Frontier Internet Review 2020
|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|
Frontier has some good things going for it—namely, no data caps and a two-year price-lock guarantee.
Between Frontier’s FiOS fiber internet service and its DSL service, we think FiOS is the better deal. But we know not everyone has access to fiber internet—even if Frontier is known for extending its fiber-optic service in areas other fiber providers overlooked. 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 what’s the deal, should you get Frontier internet? Let’s dig in and find out if the price (and speeds) are right.
- 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 plan speeds max out at 45 Mbps
- Bad customer service ratings
Frontier internet prices and plans
Frontier recently trimmed down its internet options, but the price is still right.
If you ‘re lucky enough to live where that Frontier’s FiOS fiber internet is available, then we recommend getting it.
Fiber internet tends to be more reliably fast than cable or DSL internet. And Frontier’s fiber internet comes at some of the lowest prices out there right now.
|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, Simply FiOS Gig Service, costs almost $75 a month. That may seem too expensive, but the price for the speed you get is actually one of the best 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.
If you don’t live in an area where Frontier FiOS is available, you’re not out of luck. Frontier also has DSL options that come at fairly low prices. But the 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|
Chances are, if Frontier DSL internet is in your area, you probably don’t have another ISP to choose from. But even if you don’t, there may be other rural internet options to consider.
Still, Frontier DSL isn’t a horrible choice. For less than $50 a month, you can get 45 Mbps download speeds. That’s fast enough for two to three people to browse the internet and stream a few videos.
Frontier internet speed
You’ve got a nice range of internet speed options with FiOS, but Frontier’s DSL speeds are low, low, low.
We like it when internet providers give you a wide range of download speed options, and Frontier does that. For the most part.
Its FiOS 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.
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|
Speaking of upload speeds, you likely won’t need to worry about these unless you upload a lot of large files to the internet. This includes attaching PDFs, PowerPoints, and giant spreadsheets to your email so you can get them to your boss for the deadline. Or it can include uploading a YouTube video to try to hit 100,000 subscribers (finally!).
And if you mostly use the internet for your home business, freelancing, or streaming on YouTube, you might want to consider the Frontier FiOS Gig 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.
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 FiOS 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 FiOS 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 FiOS fiber 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:
- Installation fee: $75 one-time fee
- 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
- Equipment delivery fee: $9.99 one-time fee for shipping and handling3
- 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: Simply FiOS 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 like Frontier’s FiOS plans and its unlimited data philosophy, but its customer service and random fees are hard pills to swallow.
We think Frontier’s FiOS fiber 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.
Is Frontier available in your area? Does it give you the speed you need? Let us know in the comments!
1. Catherine McNally, Reviews.org, “Fastest Internet Providers 2020,” August 2020. Accessed August 13, 2020.
2. Frontier, “One-Time Charges and Credits.” Accessed August 13, 2020.
3. Frontier, “Taxes and Surcharges.” Accessed August 13, 2020.
4. Frontier, “Routers and Modems for Your Frontier Services.” Accessed August 13, 2020.
5. American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), “ACSI Telecommunications Report 2019,” June 2020. Accessed July 6, 2020.