. Internet speed will usually depend on the distance of the device from the Internet Service Provider and the type of DSL subscription.

    Dial-up makes use of a public switched telephone network to be able to connect to the Internet. It is the cheapest way to connect. A device has to be plugged into the telephone line for it to work. Users online will not have access to the telephone because it will be inactive.

    Wireless networks can connect to the Internet through wireless routers. These routers receive signals from modems that are linked to an Internet service provider. Like DSL, speed will also depend on the distance from the router and the quality of signals sent. If obstacles such as trees get in the way, it will also affect the connection.

    A broadband connection can make use of DSL, wireless connections, cables, satellite and fiber-optic connections. It channels signals on a widespread scale and is one of the most popular ways to connect to the Internet today.

    Additional Features

    The company offers all day technical support. This is convenient for consumers who are having difficulty at any time of the day. Support is also available on the weekends.

    A high-speed Internet plan will also allow consumers to get the [email protected] This will secure, support and protect devices when they are connected to the Internet. The free service comes with virus protection as well as a PC health check. There are also paid services ranging from $9.99 a month up to $19.99 a month. Additional offers that come with the paid package include phone support, operating system support, Spamware protection, parental controls and backup storage space ranging from 5GB to 500GB.

    When purchasing an Internet plan, consumers also get a 30 day guarantee. The company promises consistent speed and reliability. Existing consumers in select areas even have the option of upgrading their Internet to make it faster.

    For businesses, the company offers essential services like high-speed Internet, hosting services and web design, business email and business phone service. With hosting services, consumers can create their own websites with free profile listings for their business in different search engines. With business email, consumers can create a more professional web address that makes use of their business name. Business phone service entitles customers to unlimited local calls, unlimited nationwide calls and a number of various calling features such as voicemail and call forwarding.

    Help & Support

    Consumers overwhelmingly agree that the services provided are worth the price. Their plans are all easily affordable. This is one of the main characteristics that attract consumers to the company.

    The installation process is not difficult. Technical support is also present for help with inquiries round the clock. There may be times where service can be slow due to minor technicalities. Technical support follows up on these situations quickly.
    Summary

    CenturyLink has established itself as one of the top telecommunications service providers in the country. It has accumulated a large following from the deals, bundled packages and promos it offers with their television, telephone and Internet services. Their acquisitions of other reputable companies in the industry has also helped their rise in the market.