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Frontier vs. Spectrum

See how Frontier and Spectrum internet, TV and bundle services stack up.

At Allconnect, we work to present quality information with editorial integrity. While this page may contain offers from our partners, our opinions are our own. Here’s how we make money.

Is Frontier or Spectrum a better fit for you?

At Allconnect, we work to present quality information with editorial integrity. While this post may contain offers from our partners, our opinions are our own. Here’s how we make money.

We’ve done the research on Frontier and Spectrum, so you can compare and choose the best internet, TV and home phone provider for you in one convenient spot. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Spectrum is available in 41 states, Frontier is available in 25 states with Frontier FiberOptic in four states: California, Texas, Florida and Indiana.
  • Frontier FiberOptic plans cost $49.99-$74.99/mo.*, and get you faster internet speeds for your money than Spectrum. You’ll pay $10/mo. more in the second year.
  • Spectrum internet plans cost $49.99- $109.99/mo.* You could pay as much as $25/mo. more in year two.
  • Frontier DSL plans (called Frontier Internet) offer speeds up to 115 Mbps download, but most areas will get a max of 25 Mbps . No matter what, upload speeds are limited to 1 Mbps, which makes online gaming or video calls nearly impossible.
  • Spectrum has higher customer satisfaction scores than Frontier.

Our pick: If you can get Frontier’s fiber optic internet service at your address, that’s your best option. But if you’re picking between Frontier’s DSL internet and Spectrum, we’d go with Spectrum.

How we scored internet providers

We evaluate broadband providers in four categories: affordability, performance, value and customer satisfaction. Each category contains multiple sub-factors, all of which are weighted differently to impact the provider’s overall score.

We evaluate broadband providers in four categories: affordability, performance, value and customer satisfaction. Each category contains multiple sub-factors, all of which are weighted differently to impact the provider’s overall score.

For each sub-factor, we score all providers on a continuous scale of 1 to 5, relative to the industry as a whole. Because the average download speed in America is currently 180 Mbps, for example, we assigned all plans with download speeds between 100 and 299 Mbps a score between 3 and 4. Xfinity’s 200 Mbps plan received a 3.50 score for download speed, while Spectrum’s 400 Mbps plan got a 4.16.

We only considered standardized data points in our scoring system. More abstract data like consistency of service and brand reputation is still part of our analysis, but we opted to let our writers address them in the context of each review.

Learn more about our methodology

Frontier vs. Spectrum internet

The choice between Frontier and Spectrum internet really comes down to which connection type is available at your address. Frontier FiberOptic will get you the fastest speeds and best value, while Spectrum’s cable internet is a little slower and more expensive. Still, Spectrum is much faster than Frontier DSL service, which should be viewed as a last resort for most people.

Frontier FiberOptic internet plans

Spectrum offers up to three internet plans — Spectrum Internet, Internet Ultra and Internet Gig — in most areas with available speeds ranging from 60 to 940 Mbps. You’ll find details on Spectrum internet plans below.

Spectrum internet plans

Which internet plan should you choose?

Best overall internet plan: FiberOptic 500/500

Frontier’s mid-level fiber optic plan offers the best combination of speed and affordability. Right now, Frontier is offering it for just $49.99/mo. The same price with Spectrum gets you less than half the speed. With 500 Mbps download and upload speeds, all but the largest, most connected households will have plenty of bandwidth for streaming, gaming and video calls.

If you’re looking for rock bottom prices, Frontier’s cheapest DSL plan starts at just $37.99/mo. That said, it only gets 9 Mbps of download speed, so activities like streaming or video calls may be prone to buffering.

Frontier’s FiberOptic Gig is one of the fastest internet plans in the country. You’ll get 940 Mbps download and a whopping 880 Mbps upload speed. Most people don’t need all that speed, but if you do a lot of gaming or have a well-connected smart home, it might be worth the upgrade.

Spectrum vs. Frontier cheap internet plans

In areas where Spectrum and Frontier are both available, Frontier will likely present the lowest-priced internet options. Depending on the plan you choose, however, Spectrum plans may come with more speed for the price, making it a better value.

Spectrum’s cheapest plan offers a bit more speed than Frontier, but you’ll also get an added equipment fee of $5/mo. Frontier internet plan pricing already includes the cost of equipment rental.

Spectrum vs. Frontier fastest internet plans

Depending where you live, Frontier may offer internet speeds up to 940 Mbps, but gig internet availability is limited. More commonly, the fastest internet speeds available with Frontier’s two fiber brands are speeds up to 500 Mbps.The fastest speeds for Frontier DSL plans are up to 115 Mbps.

Spectrum’s gig internet offers speeds up to 940 Mbps and are available in the majority of Spectrum service areas. Spectrum upload speeds range from 10 to 35 Mbps, depending on your plan. Gigabit plans with download speeds up to 940 Mbps have upload speeds up to 35 Mbps, plans from 300 to 400 Mbps carry upload speeds up to 20 Mbps and lower tier plans have upload speeds up to 10 Mbps. 

Frontier FiberOptic internet plans will include upload speeds that are almost equivalent to their download speeds (Upload speeds max out at 880 Mbps).

Additional things to consider

The price you see when you’re shopping for internet is rarely the same as what shows up on your first bill. In addition to taxes, most providers charge extra fees for equipment rental, installation and data overages. Here’s how Frontier and Spectrum compare when it comes to those extra considerations.

Equipment fees

Both providers are pretty generous in this category. While you can typically expect to pay between $10 and $15/mo. to rent a modem and router from your internet provider, Spectrum only charges $5/mo. and Frontier doesn’t charge anything.

Winner: Frontier

Installation fee

Frontier charges a flat $85 fee for all installations, while Spectrum’s is just $10.

Winner: Spectrum

Data caps

You won’t have to worry about data caps on any of Spectrum’s or Frontier’s plans. All of them come with unlimited data.

Winner: Tie

Contracts

Neither Spectrum or Frontier require you to commit to a contract when you subscribe, so you won’t have to worry about early termination fees if you move or switch providers.

Winner: Tie

What shoppers should consider in different regions

Both providers’ pricing and package options vary across the U.S., especially Frontier’s. Frontier offers different internet speeds in separate regions. Frontier also tends to offer higher internet speeds with bundles than with standalone internet plans.

Spectrum and Frontier both have select availability with TV services, too. In different areas, each provider may only offer TV service as part of a bundle. Because internet speed pricing changes so much and standalone options aren’t comparable in certain regions, potential “bundle savings” can differ across the U.S.

Frontier vs. Spectrum bundles

Spectrum and Frontier offer comparable TV channel packages and premium channel promotions. Because Spectrum is a cable provider, it offers cable TV to bundle with its internet plans. Spectrum bundles cost between $90 and $140/mo. in most areas, and go up by $32/mo. in the second year.

Frontier, on the other hand, doesn’t offer TV plans itself, but instead partners with TV services like DISH and AT&T TV for its bundles. Unfortunately, these aren’t discounted at all, so there’s no real advantage to bundling with Frontier.


Frontier vs. Spectrum customer satisfaction

Generally, customers are happier with Spectrum than Frontier. We looked at three sources when comparing customer satisfaction between providers: The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), Consumer Reports and J.D. Power. In each one, Frontier received a significantly lower score.

Because the majority of Frontier’s service area is limited to DSL connections, complaints about service typically center around slow speeds. If you can get Frontier FiberOptic at your address, this shouldn’t be an issue. Still, that doesn’t explain its “poor” score for technical support from Consumer Reports readers, or the thousands of complaints with the Better Business Bureau about Frontier’s customer service and sales issues.

Our verdict

If you live in an area with Frontier FiberOptic service, we think that’s the best option for most people. It offers the fastest speeds, and its price is actually a bit cheaper than Spectrum. But if you can only get Frontier DSL, Spectrum’s cable internet will be far more reliable. It’s also worth noting that customers are overwhelmingly more satisfied with their service from Spectrum, but it’s safe to assume that many of the bad experiences with Frontier are with its DSL service.

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Joe Supan

Written by:

Joe Supan

Senior Writer, Broadband Content

Joe oversees all things broadband for Allconnect. His work has been referenced by Yahoo!, Lifehacker and more. He has utilized thousands of data points to build a library of metrics to help users navigate these … Read more

Robin Layton

Edited by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

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