Century Link got its start in the 1920s as the Oak Ridge Telephone Company in Oak Ridge, Louisiana. By 1968, the company had a presence in three states, with 10,000 access lines. In 1971, it was renamed Century Telephone Enterprises. Over the next three decades, the company grew steadily, partly by acquiring other telephone companies, and it moved into the wireless phone market in the mid-1980s. In 1999, the company was renamed CenturyTel.
With more acquisitions over the next decade, .among them Digital Teleport and the Midwest Fiber Optic Network, CenturyTel was able to offer fiber-optic cable service in some of its markets.
In 2008, following its acquisition of Embarq, a telecom serving eighteen states, CenturyTel announced that its new name would be Century Link. Two years later, the company acquired Qwest Communications, a digital TV, internet backbone, and mobile phone services company operating in fourteen states. The merger made Century Link the third largest telecommunications company in the United States. It now has more than 1.4 million video customers, more than 5 million broadband internet customers, and more than 17 million access lines in thirty-seven states.
In some of its markets, Century Link offers Prism TV, a fiber-optic IPTV (internet protocol TV) service. Prism TV is not available in all Century Link markets, though, and where it is unavailable, Century Link sells DirecTV or Dish Network. Century Link also provides land line and mobile phone service, home security, home automation, and internet via DSL, copper wire coaxial cable, and fiber-optic cable.
Century Link Advantages: Where its Prism TV service is available, Century Link offers a full suite of home services: fiber-optic cable TV, phone, broadband internet, home security, and home automation. Its Smart Home service combines home security with remote appliance, light, and thermostat control. In selected markets, Century Link will soon offer 1 gigabit per second (1 GB/S ) internet download speeds, about 100 times the average broadband speed in the U.S.
Century Link Disadvantages: Where its 1 GB/S internet service is not available, the top speed offered by Century Link is 40 megabits per second, somewhat slower than the fastest internet speeds offered by most other cable internet providers.