Frontier Internet Review
DSL and fiber internet
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Frontier’s digital subscriber line (DSL) internet isn’t as fast as its fiber options, but its Frontier Internet is inexpensive and gives you enough bandwidth for some streaming or gaming on at least one device.
The Frontier FiberOptic 500 Mbps Internet plan is a steal, both compared to similar speed plans from other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and compared to other Frontier internet plans. At $59.99 per month for the first two years, it’s a fifth of the price of Frontier’s gigabit internet plan but still gives you a ridiculous amount of bandwidth.
Any of Frontier’s internet packages are available with home phone and/or TV bundles. We already like the Frontier FiberOptic 500 Mbps Internet plan, so it stands to reason that we also like the 500/500 plan when bundled with TV and home phone services. All three together cost less than $100 per month.
On April 14, 2020, Frontier Communications filed for bankruptcy.
The company is continuing operations and has said that Frontier’s customers won’t face any service interruptions. If you want to know more about the situation, read our full guide on what Frontier’s bankruptcy means for customers.
Inexpensive DSL internet for your essential online activities
This fiber plan gives you a ton of bandwidth for your buck.
Fast internet, TV, and home phone service in one convenient bundle.
Data effective 07/17/19. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Frontier’s internet quality depends on where you live. If you’re in a city with Frontier FiberOptic availability, then Frontier internet is pretty good. Frontier’s fiber internet gets a thumbs up for its symmetrical upload and download speeds (perfect for activities like cloud computing) and inexpensive 500 Mbps plan.
But Frontier’s fiber internet is scarcer than its DSL service, and the DSL service is on the “meh” side of things. The good news, though, is that neither the fiber nor DSL internet plans have data caps.
In our 2020 customer satisfaction survey, Frontier ranked ninth out of 15 included internet service providers. That’s not great. Although its scores seem to have improved overall from our last survey, there’s not much that stands out in a good way when it comes to Frontier.
|Plan||Prices from*||Download speeds up to||Connection Type|
|Frontier Internet||$37.99/mo||6 Mbps||DSL|
|Frontier Internet (formerly Preferred)||$44.99/mo||25 Mbps||DSL|
|Frontier FiberOptic 50 Mbps Internet||$49.99/mo||50 Mbps||Fiber|
|Frontier Internet (formerly Premium)||$54.99/mo||115 Mbps||DSL|
|Frontier FiberOptic 500 Mbps Internet||$59.99/mo||500 Mbps||Fiber|
|Frontier FiberOptic Gig Service||$199.99/mo||940 Mbps||Fiber|
|View Frontier Internet Plans|
*For 24 months with 2-year agreement. Actual speeds may vary. Installation, equipment fees, Internet Infrastructure Surcharge, early term, taxes & other fees apply. Services subject to availability and all applicable terms and conditions.
Actual speeds may vary. Installation, equipment fees, taxes & other fees apply. Services subject to availability and all applicable terms and conditions.
Data effective 07/17/19. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Frontier has a ton of internet plans. And if you look at the ISP as a whole, the pricing and speed tiers don’t make a lot of sense. Why does Frontier Internet cost $54.99 for up to 115 Mbps when Frontier FiberOptic 500 Mbps Internet costs $49.99 for 500 Mbps?
The thing is, Frontier’s services don’t compete with each other, so the ISP doesn’t need to have consistent pricing throughout its brands. This kind of sucks because it means some Frontier customers get worse service than others for the same price.
It works out for customers who live in a Frontier fiber area, but it’s not so great for customers who get stuck with its DSL services, which look way overpriced by comparison.
To be fair, most of Frontier’s plans are reasonably priced for what they are. Both the Frontier DSL plans are pretty much in line with similar packages from other DSL internet providers. And the ISP’s 50 Mbps, 200 Mbps, and 500 Mbps plans are all great.
The Frontier FiberOptic Gig Service plan is the expensive exception—both compared to Frontier’s other plans and compared to gigabit internet plans from other ISPs. That might be worth it to you if you need the extra speed, but most people don’t.
What we’re saying here is that Frontier’s fiber service is better than its DSL service. Not just because of fiber’s superior speeds and reliability but also because it’s a much better value. But unfortunately, Frontier fiber internet isn’t available in most areas.
You can get Frontier internet in parts of 29 states, including Illinois, California, West Virginia, Texas, and Ohio.
Not all plans and internet speeds are available in each of the ISP’s service areas. You’ll have to check with your representative for the exact plans offered to your address.
How fast Frontier internet is depends on what type you get. Frontier fiber internet speeds can reach up to 1,000 Mbps or 1 Gbps, but fiber internet is available in only a select few cities. Frontier’s DSL internet services offer download speeds from 6 Mbps to 115 Mbps.
Frontier’s fiber internet also has faster upload speeds than DSL. The fiber services have symmetric upload and download speeds, which means that you get the same amount of bandwidth for uploading and downloading.
Most internet plans—including Frontier’s DSL plans—give more download speed and less upload speed. That’s usually fine. Most people consume more information (download) from the internet than they create for it (upload).
Internet providers typically give customers upload speeds equal to about 10% of the download speed. Fiber’s faster upload speeds are good if you do a lot of activities that require upload bandwidth, like vlogging or sharing large files.
Of course, that’s assuming you actually get the advertised speeds. But according to the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Measuring Fixed Broadband Report from 2018, only about 30% of Frontier DSL customers saw speeds equal to at least 95% of their advertised speeds during peak hours.
Frontier came in fifth of seven DSL providers included in the study. That’s not great.
You choose your internet speed plan based on what you need—and if your ISP doesn’t deliver, you could find yourself in the purgatory of constant buffering.
On the other hand, almost 80% of Frontier fiber users saw speeds close to their plan’s advertised max. That’s a much better track record than Frontier’s DSL service.
|Download||Frontier or Vantage Internet |
|FiberOptic or Vantage Fiber 50/50||FiberOptic or Vantage Fiber 500/500|
|Less than 1 second||Less than 1 second||Less than 1 second|
|4 seconds||Less than 1 second||Less than 1 second|
|Less than 7 seconds||Less than 1 second||Less than 1 second|
|47 minutes, 43 seconds||5 minutes, 43 seconds||34 seconds|
|11 hours, 55 minutes, 49 seconds||1 hour, 25 minutes, 53 seconds||8 minutes, 35 seconds|
|All of Wikipedia|
|5 months, 15 days, 16 hours, 49 minutes, 17 seconds||2 weeks, 5 days, 21 hours, 13 minutes, 6 seconds||1 day, 23 hours, 43 minutes, 18 seconds|
When shopping for a new internet plan, you shouldn’t necessarily go for the fastest speeds possible.
If you’re doing a lot of simultaneous streaming, gaming, uploading, and file sharing, then maybe you should. But otherwise, you can probably get away with a slower (and less expensive) internet package.
Check out our speed guide to get a general idea of how much bandwidth you need, or get a personalized speed recommendation with our “How Much Speed Do I Need?” tool.
4 - 6 People:
4 - 6 People:
4 - 6 People:
SD Video: 10 Mbps
HD Video: 50 Mbps
4 - 6 People:
SD Video: 50 Mbps
HD Video: 100+ Mbps
Like any other ISP, Frontier will provide its customers with everything needed to use the internet. But it also charges for features that many other providers throw in for free, like using your own equipment or accessing public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Frontier really wants you to use its provided equipment. And you might as well, since it’s going to charge you the rental fees no matter what. That’s right—Frontier will charge you a modem or router rental fee (depending on your type of service), even if you choose not to rent the equipment. That doesn’t even make sense.
Along those same lines, Frontier doesn’t have a list of compatible modems or routers on its website, stating, “Because your service is not exactly like anyone else’s, we can’t provide a list of routers or modems that will work for you.”
Frontier’s aversion to letting you use your own home networking equipment does make just a little bit of sense. The ISP uses a few different types of internet, which would require different equipment lists depending on where you live and what service you subscribe to.
That could get confusing for some users, sure. But most people who’d buy their own modems and routers are savvy enough to get the correct equipment.
Either way, we don’t like it. If Frontier’s going to have a compulsory monthly fee like that, it should be included in the advertised price.
Frontier uses DSL and fiber internet. Its DSL network is larger and covers rural areas, while its fiber service areas are more limited.
DSL has been around for awhile and uses telephone lines to deliver home internet. The good thing about DSL is that it’s much more widely available than some other types of internet services like fiber. The downsides of DSL are mainly its speeds and reliability.
DSL internet can reach decently fast speeds (up to 115 in this case), but they rarely get much higher than that. And DSL performance relies on your home’s distance from the ISP’s central hub, as the signal gets worse over longer distances.
Fiber, on the other hand, transfers data using light signals. The technology is newer, so it’s faster and more reliable than DSL. But because it’s all shiny and new, it’s also harder to find. Fiber infrastructure is expensive, making it available only in certain urban areas. But it’s worthwhile if you can get it.
Most ISPs with public Wi-Fi hotspots let their internet customers use these hotspots for free. Not Frontier. Frontier maintains a network of Wi-Fi hotspots, but everyone has to pay to use them. For Frontier internet customers, it costs $9.99 per month to access the Wi-Fi hotspots.
If you’re not a Frontier internet customer, you can still purchase access to Frontier’s Wi-Fi hotspots at www.frontierwifi.com. Rates start at $1.99 for an hour and go up to $29.99 for 30 days.
According to Frontier’s comprehensive list of hotspot locations, there are fewer than 1,000 Frontier hotspots in the US at the time of writing. So unless you’re frequently in an area you know is covered by one of these hotspots, it’s not really worth the cost.
Frontier’s mobile app, MyFrontier, is an account management app. It’s pretty standard and not very exciting as far as ISP apps go.
The app lets you view and pay bills, update contact information, reboot your Frontier equipment, and access a few customer support features like FAQs and the Help Center. It’s available for both Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.
Alongside its internet packages, Frontier offers services like device protection plans, identity theft protection, advanced technical support, cloud storage, antivirus protection, and password management.
These services cost anywhere from $4.99 to $12.99 each per month, but Frontier also has a few combo packs and bundles if you’re interested in multiple services.
We like the idea of these internet security and protection plans in theory. But the reality is that running into any issues with these services—like if you need to file a claim on the device protection plan—would require you to interact with Frontier’s customer service team. And according to our 2020 internet customer satisfaction survey, that might not be the best experience.
Frontier has both professional installation and self-installation options. Both are straightforward and basically what you’d expect from internet installation.
If you go for a pro install, you set up an appointment and wait around for the tech to show up sometime during your hours-long service window. They set everything up for you, and you’re good to go.
The only unusual thing is that it seems you have to ask a customer service agent whether you can self-install your equipment. Most other ISPs that offer self-installation trust the customers to know whether or not they can do it. But in this case, it does make sense for Frontier to verify.
Frontier has a few different internet networks that have different set-up processes and may require some new wiring, especially for fiber services. Checking with an agent beforehand could save you both a headache down the line.
Professional installation costs up to $75, but there’s no fee for self-installation. Frontier also charges a $9.99 equipment delivery and handling fee for both professional and self-installation.
If you qualify and decide to self-install, you can follow our Frontier self-installation guide for a little extra help.
If you can get it, the Frontier FiberOptic 500 Mbps Internet plan is fast and inexpensive with enough bandwidth for the whole family (or your assortment of quirky roommates).
The Frontier FiberOptic 50 Mbps Internet plan is a less expensive option for homes that don’t have a lot of connected devices. We’re not thrilled about Frontier’s high price tag for gigabit internet, but if you need the speed, we like that it’s at least an option for some people.
As far as Frontier’s DSL internet plans go, they’re fine. They’re comparable to services from other DSL internet providers, and they’re much more available than Frontier’s fiber internet services. They also offer speeds up to 115 Mbps, so Frontier DSL internet can support households with lots of devices online.
Our only concern on this front is Frontier’s low customer satisfaction with speed and reliability—Frontier might not always deliver on its promises.Compare Frontier to other providers in your area.