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Embarq Now CenturyLink page on DSLReports
Six Month Rating

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Review by ozar See Profile

  • Location: USA
  • Cost: $90 per month (24 month contract)
  • Install: about 3 days
Good "The best point by far is the help provided by CTL_Joey, right here at DSLReports.com"
Bad "Speeds all over the place, terrible office support, far too expensive for the service provided"
Overall "Inconsistent internet connection at best... I seriously wish there were other options locally"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

The only other options available to me in this area are dial-up, cable, and satellite. The cable service in this area is down quite often for no apparent reason, so I didn't consider that as a viable alternative.

I'm currently on the "Up to 10.0M download / 896k upload" package and the price I've listed for this review includes the regular phone line charges, plus the DSL service.

The initial order process (about 5 or 6 years ago) went fine and while it was a self-installation, the actual DSL signal was reaching my line in about 3 days and I was up and running. I started out with the 645 Series modem supplied by Sprint/Embarq and the 1.5 M download package, then I upgraded when 3 M package was available, then again when 5 M download package became available. In all cases, the upgrade was totally painless and without any effort on my part. However, when I recently upgraded to the 10 M downloads package, Embarq sent me a new modem (Embarq EQ-660R) that was supposed to be easy to install, but it turned out to be very problematic and took several different Embarq support techs a number of hours to get things so that I was up and running again.

The newly supplied modem drops the DSL sync signal quite often, but intermittently. In fact, it will sometimes drop out about every 5 or 10 minutes during the evening, then the signal re-syncs and you can connect again. Another thing that I've noticed that happens frequently is that the speed will suddenly drop drastically and I get download speeds around 5M/7M. Rebooting the modem will usually get things going faster again.

I recently replaced the ISP supplied modem with a D-link DSL-2540B modem/router and have not lost sync again since doing so. I've also not noticed the degraded speeds suddenly appearing, but I'm not certain just yet that all is fixed, as it's only been a few days since the ISP modem was replaced.

Update (04-28-09): the speed of my 10 Mb/s connection has dropped to about 2 or 3 Mb/s and stayed there over the last 4 days. Rebooting the modem doesn't seem to help speed it up any longer.

Update (05-17-09): just wanted to update my review to say that the speed finally did move much closer to the 10 Mb/s that I pay for, but I'm back to having to reboot the modem every few hours, or sooner, in order to maintain decent speeds. I'd definitely give Embarq a lower score for connection reliability if there was a lower score available. Otherwise, their DSL services are mediocre. Hopefully, the CenturyTel/Embarq merger will bring some improvements, but I've learned through experience not to count on it. Time will tell, and I'll be back here to report on whatever happens, either way.

Update (03-3-10): upgraded scores for Connection Reliability, Tech Support, Services, and Value For Money, all based on help received from our very own CTL_Joey. DSL service here was truly lousy for several years but Joey pulled the right strings and got things working properly. Thank you again, Joey!

Update (07-08-10): the CenturyLink DSL connection that I have at home and work have both been absolutely horrible for the last week or two with very slow speeds, constant page timeouts, and page hangs. Both, my 10Mb/s and 5Mb/s connection are getting speeds similar to a dialup account and are unusable for all practical purposes. In addition to that, every time it rains, my home connection goes on and off repeatedly as long as it's raining, making the connection useless.

The CenturyLink techs have been out several times and they've told me to call in a repair request when it rains next so they can come check for the problem during the rain, but by the time they get to my house, it's no longer raining. Living in a small town of less than 3,600 people, you'd think they would know when it's raining and think to themselves that they need to go troubleshoot this problem immediately, but that doesn't seem to be happening.

For all those reasons outlined above, I've downgraded the "connection reliability" section of this review to the lowest option possible and the connection itself will have to become and remain far more reliable for some time before I'm willing to upgrade it again. At the current time, I'd advise any viable option over CenturyLink for those that need a reliable internet service.

Update (08-15-10): downgraded rating once again due to the horrible Connection Reliability and Value For Money that we've experienced recently. Also downgraded rating for Tech Support, but that is not intended to reflect on the help provided right here by CTL_Joey, as his help is the only good support provided by Century Link. I'm currently paying about $100 per month for phone and DSL service whereas it's certainly worth no more than about $40 per month due to the lousy connection reliability and terrible tech support.

Consider your options closely before signing up with Century Link because even if other available options are slower, they might be better if they work properly and consistently. Any improvements with the service from Century Link will have to remain steady and consistent for some time to come before I'd be willing to upgrade this review to a more positive one. Check the forums for more details about what users are experiencing under Century Link, and consider yourself warned.

Update (09-22-10): the DSL connection has been working slightly better over the last couple of weeks, but I don't feel confident at all that it will stay that way for long. I'd still be quick to try an alternative provider if there were other DSL providers in this area. As indicated earlier, we have a local cable company that also provides internet services but the speeds they currently provide are far to slow, and the cable service was too expensive the last time I checked it. The Tech Support score I provided is based on the support provided by the company, not by our own CTL_Joey here on the forums. We'd need a separate section to rate him where he'd definitely receive a 5 score from me... Thanks, Joey!

Update (11-15-10): I've lowered the review ratings on CenturyLink once again. Connection speeds are all over the place and latencies, too. I don't know what's wrong with the service CenturyLink provides to its customers causing it to be so inconsistent, but if my automobile acted up as much as this connection does, I'd be getting rid of it in a hurry. Sure, I'd leave CenturyLink in a heartbeat, but there aren't any real alternatives in this local area. I keep hoping that they will take the steps to improve their service, or that a better company will come along and buy them out, and then make things better, but it's looking more and more like neither will ever happen. If I could pay what the service is actually worth, I'd be out about $20 to $25 bucks each month instead of $80.

(02-28-2013) Here we are over 2 years now since my last review and things have not improved one bit, but have only gotten worse. Each and every night from about 6pm to around 11pm, the 10 Mbps downspeed connection that I've been paying for drops all the way down to dial-up speeds and remains there, most likely due to CenturyLink overselling the service compared to what it can actually handle. The rest of the time, speeds are erratic at best and are rarely what I'm paying for. With any luck, perhaps this provider will fold so that other options will make themselves available in this area.

This ISP is absolutely horrible, end of story!

member for 6.6 years, 1188 visits, last login: a few hours ago
updated 1.8 years ago