Xfinity vs. Frontier
Type of Service
$24.99-$299.95 per month
Starts at $11.00 per month
Starts at $60.00
Type of Service
DSL (High Speed Internet), Fiber (FiOS)
50-150 Mbps (Fiber), 1-24 Mbps (DSL)
$30.00-$40.00 per month (Fiber), $20.00-$35.00 per month (DSL)
Starts at $9.99 per month
Starts at $75.00 ($0 if you bundle)
3.60/5 (DSL), 5/5 (Fiber)
*Pricing and speeds are subject to change but are current as of 01/20/18. Internet and television offers not available in all coverage areas.
Should I Choose Xfinity from Comcast or Frontier as my Internet and TV Service Provider?
Choose Xfinity for consistently fast speeds and wide availability.
Xfinity’s two biggest selling points are speed and availability. The service is seemingly everywhere, and even rural areas often have access to respectable speed. If you need the fastest internet speeds around, this is the provider for you. Be prepared to pay for it, though: Xfinity tends to be a little more expensive than competitors.
Choose Frontier for affordable bundles and fast fiber upload speeds.
Frontier offers solid service at an excellent price. It’s almost as widespread as Xfinity, and the FiOS fiber service brings symmetrical upload and download speeds that are perfect for content sharing. Unfortunately, FiOS is only available in select markets, so most customers are stuck with the slower DSL service. If you can get FiOS, it’s definitely worth a look, though.
Compare Xfinity and Frontier plans and pricing in your area:
Xfinity is one of the largest cable service providers in the US, with service available in forty states. Over 160 million people have access to Xfinity services. The coverage areas are pretty evenly spread across the country, and just a few Midwest states have no Xfinity access at all. Follow the link below for the full-coverage map.
Frontier is also a large provider. Over forty million people across twenty-nine states have access to the service. The majority of the coverage area is DSL, but the FiOS service is spreading, with availability in seven states. Frontier’s spread is similar to Xfinity’s, and the missing states are primarily in the Midwest. FiOS is mainly available in major metropolitan areas like Baltimore, Tampa, and Los Angeles. Check out the coverage maps below for more details.
- District of Columbia
- West Virginia
Customer Satisfaction Ratings
Every year, HighSpeedInternet.com surveys internet subscribers to learn about their experiences. The survey includes questions about internet speed and quality, customer service and support, and billing practices. What customers said about Xfinity and Frontier follows below.
Here’s a note on Frontier DSL and Frontier FiOS customer satisfaction.
We changed our methodology a bit in this year’s survey, and it had some unexpected consequences for Frontier’s scoring. In past surveys, we included Frontier DSL and FiOS services as separate providers on the survey, but this year, we combined the two under the “Frontier” label.
The unintended result of that merger is that Frontier’s DSL ratings have brought down the overall Frontier score. Frontier FiOS customers have traditionally been much more satisfied with the service than Frontier DSL customers.
Just be aware that for Frontier FiOS, the scores for each individual category (and especially speed) will be higher than what we’re showing here.
Installation & Setup
Xfinity offers both professional setup and self-install kits. Professional installation is better if you need to have outlets installed—otherwise, the DIY process is so easy that we would recommend it to almost everyone. The kits come with clear instructions, but the process for an internet-only self-install is basically just plugging the modem in and activating your service. If you’re uncomfortable doing it yourself, the professional install is hassle-free, but it’ll cost you at least $60 (depending on the equipment you ordered).
Learn how to self-install Xfinity internet.
Frontier also offers both professional and self-install options. The professional install is a little more expensive, $75, but the cost may be worth it if you don’t feel comfortable setting things up yourself. And if you bundle with other Frontier services. Frontier will waive the $75 fee altogether. Like with Xfinity, the process is fairly simple, and the instructions are clear and detailed. See our guide below if you need a more detailed walkthrough.
Learn how to self-install your Frontier modem or router.
Xfinity is one of the highest-rated providers in our survey—customers are generally very satisfied with the provider’s speed. And so are we. We rated Xfinity the fastest internet provider of 2018 for that sweet 2-gig (2,000 Mbps) package. Unfortunately, the service area for those ultra-fast fiber lines is still pretty small, so not many customers have gotten to experience it yet.
Speed: 10–2,000 Mbps
Frontier is a little more complicated, at least when it comes to speed. That’s because the provider actually uses two different technologies in its network—fiber optics and DSL. The DSL service is more widely available, but the speeds are lacking compared to most cable and fiber connections.
The FiOS fiber service, on the other hand, is very fast, and it offers symmetrical upload and download speeds, which makes uploading files and media much more pleasant. In fact, FiOS customers give Frontier a 4.06 for speed, compared to the overall 3.74 when DSL is included in the mix.
Speed: 50–150 Mbps (Fiber), 1–24 Mbps (DSL)
Xfinity also ranks near the top for reliability. The company’s cable network is large and robust, and it holds up fairly well even under heavy usage. Overall, we’d place cable right in between DSL and fiber for reliability, so how it compares to Frontier depends on which type of service you go with.
Again, this is a little tricky for Frontier. The DSL service is about as reliable as DSL can be (which is to say, not great). DSL doesn’t offer a lot of bandwidth, especially if you’re used to cable. The fiber-optic FiOS service is much better. This service is built on one of the most reliable networks in the country, and it handles heavy traffic with ease.
Pricing with Xfinity ranges from so-so to really expensive, depending on which package you want. The company offers some affordable budget packages, and you can save about $10.00 per month by signing a two-year contract. Where things get pricey is if you want that 2-gig service. At $299.95 per month, all that speed will cost you.
Price: $24.99–$299.95 per month
Frontier’s prices are great. The DSL services are a bit cheaper than FiOS, starting at $20.00 per month, but even a fiber connection is affordable. In fact, you can get the Simply FiOS 150/150 plan for $40.00 per month, compared to about $60.00 per month with Xfinity.
Price: $30.00–$40.00 per month (Fiber), $20.00–$35.00 per month (DSL)
Technical Support & Customer Service
Xfinity is a Comcast company, and Comcast isn’t exactly known for outstanding customer service. That said, most people will experience few problems. If you’re truly concerned about the service, stick to the support site and online chat to minimize irritations. Xfinity also lets you request to have an agent call you, rather than sitting on the phone waiting for one to become available.
Frontier ranks a bit lower than Xfinity but offers a clean support site and plenty of online documentation to help customers diagnose problems on their own. We found the search function especially useful. If you do need to call, Frontier also offers the option to have a representative call you back.
Advantages & Disadvantages
Most ISPs provide services besides internet. Comcast and Frontier are no exceptions. The two ISPs also offer telephone and television subscriptions that can be bundled with their popular internet service.
Xfinity isn’t just an internet service provider—the company offers TV and phone service, too. TV-only packages start at $49.99 per month for 140+ channels. The Digital Preferred package is our favorite, since it has a good balance of channels and price. Digital Preferred packages start at about $59.99 per month and get you 220+ channels.
Bundling your services offers several advantages: not only do you normally get a lower price, you also get streamlined billing and support. Xfinity offers Double Play bundles of TV + Internet or Internet + Phone, as well as Triple Play bundles with all three services. For a TV + Internet Double Play, we recommend the Preferred XF Double Play, with 220+ channels and 100 Mbps internet starting at $89.99 per month.
Frontier offers two choices for TV service: its own FiOS TV service and DISH satellite TV. Why two services? As mentioned above, FiOS service is only available in a fairly small number of markets. Partnering with DISH lets Frontier offer TV service to DSL customers in areas where FiOS isn’t available. FiOS TV package prices start at $65.00 per month.
With FiOS TV and Internet bundles, you get excellent value for your money. You can get a FiOS 75/75 + FiOS TV Prime HD package with 315+ channels and 75 Mbps internet for $75.00 per month—that’s a great price. And you can add phone service to it for another five dollars if you need it. If FiOS is available where you live, that’s the route we recommend.
If you’d rather bundle with DISH (or if that’s all that’s available to you), the prices are higher. $110.00 per month gets you Broadband Max + DISH America’s Top 250™. That’s 290+ channels of DISH TV and 6 Mbps internet. That’s not bad if you’re in an area where only DSL is available, but it isn’t nearly the same bargain as the FiOS service. And be aware that bundling with DISH will require you to sign a two-year contract.
Xfinity and Frontier provide modems and routers for a monthly fee. If you want to avoid the fee or increase the speed of your wireless network, you should look into buying your own. The information listed below will help you find an affordable, quality product.
Xfinity, like most ISPs, recommends that you use its provided modem/router combo. Generally, these work pretty well, but some households have different needs—if your home is especially large or has a lot of devices online at once, you might want to purchase an upgrade. Xfinity provides a list of compatible routers—just enter your zip code and internet speed to see what works with your service.
Our router recommendation for Xfinity: NETGEAR Nighthawk X10.
If you need more power than the standard Xfinity router can provide, look no further than the Nighthawk X10. This is one of the fastest routers you can buy right now, with supported speeds up to 7.2 Gbps. It’s expensive, but if you need power, you need this router.
Frontier provides one of several modems and routers for its DSL service. Which one you get mostly depends on where you live. If these don’t suit your needs, you can replace them with your own modem and router from one of the compatible brands listed on that page. The FiOS service is a little different—you’ll need to use the modem provided by Frontier to get access to the fiber network. You can still use your own wireless router, though, if you need features not offered by Frontier’s provided equipment.
Our router recommendation for Frontier: TP-Link AC1750
This wireless router from TP-Link supports up to 1.75 Gbps total bandwidth, making it perfect for all but the heaviest-use cases. It has four Gigabit Ethernet ports for attaching devices directly. The best feature is the price, though: it can usually be had for just $79.00.
What You Should Consider When Comparing Xfinity and Frontier
The main thing to look at when comparing Xfinity and Frontier is the type of network in your area. Xfinity uses the same cable infrastructure throughout its entire service area. So, while speeds do vary from one town to the next, they are generally pretty consistent.
Frontier, on the other hand, provides both fiber and DSL services—and in terms of speed, those couldn’t be more different. FiOS speeds can reach 150 Mbps, and the upload speeds are just as fast, which is something you won’t get with Xfinity. The DSL service is . . . well, it’s slow. Even the fastest DSL connection just can’t compete with cable or fiber.
The takeaway? If Frontier only offers DSL in your area, Xfinity is almost always going to be the better buy. If FiOS is available, then you can start comparing.
About the Providers
Xfinity is the consumer-facing brand used by Comcast, a global telecommunications giant based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Under the Xfinity name, Comcast provides internet, television, and phone service to millions of subscribers across forty states.
Frontier Communications serves nearly thirty states, bringing DSL high-speed internet, television, and telephone to millions of consumers. Frontier also offers fiber-based internet—FiOS from Frontier—but the service is only available in a few select markets.
With the information provided here, you should be ready to decide on an ISP. See if Xfinity or Frontier offers internet and television in your area by using the zip code tool below.
Dave is a freelance writer with a passion for tech and how it improves our lives. His work has been published on a variety of sites around the web.