CenturyLink vs. Frontier
Lifetime price lock
Fast fiber connections
Variable speed availability
Plans start at $49.00/mo.
Several available fiber plans
Significantly slower speeds at lower prices
Plans start at $27.99/mo.
Data effective 6/23/2020.
CenturyLink has six different plans, but because all five of the DSL plans are the same price, there are realistically only two plans—DSL (15–100 Mbps, depending on what’s available in your area) and fiber (940 Mbps).
Frontier, on the other hand, is great for low-cost plans and users who need flexibility, such as faster speeds than 100 Mbps but not as fast as gigabit.
Update on Frontier:
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
CenturyLink vs. Frontier internet
Type of service
DSL and fiber
Type of service
DSL and fiber
|View CenturyLink plans||View Frontier plans|
Type of service
DSL and fiber
Type of service
DSL and fiber
|View CenturyLink plans|
|View Frontier plans|
Data as of 6/23/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
CenturyLink vs. Frontier packages and pricing
CenturyLink and Frontier provide competitive packages, and no matter how you use the internet, you’ll find one that works for your needs and budget. Overall, Frontier has a slight edge due to its better prices per megabit, but depending on your use and availability, you still might want to pick up CenturyLink.
Don’t know how much speed you need? Head over to our handy How Much Speed Do You Need? Tool to find out what speed range your household should shoot for.
|Price for Life 15 Mbps||$49/mo.||15 Mbps*||DSL|
|Price for Life 20 Mbps||$49/mo.||20 Mbps||DSL|
|Price for Life 40 Mbps||$49/mo.||40 Mbps||DSL|
|Price for Life 80 Mbps||$49/mo.||80 Mbps||DSL|
|Price for Life 100 Mbps||$49/mo.||100 Mbps||DSL|
|CenturyLink Fiber Internet||$65/mo.||940 Mbps||Fiber|
|Package||Price for Life 15 Mbps|
|Package||Price for Life 20 Mbps|
|Package||Price for Life 40 Mbps|
|Package||Price for Life 80 Mbps|
|Package||Price for Life 100 Mbps|
|Package||CenturyLink Fiber Internet|
*Speed may not be available in your area. Rate excludes taxes; activation fee applies.
CenturyLink internet plans definitely have some pricing issues, effectively being only worth the cost if its faster speeds are available in your area. While they’re well priced for their cost in the broader market, they can’t compete with Frontier’s overall lower prices per megabit.
Beyond its higher costs, CenturyLink offers only a single dedicated fiber plan, while Frontier offers three different fiber plans with varying speed tiers.
One key benefit CenturyLink has is its Price for Life guarantee. As long as you keep the same service and plan, you generally won’t have to worry about price hikes for the rest of your life. CenturyLink plans have a 1 TB data cap, but it’s unlikely you’ll meet that cap at any speed.
|Frontier Internet||$27.99/mo.||6 Mbps||DSL|
|Frontier Preferred Internet||$34.99/mo.||25 Mbps||DSL|
|Frontier Premium Internet||$44.99/mo.||45 Mbps||DSL|
|Simply FiOS 50/50||$29.99/mo.||50 Mbps||Fiber|
|Simply FiOS 500/500||$39.99/mo.||500 Mbps||Fiber|
|Simply FiOS Gig Service||$74.99/mo.||1,000 Mbps||Fiber|
|Package||Frontier Preferred Internet|
|Package||Frontier Premium Internet|
|Package||Simply FiOS 50/50|
|Package||Simply FiOS 500/500|
|Package||Simply FiOS Gig Service|
For 24 months with 2-year agreement. Equipment fees, Internet Infrastructure Surcharge, taxes, early term. & other fees apply. Services subject to all applicable Frontier terms and conditions. Subject to availability.
Frontier internet plans tend to be both cheaper and faster than most CenturyLink plans. The service definitely shines when it comes to options. Like CenturyLink, Frontier is a contract-free service that’s priced for the lifetime of your subscription.
By and large, you should plan to pick up one of Frontier’s mid-range options. Think between 25 and 115 Mbps. But if fiber service is available where you live, we recommend that over DSL. While you certainly can splurge on gigabit service (1,000 Mbps), it’s unlikely you’ll really need speeds that fast unless you live in a house full of professional gamers.
CenturyLink vs. Frontier: Who has the fastest internet speed?
How do CenturyLink and Frontier speeds stack up? CenturyLink’s and Frontier’s fiber speeds are nearly equivalent, with CenturyLink advertising 940 Mbps and Frontier advertising 1,000 Mbps. CenturyLink’s fiber plan is about $10 cheaper though. So, if you’re looking for a fiber service and want to save a few bucks, go with them. On the other hand, if you’re more flexible in your speed needs, you could grab Frontier’s FiOS 500 package for $35 less and still get superfast fiber speeds.
Test your speed:
Not all internet service providers (ISPs) provide the speeds they claim. Are you getting the short end of the stick and losing out on some of those megabits? Check out our speed test tool to gauge whether or not your connection is living up to its promises.
CenturyLink and Frontier both run largely on DSL connections, which run over existing telephone lines. Fiber infrastructure is more expensive and difficult to install, so that’s why those plans aren’t as widely available as their DSL plans. DSL has slower download and upload speeds (topping out at 100 Mbps), while fiber is capable of much faster download speeds and symmetrical upload speeds.
As long as you are ok paying for it, we recommend getting a fiber connection over a DSL one when it’s available.
CenturyLink vs. Frontier fees and contracts
CenturyLink and Frontier both have cut down dramatically on their fees and costs over the years. What remains for both services is a low-cost service at a price that should remain stable for the duration of your agreement.
*Data as of 06/23/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
CenturyLink’s service is considerably streamlined, with the only guaranteed fee being taxes on the network itself. Installation costs vary based on location (if your home already has a fiber or cable line running to it, you won’t have to pay for it) and taxes also vary based on states and municipalities.
The only consistent fee for CenturyLink customers will be for equipment, which can be negated by buying a modem or router. CenturyLink’s modem/router combos are pretty good if you’d like to rent from your provider. But if you’re looking for router options, you can start here with our guide to the best modem/router combos.
Data as of 06/23/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
With a $75 installation fee, Frontier edges CenturyLink out on a bare margin when all other factors are equal. Other fees, including equipment rental, are pretty comparable to CenturyLink.
Although many internet providers will make you sign a contract only to raise prices on you later, neither Frontier nor CenturyLink do this. Both have managed to do away with price hikes in general and require contracts for only specific services.
Frontier still requires a two-year contract for its fiber plans, but you’re fine to sign a DSL contract with them for a month-to-month service. It also locks in your price for two years, which means one less thing to stress about.
CenturyLink doesn’t require contracts at all, regardless of whether you opt for fiber or DSL, allowing you to cancel at any time. It also locks in its prices for life, just as long as you remain on that specific contract.
CenturyLink vs. Frontier equipment
Renting equipment from CenturyLink and Frontier tends to be as simple as going to their brick-and-mortar stores and picking up the modem/router box. They can also mail it to you or bring it along when they come for a professional installation. When you get the equipment, just plug it in and set it up using your computer. Frontier has taken some heat for charging customers a rental fee despite not renting equipment to them, effectively adding $10 to their service fee. CenturyLink has no such policy.
If you’re the type who wants to get every penny out of their internet service and you plan on sticking with your internet plan for a while, you might want to invest in your own router and modem setup. Choosing your own router and modem can also give you significant speed and performance advantages. The only drawbacks are compatibility with your provider. Be sure to ask your ISP which equipment is compatible with its service before you purchase.
CenturyLink vs. Frontier customer service
Your experiences working with and getting assistance from your ISP can be just as important as their basic services. When picking a provider, find out how its installation and customer service experiences compare.
Installation and setup
CenturyLink and Frontier both offer professional and self-installation options at almost comparable costs. If you don’t have a port, you’ll need to pay for a professional installation, which will include network setup. If you do have an existing DSL or fiber port from one of the services in your home, you can opt for self-installation.
Self-installing equipment is a fairly straightforward process regardless of which ISP you use. It’s a simple matter of plugging in a few cables here and there, and then configuring your network settings. If you need help, check out our Frontier install guide or CenturyLink install guide.
CenturyLink and Frontier score near the bottom of internet providers when it comes to overall customer satisfaction, but CenturyLink leads its rival slightly in our HighSpeedInternet.com customer satisfaction survey.
CenturyLink vs. Frontier availability
CenturyLink has pretty dispersed coverage across the US, but its lines aren’t all the same. Some areas are served only by DSL while others (usually metros) get fiber lines. If you’re living in a more rural part of the county, CenturyLink likely has coverage.
Despite Frontier’s better plans, its more limited availability means you’re probably going to have to use CenturyLink unless you live in one of its select service areas. Check your ZIP code here to see what’s available in your area.
Pros and cons
- Price for Life guarantee
- Consistent pricing across plans
- Wide geographic availability
- Limited plans
- Higher prices at lower speeds
- Limited fiber availability
- Wide range of plans and options
- Several fiber service choices
- Lower prices per megabit
- Mandatory equipment rental fees
- Poor customer service
- Limited availability
CenturyLink, while not having the sheer speed varieties of Frontier, has everything you’ll likely need (and the coverage area to boot) for your internet use. That said, if either a Frontier or CenturyLink fiber plan is available in your area, we recommend you spring for that instead. Fiber is a much better user experience than DSL, and it’s usually worth every extra penny it may cost.
See what CenturyLink and Frontier plans are available in your area:
CenturyLink vs. Frontier FAQ
What’s the difference between fiber and DSL?
DSL travels on existing phone lines, making it widely available but not as fast as fiber. DSL speeds top out at 100 Mbps. Fiber is a newer technology built on fiber-optic glass lines that are capable of delivering much faster speeds (up to 1,000 Mbps) and equally fast upload speeds. Still interested? Check out our full DSL vs. Fiber comparison.
Do CenturyLink and Frontier have data caps?
Frontier has no data caps, while CenturyLink has 1 TB data caps. Unless your whole family is connected to the internet all day long every day, that should be more than enough data to get you through the month.
Is it cheaper to buy or rent equipment?
Whether or not it’s cheaper to buy or rent equipment depends on how long you plan to keep your internet plan. If you plan on sticking with one provider for two or more years, it’s cheaper to buy your equipment outright rather than paying a monthly rental fee. But if you might move in a year or less, it’s probably better to just rent. If you buy your router and change plans later, your equipment might not be compatible with your new plan.
Author - Vanessa Sigman
Editor - Cara Haynes
Cara Haynes has edited for HighSpeedInternet.com for three years, working with smart writers to revise everything from internet reviews to reports on your state’s favorite Netflix show. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span (buffering kills). With a degree in English and editing and five years working with online content, it’s safe to say she likes words on the internet. She is most likely to be seen wearing Birkenstocks and hanging out with a bouncy goldendoodle named Dobby, who is a literal fur angel sent to Earth.