CenturyLink vs. Frontier

Best for price guarantees
  • Lifetime price lock
  • Fast fiber connections
  • Variable speed availability

Plans start at $49.00/mo.

View Plans for CenturyLink

Best for low-cost plans
  • Low-cost plans
  • Several available fiber plans
  • Significantly slower speeds at lower prices

Plans start at $27.99/mo.

View Plans for Frontier

Bottom line

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

CenturyLink Frontier

Type of service

DSL and fiber

Type of service

DSL and fiber

Price

$49.00–$65.00/mo.

Price

$27.99–$74.99/mo.

Contract

None

Contract

None

Download speeds

15–940 Mbps

Download speeds

6–1,000 Mbps

Equipment fees

$9.00/mo.

Equipment fees

$10.00/mo.

Installation fees

$99.00

Installation fees

$75.00

Customer satisfaction

(3.79/5)

Customer satisfaction

(3.77/5)

View CenturyLink plansView Frontier plans
CenturyLink

Type of service

DSL and fiber

Frontier

Type of service

DSL and fiber

CenturyLink

Price

$49.00–$65.00/mo.

Frontier

Price

$27.99–$74.99/mo.

CenturyLink

Contract

None

Frontier

Contract

None

CenturyLink

Download speeds

15–940 Mbps

Frontier

Download speeds

6–1,000 Mbps

CenturyLink

Equipment fees

$9.00/mo.

Frontier

Equipment fees

$10.00/mo.

CenturyLink

Installation fees

$99.00

Frontier

Installation fees

$75.00

CenturyLink

Customer satisfaction

(3.79/5)

Frontier

Customer satisfaction

(3.77/5)

CenturyLink View CenturyLink plans
Frontier View Frontier plans

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.

CenturyLink packages

PackagePriceSpeedInternet type
Price for Life 15 Mbps$49/mo.15 Mbps*DSL
Price for Life 20 Mbps$49/mo.20 MbpsDSL
Price for Life 40 Mbps$49/mo.40 MbpsDSL
Price for Life 80 Mbps$49/mo.80 MbpsDSL
Price for Life 100 Mbps$49/mo.100 MbpsDSL
CenturyLink Fiber Internet$65/mo.940 MbpsFiber
PackagePrice for Life 15 Mbps
Price$49/mo.
Speed15 Mbps*
Internet typeDSL
PackagePrice for Life 20 Mbps
Price$49/mo.
Speed20 Mbps
Internet typeDSL
PackagePrice for Life 40 Mbps
Price$49/mo.
Speed40 Mbps
Internet typeDSL
PackagePrice for Life 80 Mbps
Price$49/mo.
Speed80 Mbps
Internet typeDSL
PackagePrice for Life 100 Mbps
Price$49/mo.
Speed100 Mbps
Internet typeDSL
PackageCenturyLink Fiber Internet
Price$65/mo.
Speed940 Mbps
Internet typeFiber

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 packages

PackagePriceSpeedInternet type
Frontier Internet$27.99/mo.6 MbpsDSL
Frontier Preferred Internet$34.99/mo.25 MbpsDSL
Frontier Premium Internet$44.99/mo.45 MbpsDSL
Simply FiOS 50/50$29.99/mo.50 MbpsFiber
Simply FiOS 500/500$39.99/mo.500 MbpsFiber
Simply FiOS Gig Service$74.99/mo.1,000 MbpsFiber
PackageFrontier Internet
Price$27.99/mo.
Speed6 Mbps
Internet typeDSL
PackageFrontier Preferred Internet
Price$34.99/mo.
Speed25 Mbps
Internet typeDSL
PackageFrontier Premium Internet
Price$44.99/mo.
Speed45 Mbps
Internet typeDSL
PackageSimply FiOS 50/50
Price$29.99/mo.
Speed50 Mbps
Internet typeFiber
PackageSimply FiOS 500/500
Price$39.99/mo.
Speed500 Mbps
Internet typeFiber
PackageSimply FiOS Gig Service
Price$74.99/mo.
Speed1,000 Mbps
Internet typeFiber

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?

Internet speeds

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.

Internet types

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.

Internet fees

CenturyLink fees

FeesAmount
Installation$99
TaxesVaries
Equipment$10*

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.

Frontier fees

FeesAmount
Installation$75
TaxesVaries
Equipment$10

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.

Internet contracts

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

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.

Buying

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

Installation fee: $99

Installation type: Pro and self-install

Installation customer satisfaction rating:

(3.96/5)

 

Schedule an installation

Frontier

Installation fee: $75

Installation type: Pro and self-install

Installation customer satisfaction rating:

(3.77/5)

 

Schedule an installation

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.

Customer satisfaction

CenturyLink

Overall customer satisfaction rating:

(3.79/5)

Frontier

Overall customer satisfaction rating:

(3.77/5)

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 top 5 states:

  1. Nevada
  2. Arizona
  3. Minnesota
  4. Colorado
  5. Washington

Frontier top 5 states:

  1. Connecticut
  2. West Virginia
  3. Oregon
  4. Washington
  5. California

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.

Check your ZIP code and get connected:

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Price for Life guarantee
  • Consistent pricing across plans
  • Wide geographic availability

Cons

  • Limited plans
  • Higher prices at lower speeds
  • Limited fiber availability

Pros

  • Wide range of plans and options
  • Several fiber service choices
  • Lower prices per megabit

Cons

  • Mandatory equipment rental fees
  • Poor customer service
  • Limited availability

Our verdict

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 -

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.

Related Posts

Share This