Frontier is more affordable, but customers love Spectrum. Which one is right for you?

Comparing Spectrum and Frontier

Frontier Communications

Type of Service

Cable

Type of Service

Fiber, DSL

Price

$44.99/mo. for 12 months

Price

$20.00/mo. for 24 months

Contract

None

Contract

Up to 2 years on some promotional offers.
No-contract option available.

Download Speeds

Up to 100 Mbps

Download Speeds

Up to 300 Mbps (500 Mbps in select areas)

Equipment Fees

Equipment Included

Equipment Fees

Varies by package. Included for 2 years for most new customers.

Installation Fee

Varies by package. Free with Triple Play bundle.

Installation Fee

Varies by package. Free with bundles.

Customer Satisfaction

3.84/5

Customer Satisfaction

3.6/5

Type of Service

Cable

Price

$44.99/mo. for 12 months

Contract

None

Download Speeds

Up to 100 Mbps

Equipment Fees

Equipment Included

Installation Fee

Varies by package. Free with Triple Play bundle.

Customer Satisfaction

3.84/5

Frontier Communications

Type of Service

Fiber, DSL

Price

$20.00/mo. for 24 months

Contract

Up to 2 years on some promotional offers.
No-contract option available.

Download Speeds

Up to 300 Mbps (500 Mbps in select areas)

Equipment Fees

Varies by package. Included for 2 years for most new customers.

Installation Fee

Varies by package. Free with bundles.

Customer Satisfaction

3.6/5

Data current as of 7/31/18. Pricing and speeds are subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas.

The Bottom Line

Choose Spectrum Internet if you want to be satisfied with your internet service. With Spectrum, you’ll enjoy plenty of speed and a great price. Plus, it scores high when it comes to customer satisfaction,  putting it a notch above Frontier.

If you need a faster internet connection, go with FiOS from Frontier. It might not be available in your area, but FiOS internet packages deliver incredibly fast download speeds that will keep your streaming programs loading smoothly—even in large households.

The tricky thing about internet is that you can get only what’s available in your area. Sometimes you’ll have to go with a different package than what you had in mind. For example, if FiOS from Frontier isn’t available in your area, you may still have access to Frontier DSL service. It won’t be as fast, but it is more affordable. Before you decide on a package, look at everything that’s available where you live. Find and compare Spectrum and Frontier plans in your area by entering your zip code below:

Packages & Pricing

The plans and pricing for Spectrum and Frontier couldn’t be more different. Spectrum offers just one package, while Frontier offers a variety of packages and two different types of internet.

If you want to keep things simple,  go with Spectrum. For more options that might suit your needs better than the Spectrum package, check out Frontier.

Spectrum Packages

Intro. PriceDownload SpeedType of Service
$44.99/mo.Up to 100 MbpsCable

Spectrum offers just one internet package, which makes things simple. Although the speeds and pricing on this package are right in line with industry averages, don’t let that fool you. This package still goes above and beyond. It delivers more than enough speed for streaming, gaming, or any other internet activity. Unless you have a large household (more than four people), you likely won’t need more than the 100 Mbps it offers.

Frontier Packages

PackageIntro. PriceDownload SpeedType of Service
Simply Broadband Lite$20.00/mo.*
Up to 1 MbpsDSL
Simply Broadband Core$20.00/mo.
Up to 6 MbpsDSL
Simply Broadband Ultra$25.00/mo.
Up to 12 MbpsDSL
Simply Broadband Plus$30.00/mo.
Up to 18 MbpsDSL
Simply Broadband Elite$35.00/mo.
Up to 24 MbpsDSL
Simply FiOS 30/30$34.99/mo.
Up to 30 MbpsFiber
Simply FiOS 50/50$30.00/mo.
Up to 50 MbpsFiber
Simply FiOS 75/75$40.00/mo.
Up to 75 MbpsFiber
Simply FiOS 100/100$40.00/mo.**
Up to 100 MbpsFiber

You may not be able to get all of these packages in your area, but with Frontier offering so many options, you can find one that more closely matches your specific needs. If you’re on a tight budget, Frontier is probably your best option because most of its packages are more affordable than the Spectrum internet package. However, you get what you pay for. The less expensive packages are not as fast as what Spectrum offers.

*for 24 months. Equip. fees, install, Internet Infrastructure Surcharge, other taxes & fees apply. Subj. to availability.
**per month for 24 mos. Equip., install, taxes & fees not included. Services are subject to all applicable Frontier terms and conditions.

Important Features

Spectrum keeps it simple, but Frontier has more options.

Usually the biggest factor separating Internet Service Providers (ISPs) is speed. While that comparison applies with Spectrum and Frontier, speed doesn’t tell the whole story. Pricing and availability also play a big role.

For example, both brands offer a top speed of 100 Mbps, but Frontier offers it only in select locations while Spectrum offers it standard as its only package option. On the flip side, Frontier offers several package options of varying speeds that will save you money if you don’t need 100 Mbps.

Additionally, FiOS packages from Frontier offer upload speeds as fast as their download speeds.

So if you do a lot of video conferencing, online gaming, or other internet activities that require more upload speed, you might want to check out Frontier’s FiOS packages.

Fiber optic cable

Frontier offers both DSL and fiber-optic internet, while Spectrum offers only cable internet.

Spectrum Internet uses coaxial cables to run cable service into your home. Cable internet generally has higher speeds than DSL but slower speeds than fiber. Many customers purchase TV services along with internet, which works particularly well with Spectrum. Spectrum Internet bundles easily with Spectrum Cable, and the two services work seamlessly together.

Frontier Communications provides both DSL and fiber internet. DSL is delivered using Digital Subscriber Lines, which operate along existing telephone networks. Despite some similarities to dial-up, DSL is much faster and operates on a different frequency so you can still make phone calls while online. Although DSL is fast enough for most users, it’s generally not quite as fast as cable.

FiOS from Frontier delivers your internet service through fiber-optic cables. It seems similar to cable internet on the outside, but it functions differently. Fiber-optic internet relays signals by flashing light in binary code through strands of glass. Fiber allows for faster data transmission, which means less waiting and smoother streaming. Although Frontier continues to expand its offerings of fiber internet, availability is still limited.

You can narrow your choices based on the availability of these different types of internet services in your area.

If you’re choosing between Spectrum and Frontier in an area where Frontier offers only DSL, go with Spectrum. If Frontier offers fiber-optic internet in your area, go with Frontier.

In areas where Frontier offers both types of service, you’ll need to figure out which package offers the best speed-to-price ratio for your circumstances. Then compare that package to the Spectrum package, and make your decision.

Spectrum and Frontier both offer internet plans with no data caps or equipment fees.

Spectrum allows unlimited data usage and includes a modem with the regular subscription price. Frontier also offers unlimited data and includes a Wi-Fi router with only some packages.

Equipment

Both Spectrum and Frontier offer modem/router combos with their internet services. The specific hardware and the associated fees will vary based on which service you order and where you live.

Fortunately, both these Internet Service Providers offer packages that include the equipment with the regular price of the package. So, unless you already have your own equipment or feel the need to upgrade for performance reasons, you won’t need to worry about equipment costs as long as you get the right package. Be sure to ask about what equipment is included before you order.

If you choose to purchase your own modem or router, these are our recommendations:

Spectrum

Frontier

Model

NETGEAR WNDR4300

Model

NETGEAR WNDR4300

Equipment Price

$56.10

Equipment Price

$54.00

Router Speed

750 Mbps

Router Speed

600 Mbps

Equipment Fees

Equipment Included

Equipment Fees

Varies by package. Included for 2 years for most new customers.

Ethernet Ports

4

Ethernet Ports

4

Antennas

0

Antennas

0

Router only, requires additional modem for online access

Modem function limited on some FiOS networks

View on AmazonView on Amazon

Spectrum

Model

NETGEAR WNDR4300

Equipment Price

$56.10

Router Speed

750 Mbps

Equipment Fees

Equipment Included

Ethernet Ports

4

Antennas

0

Router only, requires additional modem for online access

Frontier

Model

NETGEAR WNDR4300

Equipment Price

$54.00

Router Speed

600 Mbps

Equipment Fees

Varies by package. Included for 2 years for most new customers.

Ethernet Ports

4

Antennas

0

Modem function limited on some FiOS networks

Make sure the gear you choose is compatible with your ISP. Read more about choosing a router.

Despite the wide variation in actual hardware, the functionality of the internet equipment from both these ISPs is similar. They each have home Wi-Fi networking capabilities that should accommodate most homes.

Below is a list of recommended or approved equipment for Spectrum and Frontier internet service.

Spectrum

Modems

  • Technicolor TC4400
  • Cisco DPC3000
  • Cisco DPC3008
  • Cisco DPC3010
  • Motorola SB6120
  • Motorola SB6121
  • Motorola SB6141
  • Motorola Surfboard 5100/5101/5101N
  • Ubee U10C035

Routers

  • ARRIS RAC2V1A
  • Askey RAC2V1K
  • NETGEAR 6300
  • NETGEAR WNDR 3800/4300
  • SAGEMCOM F@st 5260
  • SAGEMCOM RAC2V1S

Modem/Router Combos

  • Cisco DPC2203
  • NETGEAR CG814WG
  • SMC 8014wg

Frontier

Modem/Router Combos

  • ARRIS NVG443B
  • NETGEAR D2200D
  • ARRIS NVG468MQ

Some equipment may not be available for new customers. Lists are not exhaustive.

Customer Experience

Knowing what to expect from your ISP is based on more than just download speeds and monthly prices. Things like installation, tech support, and reliability can all affect the value you receive as a customer.

Installation & Setup

Both Spectrum and Frontier offer free installation on bundled packages. On some stand-alone internet packages, you may have to pay for installation. If you select a plan that doesn’t include installation, the fees can be as high as $75.00 and could cost even more for larger households with more connections.

Technical Support and Customer Service

Spectrum and Frontier already took the first step toward good customer service by including equipment with the cost of their services, but they offer additional features that customers will also enjoy.

Spectrum and Frontier both offer no-contract plans.

No-contract plans not only maintain your flexibility, but they also help guarantee that your ISP continues to deliver top-quality service because if they don’t, you could change providers.

Frontier offers some packages with a 2-year price guarantee.

Guarantees like this save you money by keeping your price the same while some other internet packages increase in price after a short promotional period.

Spectrum and Frontier both offer 24/7 technical support.

Spectrum offers 100% US-based support, so if you like supporting businesses that keep things local, you’ll appreciate this ISP’s dedication to that. But, no matter which provider you choose, you’ll have someone to answer your questions, day or night.

For those who prefer to handle issues themselves, both Spectrum and Frontier have troubleshooting guides and how-to manuals available online.

Despite each of these brands offering similar tech support and customer service options, Spectrum received significantly higher scores in this category in our 2018 Best Internet Providers in Customer Satisfaction Survey. Frontier got a respectable 3.55 out of 5, but Spectrum earned a 3.99, coming second overall in this category.

Security and Reliability

Spectrum internet service includes security software to keep your network free of viruses. It also gives you parental controls to keep your family away from sensitive material online.

Frontier also has a security software suite, Frontier Secure®. It protects your online identity across all your devices and monitors your credit report for fraudulent activity. It even works when you access the internet away from home. You can add Frontier Secure to your plan for $14.99 per month.

Even with security protections, every internet service is vulnerable to occasional disruptions. The frequency and length of these disruptions will depend on how an ISP reacts to them. Usually the best information about how reliable an ISP is comes from its customers.

In our 2018 customer satisfaction survey, Spectrum customers rated it much better for reliability than Frontier customers did for their internet service. However, the natural traffic fluctuations every network experiences can cause slowing. That slowing will be more noticeable on slower packages, like the lower-tier Frontier packages. If a connection slows enough, it could easily be perceived as a service disruption rather than a high-traffic issue.

Coverage Area

Frontier Communications offers internet service in twenty-nine states. Spectrum offers it in thirty-five. The states with the most competition between these two providers are California, New York, Texas, Ohio, and South Carolina.

Top 5 States:

  • Hawaii
  • Ohio
  • Kentucky
  • North Carolina
  • New York

Top 5 States:

  • Connecticut
  • West Virginia
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • California

Enter your zip to see if Spectrum or Frontier are available in your area.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages

  • Fast speeds
  • High customer satisfaction
  • Simple installation and setup

Disadvantages

  • Only one internet package
  • No low-cost option
Frontier Communications

Advantages

  • Low-cost packages
  • Fast fiber packages in some areas
  • Multiple service types

Disadvantages

  • Lower customer satisfaction scores
  • Top speeds not widely available

Add TV to make it a bundle!

Both Spectrum and Frontier offer internet bundles with television or other home services. If you were planning to order a TV or home phone service plan, you can save some money and hassle by ordering a bundle.

You can bundle Spectrum internet with its own television and home phone services—bundle two services or all three. Because they’re all from Spectrum, you know they’ll work well together.

View Spectrum Bundles

Frontier offers multiple ways to bundle. You can bundle your Frontier internet with its home phone service. In areas where Frontier offers FiOS internet, you can bundle it with FiOS TV. In DSL areas, you can bundle Frontier internet with DISH television. Just like most things with Frontier, how much you could save all depends on what’s available where you live, but the convenience of bundling is a consistent bonus.

View Frontier Bundles

Our Verdict

Choose Spectrum if you want a reliable internet service with plenty of speed that pairs easily with TV service. Go with Frontier if you’re looking for a more affordable option, need a specific package type, or don’t need a lot of speed.