Frontier’s fiber plans are cheaper and faster, but Spectrum is a great alternative where Frontier is unavailable.
When it comes to picking a new internet service provider, Frontier and Spectrum are two of the obvious options to consider. Both have a huge coverage area, a wide range of high-speed plans, and reasonable prices.
But we think Frontier generally gives you more bang for your buck. Its prices tend to be lower and its fiber plans performance is unbeatable (if it's available). In areas where Frontier only offers DSL plans, Spectrum is still a great alternative.
We’ll go over everything you need to know about both of these internet service providers (ISPs), including plans, prices, availability, customer service, and hidden fees.
Frontier Internet pros and cons
- Great range of high-speed plans to choose from
- No contracts
- Good availability
- Pricier than Frontier
- Requires installation fee
Spectrum Internet pros and cons
- Pro text
- Pro text
- Pro text
- Con text
- Con text
Spectrum Internet vs. Frontier Internet Plans and Prices
Both Spectrum and Frontier offer a decent variety of high-speed internet plans, with options for all kinds of users. Spectrum’s plans tend to be a little bit slower and pricier than Frontier’s fiber plans, but Spectrum is usually a better deal in the areas where Frontier only offers DSL.
Here’s everything you need to know about both companies’ plans, beginning with Spectrum.
Spectrum Internet plans
Spectrum has three different plans, with speeds ranging from 300 to 1,000Mbps (1Gig). The prices go from $49.99 up to $89.99 a month. None of Spectrum’s plans come with a data cap, so you don’t have to worry about tearing through your bandwidth when you’re binging the new Yellowstone spinoff.
|Spectrum Internet®||$49.99/mo. for 12 mos.*||Up to 300 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
|Spectrum Internet Ultra||$39.99/mo. for 12 mo.†||Up to 500 Mbps||Unlimited|
|Spectrum Internet® Gig||$89.99/mo. for 12 mos.†||Up to 1000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
Even Spectrum’s lowest tier plan offers relatively high performance. 300Mbps is plenty of speed for gaming, streaming on multiple devices, browsing the web, and Zooming into a meeting. Most small- to medium-sized families will be satisfied with this plan.
If you’re a bigger family or you need higher performance because you work from home or game competitively, you can always upgrade to the 500 or 1,000Mbps plans.
We’ve written a nice little explainer article about internet speeds that breaks down just how much bandwidth you need to do everyday activities, like stream HD video, Zoom into work, and play online games.
None of Spectrum’s plans require a contract, and you can easily bundle your internet plan with a Spectrum Cable TV plan if you want to get both. Unfortunately, Spectrum does have some annoying fees you’ll want to look out for before you sign up, including:
- Professional installation fee: $59.99
- Self-installation fee: $24.99
- WiFi Pod install: $49.99
- Internet Gig equipment upgrade fee: $19.99
In short, we think Spectrum offers a decent selection of fast plans that work well for small, medium, and large families. We especially recommend Spectrum Internet for those who want a relatively affordable, mid-tier internet plan.
For those who need something a little more powerful, we recommend going with Frontier.
Frontier Internet plans
On the surface, Frontier’s plans are similar to Spectrum’s, but when you dive down into the details, there are some substantial differences.
The biggest difference is that Frontier offers both DSL and fiber internet plans, while all of Spectrum's plans use cable technology. While cable technology gives you faster speeds than DSL, it’s not nearly as fast or reliable as fiber. We’ll talk about that more in the “Speed” section below. For now, let’s take a closer look at Frontier’s plans.
|Frontier Internet||$64.99/mo.‡||Varies||Unlimited||View Plan|
|Fiber 500||$39.99/mo. w/ Auto Pay and Paperless Bill^||500 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|Fiber 1 Gig||$59.99/mo. w/ Auto Pay and Paperless Bill°||1000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|Fiber 2 Gig||$99.99/mo. w/ Auto Pay and Paperless Bill**||2000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|Fiber 5 Gig||$154.99/mo. w/ Auto Pay and Paperless Bill††||5000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
As you can see, Frontier’s plans have a huge range of speeds and prices. On the low end, its DSL service will likely give you speeds of less than 100Mbps. (Think more in the 20–50Mbps range.) At $64.99 a month, that’s frankly a bad deal.
But Frontier makes up for that with its amazing deals on fiber plans. Where the company’s fiber service is available, it offers more bang for your buck than pretty much any other provider. At $39.99 a month, its 500Mbps plan is a full $30 cheaper than Spectrum’s!
The 1Gig, 2Gig, and 5Gig plans from Frontier are perfect for those larger families who want maximum performance. These higher-tier plans could even be split between adjacent apartments in the same building or be used to power a small business.
While Frontier has no required contracts or data caps, there are fees. Here are the little extras you’ll have to pay for:
- Activation fee: $85
- Disconnect fee: $10
- DSL Expert Installation fees: $95
- Fiber 500 Expert Installation fees: $50
Luckily, equipment rental is free with Frontier.
Spectrum Internet vs. Frontier Internet speeds
Spectrum claims that its network is “fiber-rich.” While we don’t know exactly what that means, it's clear that Spectrum’s network is more similar to cable internet providers than true fiber internet providers, like Frontier, Google Fiber, or Verizon Fios. For example, when compared to Google Fiber, Spectrum's speeds are far behind. And put against Verizon, Spectrum's availability can't compete.
If you live in an area where Frontier offers fiber service, then you’ll get faster and more reliable speeds with that service. One of the biggest benefits of a fiber network is that you get symmetrical download and upload speeds (meaning your upload speeds are just as fast as your download speeds).
Having fast upload speeds is really important for activities like online gaming and uploading large files. Here’s a look at the upload/download speeds from both Spectrum and Frontier.
|Spectrum Internet®||30-1000 Mbps‡‡||4-35 Mbps||See Plans|
|Frontier Fiber Internet||500-5000 Mbps||500-5000 Mbps||See Plans|
The big catch when it comes to Frontier’s internet performance is three letters: D, S, and L. Frontier’s DSL service is, to put it simply, not good. It's slower and more expensive than Frontier’s fiber service. Plus, it won’t give you those sweet symmetrical upload speeds.
In short: where Frontier offers fiber plans, it’s better than Spectrum. But if Frontier’s only option in your area is DSL, run the other way.
Spectrum Internet vs. Frontier Internet availability
If you live in California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, New York, New Mexico, or a number of other states, there’s probably coverage from both Spectrum and Frontier in your area. In fact, these are two of the internet providers with the widest coverage areas in the U.S.
Here’s a closer look at exactly where Spectrum is available.
You could even say that this ISP has a wide spectrum of markets covered. But, on the other hand, there’s another company that’s opening new frontiers. (In our internet service reviews, bad puns are just part of the package. Sorry, not sorry).
Remember that Frontier doesn’t offer fiber service in all of its coverage areas. Where it only has DSL plans, we recommend going with another company. But Frontier fiber is usually among the best options where it’s available.
To see a full list of the internet providers that offer service in your town, use our nifty zip code tool!
Spectrum Internet vs. Frontier customer service
Internet providers have a deservedly poor reputation when it comes to customer service. It can be hard enough to get someone on the phone to help you want to change your plan, not to mention if your internet is out.
Luckily, Frontier bucks the trend. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Frontier ranks relatively high on the list of internet service providers, with a score of 74 out of 100.
Sure, 74 isn’t an A+. It’s more like a C. But it’s still better than some other companies *cough* Spectrum *cough*.
2023 ACSI score
|Spectrum (Charter Communications)||64|
As you can see, Charter-owned Spectrum internet scores just 64 on the most recent ACSI survey, making it among the lowest on the list. So, hopefully you never find yourself needing to call your internet company for help. But if you do, here’s how you can reach them.
Frontier Internet customer service:
- Call +1-800-921-8106
- Visit www.frontier.com/contact-us
Spectrum Internet customer service:
- Call +1-833-949-0036
- Visit www.spectrum.net/support
Recap: Which is better for you?
There’s only one person who can say which internet provider is the right one, and that’s you. But we can give you this quick little Spectrum vs. Frontier recap to help you make up your mind.
- Plans and prices: Both companies offer a range of high-speed plans that will fit many different budgets and lifestyles, but Frontier offers more bang for your buck in most cases. We are particularly fond of Frontier’s Fiber 500 plan that costs just $40 a month.
- Speeds: Frontier’s fiber optic network gives customers superfast and reliable data speeds and symmetrical upload speeds, making it ideal for those who value performance for gaming or working from home. Spectrum’s cable networks are also fast and are a good choice in areas where Frontier only offers DSL plans.
- Availability: Spectrum and Frontier are both available in most U.S. states, though Spectrum’s coverage is better in the Pacific Northwest.
- Our Takeaway: For most customers, Frontier is a better option because its fiber technology is better and its prices are lower. However, in areas where Frontier’s fiber plans aren’t available, Spectrum is a great alternative.
Every review we write begins with an exhaustive research process. We want to collect all of the available research, data, and opinions about a service before we make our recommendations.
For this Spectrum vs. Frontier review, we began by looking at all of the plans available from both companies. We read the fine print, found the hidden fees, read customer reviews, searched through third-party data, and considered our own data about internet speeds.
We analyzed all of this data and tried to make recommendations for many different kinds of users, because there is no “one size fits all” internet. We hope that you’ve found this article helpful. Feel free to click the “Contact Us” button below if you have comments to share.