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Spectrum vs. Frontier: Which Internet Provider Is Best for You?

  • Best for availability
    • Price: $24.99–$79.99/mo.
    • Customer rating: 3.7
    • Max speed: 50–1,000Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)
    • Internet type: Cable, fiber
    • Data cap: No cap
    • Contract: No contract
  • Best for speed
    • Price: $44.99–$129.99/mo.
    • Customer rating: 3.5
    • Max fiber speed: 500–5,000Mbps
    • Internet type: DSL, fiber
    • Data cap: No cap
    • Contract: Optional 1-year agreement with Visa Reward Card

Compare Spectrum and Frontier head to head

Spectrum primarily provides cable internet, and Frontier primarily offers DSL internet. Of the two, Spectrum’s cable is your faster, more reliable connection, but it’s less available than DSL in rural areas.

Spectrum and Frontier both have fiber-to-the-home internet, but you’re less likely to find Spectrum’s fiber. Plus, Frontier has some of the fastest download speeds in the nation and doesn’t raise your rates after 12 months as Spectrum does.


  • Wide cable availability
  • No modem rental fee


  • Extra charge for WiFi
  • Post-promo price hikes


  • No data caps
  • Multi-gig fiber speeds


  • Limited fiber availability
  • Promo rewards require an agreement

Is Spectrum or Frontier available in your area?

Enter your zip code below to see what services and plans are available to you.

Plans and pricing: Spectrum vs. Frontier

Spectrum and Frontier have a simplified lineup, but Frontier is your better dollar-per-megabit deal. The drawback is Frontier’s fiber is hard to get, while Spectrum’s cable internet is widely available.

Spectrum plans and pricing

Spectrum Internet® Assist$24.99/mo.*Up to 50Mbps
(wireless speeds may vary)
CableView Plans
Spectrum Internet® 100$29.99/mo.*Up to 100Mbps
(wireless speeds may vary)
CableView Plans
Spectrum Internet®$39.99–$49.99/mo.
for 12 mos.
Up to 300Mbps
(wireless speeds may vary)
Cable, fiberView Plans
Spectrum Internet® Ultra$49.99-$69.99/mo.
for 24 mos.
Up to 500Mbps
(wireless speeds may vary)
Cable, fiberView Plans
Spectrum Internet® Gig$59.99-$79.99/mo.
for 24 mos.
Up to 1,000Mbps
(wireless speeds may vary)
Cable, fiberView Plans

When we compare Spectrum’s base cable internet plan with Frontier’s DSL, Spectrum gives you more speed at the same price. But here’s the catch: you can get Frontier’s DSL service in areas where Spectrum’s cable internet doesn’t reach. In some areas, Frontier may be your only option of the two.

Meanwhile, Spectrum’s 500Mbps and 1,000Mbps plans compete with Frontier’s Fiber 500 and Fiber 1 Gig plans. Frontier’s fiber internet is still relatively scarce, so Spectrum may be your only high-speed option until Frontier brings fiber internet to your area.

Of the two, Spectrum is the more expensive provider for the long term. Frontier doesn’t have discounted pricing, so the 500Mbps plan costs $44.99 per month for at least three years. Spectrum’s 500Mbps plan increases to $94.99 after 12 months, making Frontier’s fiber internet a better bargain.

Frontier plans and pricing

Frontier Internet$64.99/mo.*Call for detailsDSLView Plans
Frontier Fiber 500$44.99/mo.Up to 500MbpsFiberView Plans
Frontier Fiber 1 Gig $69.99/mo.Up to 1,000MbpsFiberView Plans
Frontier Fiber 2 Gig$99.99/mo.§Up to 2,000MbpsFiberView Plans
Frontier Fiber 5 Gig$129.99/mo.#Up to 5,000MbpsFiberView Plans

Frontier has more DSL than fiber. In rural areas, it may be your only landline option if Spectrum’s cable internet doesn’t reach you.

For now, Frontier’s fiber is limited in availability, but you can find it in metropolitan areas like Tampa and Dallas. The Fiber 1 Gig plan matches Spectrum’s Internet Gig service in download speed, but it’s $30 cheaper during Spectrum’s promotional period and $45 cheaper after a year. Even Frontier’s Fiber 500 plan is more affordable than Spectrum’s Ultra plan.

Of the two providers, Frontier has the fastest plan with its Fiber 5 Gig service, giving you speeds of up to 5,000Mbps both ways. Spectrum’s maximum speed is 1,000Mbps both ways if you have access to its fiber internet.

HSI badge deals

Deals and promotions: Spectrum vs. Frontier

Sign up for Spectrum One and get Spectrum internet with speeds up to 300Mbps, free Advanced Wifi, and one Unlimited Mobile line free for 12 months.
Get the Deal



Order a qualifying Frontier fiber internet plan to get free rental of the Amazon eero Pro 6 or 6E router. Plus, save $10 per month on your first year of YouTube TV.

Get a $200 Visa Reward Gift Card when you sign up for the Fiber 2 Gig plan.
Get the Deal


Extra fees: Spectrum vs. Frontier

Equipment FeeInstallation FeeOther Fees
  • $7.00/mo. for WiFi (no charge with Internet Gig plan)
  • $3.00/mo. per Spectrum WiFi Pod
  • No charge for modem or gateway
  • $59.99 for pro install
  • $24.99 for self-install and service activation
  • $49.99 for WiFi Pod install
  • $9.99 service activation fee
  • $8.95 late payment fee (after 21 days)
  • $25.00 insufficient funds fee
  • $5.00 phone payment processing fee
  • $9.99 reconnection fee (internet)
  • $4.99 reconnection fee (TV)
  • $19.99 equipment upgrade fee to Internet Gig plan
  • Frontier
  • No charge for DSL modem or gateway
  • Free fiber expert installation, $100 DSL expert installation
  • $85.00 DSL activation
  • $50.00 restocking fee
  • $10.00/mo. no AutoPay fee for DSL
  • $10.00/mo. no AutoPay fee for fiber
  • $2.99/mo. Paper bill fee
  • Other than the WiFi charge, Spectrum doesn’t tack on a lot of extra fees. Even if you cancel your service before the 12- or 24-month promotional pricing period ends, Spectrum won’t penalize you with an early termination fee.

    Frontier charges $85 to activate DSL service and $50 for fiber plans. There’s no equipment fee—Frontier raised the prices to cover the cost. Frontier added a paper bill fee in April 2022 to encourage customers to go paperless.

    Customer ratings: Spectrum vs. Frontier

    OverallReliabilityCustomer ServiceSpeedPrice

    Spectrum takes the seventh spot for overall satisfaction out of 15 internet providers in our latest customer satisfaction survey. Its best ranking is in speed satisfaction, with a score slightly above the national average (3.8) when it comes to meeting the advertised speeds. Its weakest link is price satisfaction, which is understandable given prices go up around $25 after a year. Still, Spectrum has some of the cheapest post-promo prices you’ll find for cable (and fiber) internet service.

    Frontier ranks in the bottom half in four out of five categories. Although you can’t tell by the number, its best ranking is in price satisfaction, placing it seventh out of 15 and just above Spectrum. The score isn’t too surprising, as Frontier doesn’t raise prices after 12 months as Spectrum does. In fact, it ranks up there with AT&T, Verizon, and Xfinity, who also don’t raise prices after a specific “promo” period.

    Want to find the best-rated internet providers in your area?

    Enter your zip code below to find out what internet services and speeds are available to you.

    Best TV and internet bundles

    PackageInternet speedTV channelsPriceDetails
    Spectrum Internet + TV Signature##Up to 300Mbps
    (wireless speeds may vary)
    for 12 mos.
    View Bundles
    Spectrum Internet Ultra + TV Signature##Up to 500Mbps
    (wireless speeds may vary)
    for 12 mos.
    View Bundles
    Frontier 500 + YouTube TV#Up to 500Mbps‡100+$112.98/mo.View Bundles
    Frontier 1 Gig + YouTube TV#Up to 1,000Mbps‡100+$132.98/mo.View Bundles

    Frontier partnered with YouTube TV to provide TV bundles. Customers get a $10 monthly discount for an entire year when they sign up for a qualifying internet plan.

    Spectrum doesn’t have discounted bundles. Instead, you can pair its TV Select service with one of its three cable internet plans. Both services have a discount for the first 12 months, but all premium channels are extra. You’ll also see a broadcasting surcharge of up to $20 per month.

    Internet types: Spectrum vs. Frontier

    Internet typeDetails
    Spectrum Cable, fiberView Plans
    Frontier DSL, fiberView Plans

    Spectrum’s network is a hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) system, which means it’s mostly fiber until the “last mile,” where Spectrum uses existing coaxial cables to deliver residential internet. Spectrum also has fiber-to-the-home internet, but it’s far less available than its cable internet.

    Frontier’s primary service is digital subscriber line (DSL) internet. It uses telephone wires that are usually installed in homes and apartments. It’s generally your only landline option in rural areas.

    Frontier’s ace up the sleeve is its fiber internet service. While limited in availability, fiber has equal upload and download speeds. In contrast, cable internet has fast download speeds but extremely slow uploads.

    Data caps: Spectrum vs. Frontier

    Data CapDetails
    Spectrum No capView Plans
    Frontier No capView Plans

    With Spectrum and Frontier, you won’t see data caps like other internet providers. You get unlimited data, which translates to no monthly overage fees and no monthly charges for unrestricted access. They also don’t intentionally throttle your connection, no matter how much you download—the data spigot remains wide open every month.

    Contracts: Spectrum vs. Frontier

    Contract lengthDetails
  • No contract
  • View Plans
  • No contract
  • 1-year agreement with Visa Reward Card
  • View Plans

    Spectrum doesn’t enforce a contract. Instead, it offers a discount for the first 12 months. But even though prices go up after that, customers can cancel internet service after one month without penalty.

    Frontier also doesn’t enforce contracts. However, you must sign a one-year agreement if you accept the Visa Reward Card offered with a new Fiber 500 or Fiber 1 Gig plan. A two-year contract only comes into play when you get satellite TV.

    Installation: Spectrum vs. Frontier

    Installation optionsDetails
  • $59.99 for pro install
  • $24.99 for self-install and service activation
  • $49.99 for WiFi Pod install
  • View Plans
  • Free fiber expert installation, $100 DSL expert installation
  • View Plans

    Spectrum charges $24.99 to self-install but doesn’t charge a monthly fee for the modem or gateway. Frontier doesn’t have a monthly equipment rental fee and Frontier also offers self-install for some fiber plans.

    For now, Spectrum encourages new customers to use the self-install kit if they’re already wired for cable TV. The pro install option is still available for new installations, rewiring, moving the router, and similar scenarios.

    Availability: Spectrum vs. Frontier

    Most of Spectrum’s market resides in North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, New York, and Maine. There are scattered chunks of coverage in California, Texas, Florida, and several other states. Overall, Spectrum commands a decent market in the Eastern and Central time zones.

    Frontier’s primary target is in rural areas. Its DSL service is available in 25 states, mainly in the Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest. Its Frontier Fiber Internet is limited to portions of California, Florida, Indiana, and Texas. Frontier expects to expand its fiber-to-the-premises service in California by 350,000 locations over the next six years.

    Want to find out if Spectrum or Frontier are available where you live?

    Enter your zip code below to see if Frontier or Spectrum provides internet services near you.

    Final call: Spectrum vs. Frontier

    Spectrum and Frontier both have fiber internet, but you’ll probably have better luck finding Frontier’s fiber. It mostly competes with Spectrum’s cable internet, which costs more in the long run and doesn’t have the symmetrical speeds of fiber. Even more, Spectrum simply can’t compete with Frontier’s superfast 2Gbps and 5Gbps download speeds. If tons of speed is what you need, go with Frontier’s fiber.

    But here’s the caveat: Spectrum fares far better in our latest customer satisfaction survey than Frontier in four out of five categories. Spectrum’s biggest drawback is its post-promotional pricing, and that’s made clear by its customers in our survey. Spectrum raises its rates after 12 months, whereas Frontier does not.

    It’s something to consider if you find Frontier and Spectrum in your area and you’re not sure which to choose. We say go with Spectrum’s cable or fiber internet, as 2Gbps and 5Gbps internet speeds are overkill for the average home.

    View Spectrum Plans

    View Frontier Plans


    Our editorial team bases our analyses on customer input from our annual customer satisfaction survey, results from our speed test tool, and proprietary internet provider data on speeds and pricing. To strengthen our research, we look closely at provider contracts to get hard-to-find information on price hikes, data caps, and extra fees, and we keep tabs on the latest news reports and online reviews. When applicable, we also rely on our personal experiences testing these services.

    Author -

    Kevin Parrish has more than a decade of experience working as a writer, editor, and product tester. He began writing about computer hardware and soon branched out to other devices and services such as networking equipment, phones and tablets, game consoles, and other internet-connected devices. His work has appeared in Tom’s Hardware, Tom's Guide, Maximum PC, Digital Trends, Android Authority, How-To Geek, Lifewire, and others. At, he focuses on network equipment testing and review.

    Editor - Cara Haynes

    Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.

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