Frontier Internet Review 2021
|Plan||Price||Download speed||Data cap||Details|
|Frontier Preferred Internet||$34.99||25 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|Simply FiOS 500/500||$39.99||500 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
|Simply FiOS Gig Service||$74.99||1000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
- No service disconnects for residential or small business customers
- Waived late fees
- Public Wi-Fi hotspots for anyone in the US
Frontier has some good things going for it—namely, no data caps and a fiber-optic network.
Between Frontier’s FiberOptic internet service and its DSL service, we think FiberOptic is the better deal. But we know not everyone has access to fiber internet. That said, Frontier’s DSL internet isn’t a bad deal, though we wish it offered faster speeds than a max of 45 Mbps.
So should you get Frontier internet? Let’s dig into the details and find out if Frontier’s prices, internet speeds, and data caps make the cut.
- Great prices for fiber internet plans
- DSL internet options for rural areas
- Unlimited data for all internet plans
- Random and confusing service fees
- Fiber plans require a contract
- DSL speeds max out at 45 Mbps
Frontier internet prices and plans
Prices for Frontier’s FiberOptic plans are limbo low, but you may find better deals when it comes to its DSL plans.
If you ‘re lucky enough to live where that Frontier’s FiberOptic internet is available, then we recommend getting it.
Fiber internet like this is faster and most often more reliable than cable or DSL internet. And Frontier’s fiber internet comes at some of the lowest prices for the speeds you get.
|Plan||Price||Download speed||Data cap||Details|
|Simply FiOS 50/50||$29.99*||50 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|Simply FiOS 500/500||$39.99†||500 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
|Simply FiOS Gig Service||$74.99‡||1000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
The fastest Frontier fiber plan with 1,000 Mbps speeds rings in at about $75 a month. That’s one of the best prices we’ve seen for gig speeds when compared to other internet providers. And if you want the fastest internet possible, then those 1 Gbps speeds will certainly do the trick.
We’ll help you figure out which speed is right for you in our guide to download speeds.
That said, you may not need gigabit internet speeds if you’re a smaller family who just streams an HD movie or two on the weekend. And the prices for Frontier’s 50 Mbps and 500 Mbps plans are even better than the price for its gigabit plan. So, we’d say you’re looking at a win-win if you go for either of these plans.
But if you don’t live in an area where Frontier FiberOptic is available, you’re not out of luck. Frontier also has DSL options that come at fairly low prices—but its DSL speeds max out at 45 Mbps.
|Plan||Price||Download speed||Data cap||Details|
|Frontier Internet||$27.99^||6 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|Frontier Preferred Internet||$34.99^||25 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|Frontier Premium Internet||$44.99^||45 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
Still, Frontier DSL isn’t a horrible choice. For less than $50 a month, you get 45 Mbps download speeds and unlimited data. That’s not a bad price compared to other DSL internet providers—most of which won’t give you unlimited data on top of a good price.
But we wouldn’t recommend download speeds that slow for anyone doing some serious online activities, like working from home, gaming, or streaming a lot of YouTube videos. And if you’ve got more than two people using the internet in your home, you’ll likely need more speed.
That said, we know that Frontier DSL internet might be one of your only—if not the only—choice in your area. Still, we recommend checking out these other rural internet options to see if you have any alternatives.
Where can you get Frontier internet?
Frontier internet is available across most of the US, but you’ll mainly find it in West Virginia, Connecticut, and Illinois.
Frontier internet speed
Frontier maintains fast internet speeds, earning 12th place out of 38 ISPs we analyzed.
Frontier’s FiberOptic internet service comes in 50, 500, and 1,000 Mbps download speeds, which pretty much suits any need you could have. The 50 Mbps plan is perfect for two to three people who mostly scrolls through Pinterest looking for dream home inspiration—and maybe streams some home renovation shows on the weekends. (Who, us?)
The 500 Mbps plan offers great speeds for medium- to large-sized families—or homes full of roommates. These download speeds should support more than a few people streaming, gaming, and working from home all at the same time. (Especially since it’s a fiber connection, which gives you reliably fast upload speeds too.)
|Plan||Download speed||Upload speed|
|Simply FiOS 50/50||50 Mbps||50 Mbps|
|Simply FiOS 500/500||500 Mbps||500 Mbps|
|Simply FiOS Gig Service||1000 Mbps||1000 Mbps|
And if you mostly use the internet for your home business, freelancing, or streaming on YouTube, you might want to consider the Gig Service plan. With 1,000 Mbps download speeds, you won’t have to worry that your hour-long Zoom meeting will put a damper on your kiddos’ Disney+ time.
With 50 to 1,000 Mbps upload speeds, Frontier’s FiberOptic internet plan upload speeds should keep things running smoothly no matter what you’re uploading. That’s the magic of fiber internet.
But its DSL internet plans may struggle to get your newest YouTube video or photo gallery uploaded in a timely manner. Frontier doesn’t list upload speeds for these plans, but we’d imagine they’re 10 Mbps or lower.
On the other end of the Frontier speed spectrum is its DSL plans. Although its fastest plan almost reaches the same speeds as its slowest FiberOptic plan (45 Mbps versus 50 Mbps, respectively), DSL tends to be less reliable in terms of speed performance. That’s mainly because it’s an older technology.
We wouldn’t recommend grabbing anything slower than Frontier’s 25 Mbps plan.
Even 25 Mbps is pretty slow—especially if you have more than one person or multiple devices using your internet at the same time. That’s because the more people or devices that use your internet, the more speed you need to keep everyone’s internet connection running smoothly.
|Frontier Internet||6 Mbps|
|Frontier Preferred Internet||25 Mbps|
|Frontier Premium Internet||45 Mbps|
How fast is Fronter internet?
But how does Frontier’s internet speed stack up? Not too bad, actually.
In our latest analysis of the fastest internet providers in the US, Frontier ranked 12th out of 38 ISPs. That puts it ahead of other well-known internet providers like Spectrum, AT&T, and Cox.
|Provider||Reviews.org weighted score|
|Frontier||36 out of 100|
One thing to note is that this weighted score isn’t representative of any download speeds you’ll get from Frontier. Instead, it’s a combination of the average download and upload speeds, plus latency, that Frontier internet users saw in more than 1 million speed tests taken between January and December 2019.
That said, Frontier’s score is a lot lower than we expected. Other fiber internet providers scored much higher: Google Fiber topped our list with 75.6 out of 100, and Verizon Fios Home Internet was a close second with 65.1 out of 100.
Frontier’s low score is likely due to its slow DSL internet service. So we can hazard a guess that Frontier FiberOptic internet speeds will be good, but its DSL speeds will be lackluster.
Frontier internet data caps
A big selling point for Frontier is that it doesn’t put any data caps on its plans. That’s right: zero caps—even on its DSL plans.
Frontier doesn’t even do that sneaky thing some internet providers do where their data is “technically” unlimited, but there are actually soft data caps—after which your speed slows down to a slow crawl. (We’re looking at you, satellite internet providers.)
Unlimited data is especially important in today’s day and age as most of us continue to work, study, and play at home. If you’re like us, you’ve found that your data usage spiked in 2020. So not paying for extra data is definitely a blessing.
Frontier contracts, equipment, and fees
Frontier service comes with a bunch of extra fees, including an equipment rental fee you can’t avoid paying.
It used to be the case that Frontier was a unicorn among other ISPs thanks to its no-contract policy. You see, most ISPs require a one- or two-year contract for internet service. And now, unfortunately, you’ll need to sign a contract with Frontier to get its FiberOptic internet.
If you grab one of Frontier’s DSL plans instead, you won’t sign on the dotted line. (Well, you’ll likely sign something, but it won’t be a contract.) Its DSL plans are still contract-free, which means you can cancel anytime without paying those hefty early termination fees.
The Frontier FiOS Gateway Router is an Arris NVG468MQ wireless gateway. That means it can be used as a modem and a router, and comes with Wi-Fi already set up.
The FiOS Gateway Router costs $10 a month to rent, but the kicker here is that Frontier will still charge you that equipment rental fee even if you don’t use your Gateway Router.4
We think this is incredibly shady. We much prefer ISPs give us a choice to use their equipment or buy our own—and not have to continue paying for equipment we don’t use.
Frontier service fees
Just like any other internet provider, Frontier’s service comes stacked with a few fees.
You may be able to avoid some of them, like installation fees, if you find a Frontier internet deal. But otherwise, here’s what you can expect to pay in terms of Frontier fees:
- Professional installation fee: $75 one-time fee
- Self-installation fee: None, but there is a $9.99 one-time fee for shipping and handling3
- Activation fee: $85 one-time fee
- Internet infrastructure surcharge: $3.99 a month, Frontier says this fee helps cover local network maintenance costs.2
- Equipment rental fee: $10 a month
- Broadband processing fee: $10 one-time fee when your service is disconnected
Yeah, there are more than a few little weird fees Frontier throws in here. If you see something on your bill that you don’t think is right, we recommend contacting Frontier right away to contest it—or at least get an explanation.
Frontier customer service
According to the scores, Frontier has the worst customer service out of all internet providers.
No ISP gets amazing marks for customer service, but even among the bad, Frontier is dead last. The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) gives Frontier’s customer service a gutter-low score of 555, which ranks it below 10 other ISPs—and an eleventh catch-all category of “All Others.”
|Provider||ACSI 2019 score|
|Frontier||55 out of 100|
Like with most ISPs, we recommend using online chat instead of phone calls. But watch out—Frontier’s live chat feature can be a little unreliable. It’s not available 24/7 and it can have some long wait times that make you wish you’d just called.
So if you don’t hear back on chat, schedule a call back or pick up the telephone and give Frontier a call.
Our recommended Frontier internet plan
Best for most families: FiberOptic 500/500
Who it’s best for: Families that use a lot of data for videos, gaming, and uploading—or all three.
Why we picked it: This plan gives you a killer combo of high speeds for a low price. Its fast fiber connection will keep your family happy—and your bank account too. Just make sure it’s available in your area.
Recap: is Frontier internet good?
We think Frontier’s FiberOptic internet service is the better deal, but we like that it also offers DSL service to country-dwelling folks out there. Frontier also lets its customers live the unlimited data dream—even if they have its DSL internet.
But on the other hand, Frontier internet comes with more than a few caveats that leave us not quite convinced it’s a stellar deal. This includes its not-so-great internet speed scores, migraine-inducing customer service, and confusing service fees that leave us scratching our heads.
- Catherine McNally, Reviews.org, “Fastest Internet Providers,” August 2020. Accessed August 13, 2020.
- Frontier, “One-Time Charges and Credits,” 2020. Accessed December 7, 2020.
- Frontier, “Taxes and Surcharges,” 2020. Accessed December 7, 2020.
- Frontier, “Routers and Modems for Your Frontier Services,” 2020. Accessed December 7, 2020.
- American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), “ACSI Telecommunications Report 2019–2020,” June 2020. Accessed December 7, 2020.