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Spectrum vs. Frontier

  • Best for speed
    • Customer rating: 3.7
    • Price: $49.99–$89.99/mo. for 12 mos.
    • Max speed: 300–1,000 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary)
    • Internet type: Cable
    • Data cap: No data cap
    • Contract: No contract
  • Best for availability
    • Customer rating: 3.5
    • Price: $49.99–$149.99/mo.
    • Max fiber speed: 500–2,000 Mbps
    • Internet type: DSL, fiber
    • Data cap: No data cap
    • Contract: Optional 1-year contract with Visa Reward Card

Compare Spectrum and Frontier head to head

Spectrum provides cable internet, and Frontier primarily offers DSL internet. Of the two, Spectrum’s cable is your faster, more reliable connection, but it’s less available in rural areas than DSL.

Frontier’s fiber is faster than both, with symmetrical speeds of up to 2,000 Mbps. It’s cheaper than Spectrum’s cable internet too, even more so after 12 months, but its availability is limited. Frontier’s fiber is the clear winner in this battle for your bucks if you can get it.

Pros and cons: Spectrum vs. Frontier


  • Wide availability
  • No modem rental fee


  • Price increase after a year
  • Extra charge for WiFi


  • Affordable fiber plans
  • Wide DSL availability


  • Limited fiber availability
  • High fees


Want to see if Spectrum or Frontier is available in your area? Enter your zip code below.

Plans and pricing: Spectrum vs. Frontier

Spectrum and Frontier have a simplified lineup, but Frontier is your better dollar-per-megabit deal when you compare its fiber internet with Spectrum’s cable. The drawback is Frontier’s fiber is hard to get, while Spectrum’s cable internet is available nationwide.

Spectrum plans and pricing

Spectrum Internet® $49.99/mo.
for 12 mos.
Up to 300 Mbps
(wireless speeds may vary)
View Plans for Spectrum
Spectrum Internet® Ultra $69.99/mo.
for 12 mos.
Up to 500 Mbps
(wireless speeds may vary)
View Plans for Spectrum
Spectrum Internet® Gig $89.99/mo.
for 12 mos.
Up to 1,000 Mbps
(wireless speeds may vary)
View Plans for Spectrum

When we compare the base plans, Spectrum gives you more speed at the same price. But here’s the catch: you can get Frontier’s DSL service in areas where Spectrum’s cable internet doesn’t reach. In some areas, Frontier may be your only option of the two.

Meanwhile, Spectrum’s Ultra and Gig plans compete with Frontier’s Fiber 500 and Fiber 1 Gig plans. Frontier’s fiber internet is still relatively scarce, so Spectrum may be your only high-speed option until Frontier brings fiber internet to your area.

Of the two, Spectrum is the more expensive provider for the long term. Frontier doesn’t have discounted pricing, so the 500 Mbps plan costs $49.99 per month for at least three years. Spectrum’s 500 Mbps plan increases to $94.99 after 12 months, making Frontier’s fiber internet a better bargain.

Frontier plans and pricing

Frontier Internet (DSL) $49.99/mo.*Call for detailsView Plans for Frontier
Frontier Fiber 500 $49.99/mo.Up to 500 MbpsView Plans for Frontier
Frontier Fiber 1 Gig $74.99/mo. Up to 1,000 MbpsView Plans for Frontier
Frontier Fiber 2 Gig $149.99/mo.§Up to 2,000 MbpsView Plans for Frontier

Frontier has more DSL than fiber. In rural areas, it may be your only landline option if Spectrum’s cable internet doesn’t reach you.

For now, Frontier’s fiber is limited in availability, but you can find it in metropolitan areas like Tampa and Dallas. The Fiber 1 Gig plan matches Spectrum’s Internet Gig service in download speed, but it’s $15 cheaper during Spectrum’s promotional period and $40 cheaper after a year. Even Frontier’s Fiber 500 plan is faster and more affordable than Spectrum’s Ultra plan.

Of the two providers, Frontier has the fastest plan with its Fiber 2 Gig service, giving you speeds of up to 2,000 Mbps both ways. Spectrum’s maximum download speed is 1,000 Mbps and up to 500 Mbps in upload speed in some areas.

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Deals and promotions: Spectrum vs. Frontier

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Extra fees: Spectrum vs. Frontier

Equipment FeeInstallation FeeOther Fees
  • $5.00/mo. for WiFi (no charge with Internet Gig plan)
  • $3.00/mo. per Spectrum WiFi Pod
  • No charge for modem or gateway
  • $59.99 for pro install
  • $24.99 for self-install and service activation
  • $49.99 for WiFi Pod install
  • $9.99 service activation fee
  • $8.95 late payment fee (after 21 days)
  • $25.00 insufficient funds fee
  • $5.00 phone payment processing fee
  • $9.99 reconnection fee (internet)
  • $4.99 reconnection fee (TV)
  • $19.99 equipment upgrade fee to Internet Gig plan
  • Frontier
  • No charge for DSL modem or gateway
  • Free pro install
  • $85.00 DSL activation*
  • $10.00 disconnect fee
  • $9.99 equipment fee for extra devices
  • $5.00/mo. no AutoPay fee
  • $2.99/mo. Paper bill fee
  • $6.99/mo. Internet infrastructure surcharge
  • Other than the WiFi charge, Spectrum doesn’t tack on a lot of extra fees. Even if you cancel your service before the 12-month promotional pricing period ends, Spectrum won’t penalize you with an early termination fee.

    Frontier charges $85 to activate DSL service but waives the fee for fiber. There’s also no equipment fee—Frontier raised the prices to cover the cost. New to Frontier’s list of other fees is the monthly charge for a paper bill, which began in April 2022.

    Customer ratings: Spectrum vs. Frontier

    Overall RatingReliability RatingCustomer Service RatingSpeed RatingPrice Rating

    Spectrum takes the third spot for overall satisfaction out of 13 national internet providers in our latest customer satisfaction survey. Spectrum ranks second in speed satisfaction, with a score above the national average when it comes to meeting the advertised speeds. Its weakest link is price satisfaction, which is understandable given prices go up around $25 after a year. Still, Spectrum has some of the cheapest post-promo prices you’ll find for cable internet service.

    Frontier returns to our survey after missing out last year. It ranks in the bottom half across the board, with its strongest point being price satisfaction. What’s startling here is that Spectrum increases its prices after 12 months whereas Frontier does not, yet Frontier has a slightly lower pricing score than Spectrum. Frontier’s ratings combine both fiber and DSL customers. When compared separately, Frontier’s fiber customer’s were much more satisfied with their service, giving an overall satisfaction score of 3.8, while DSL customers rated their overall service 3.3.

    Want to see what plans are available in your area? Enter your zip code below.

    Best TV and internet bundles

    PackageInternet speedTV channelsPriceDetails
    Spectrum Internet (up to 300 Mbps) + TV SelectUp to 300 Mbps
    (wireless speeds may vary)
    for 12 mos.
    View Bundles
    Spectrum Internet Ultra + TV SelectUp to 500 Mbps
    (wireless speeds may vary)
    for 12 mos.
    View Bundles
    Frontier 500 Mbps + DISH America’s Top 120Up to 500 Mbps190$124.98/mo.View Bundles
    Fiber 500 Mbps + DISH America’s Top 120+Up to 500 Mbps190+$139.98/mo.View Bundles

    Frontier currently doesn’t offer a TV service for new customers. Instead, the company partnered with DISH to provide internet and satellite TV bundles. Both bundles include local channels and start you with a three-month trial of the DISH Movie Pack™ Online TV service, which usually costs $20 per month.

    Spectrum doesn’t have discounted bundles. Instead, you can pair its TV Select service with one of its three cable internet plans. Both services have a discount for the first 12 months, but all premium channels are extra. You’ll also see a broadcasting surcharge of up to $20 per month.

    Internet types: Spectrum vs. Frontier

    Internet typeDetails
    SpectrumCableView Plans for Spectrum
    FrontierFiber, DSLView Plans for Frontier

    Spectrum offers cable internet, which relies on coaxial cable typically already installed in homes and apartments. The fastest cable internet speed you can get today is 1,200 Mbps, but Spectrum’s download speeds are currently capped at 1,000 Mbps.

    Frontier’s primary service is digital subscriber line (DSL) internet. It uses telephone wires that are usually installed in homes and apartments and is slower than cable internet. It’s generally your only landline option in rural areas.

    Frontier’s ace up the sleeve is its fiber internet service. While limited in availability, fiber has equal upload and download speeds. In contrast, cable internet has fast download speeds but extremely slow uploads. If you often transfer large files to the cloud, Frontier’s Fiber 500 and Fiber 1 Gig plans would be ideal.

    Data caps: Spectrum vs. Frontier

    Data CapDetails
    SpectrumNo capView Plans for Spectrum
    FrontierNo capView Plans for Frontier

    With Spectrum and Frontier, you won’t see data caps like other internet providers. You get unlimited data, which translates to no monthly overage fees and no monthly charges for unrestricted access. They also don’t intentionally throttle your connection, no matter how much you download—the data spigot remains wide open every month.

    Contracts: Spectrum vs. Frontier

    Contract lengthDetails
  • No contract
  • View Plans for Spectrum
  • No contract
  • 1-year agreement with Visa Reward Card
  • View Plans for Frontier

    Spectrum doesn’t enforce a contract. Instead, it offers a discount for the first 12 months. But even though prices go up after that, customers can cancel internet service after one month without penalty.

    Frontier also doesn’t enforce contracts for internet service. However, you must sign a one-year agreement if you accept a Visa Reward Card when you sign up for the Fiber 500 or Fiber 1 Gig plan. A two-year contract only comes into play when you get satellite TV.

    Installation: Spectrum vs. Frontier

    Installation optionsDetails
  • $59.99 for pro install
  • $24.99 for self-install and service activation
  • $49.99 for WiFi Pod install
  • View Plans for Spectrum
  • $85.00 DSL activation*
  • Free fiber expert installation
  • Free pro install
  • View Plans for Frontier

    Spectrum charges $24.99 to self-install but doesn’t charge a monthly fee for the modem or gateway. Frontier doesn’t have a self-install option, nor does it have a monthly equipment rental fee. You can even get a free pro install with Frontier if you order service online.

    For now, Spectrum encourages new customers to use the self-install kit over requesting for a pro install. The pro install option is still available for new installations, rewiring, moving the router, and similar scenarios.

    Availability: Spectrum vs. Frontier

    Most of Spectrum’s market resides in North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, New York, and Maine. There are scattered chunks of coverage in California, Texas, Florida, and several other states. Overall, Spectrum commands a decent market in the eastern and central time zones.

    Frontier’s primary target is in rural areas. Its DSL service is available in 25 states, mainly in the Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest. Its Frontier Fiber Internet is limited to portions of California, Florida, Indiana, and Texas. Frontier expects to expand its fiber-to-the-premises service in California by 350,000 locations over the next six years.2

    Final call: Spectrum vs. Frontier

    Spectrum provides cable internet, and Frontier supplies mostly DSL internet. If you have access to both, choose Spectrum for its faster speeds and better reliability.

    Frontier also provides fiber internet, but its availability is limited. Go with Frontier’s fiber if you can get it, as it reaches speeds up to 2,000 Mbps both ways, is more reliable than cable, and is cheaper than Spectrum in the long term.

    View Spectrum Plans

    View Frontier Plans


    Our editorial team bases our analyses on customer input from our annual customer satisfaction survey, results from our speed test tool, and proprietary internet provider data on speeds and pricing. To strengthen our research, we look closely at provider contracts to get hard-to-find information on price hikes, data caps, and extra fees, and we keep tabs on the latest news reports and online reviews. When applicable, we also rely on our personal experiences testing these services.


    1. Frontier Communications, “Get Ready for Your Safety-First Appointment.” Accessed May 4, 2021.

    2. Frontier Communications, “Before the Public Utilities Commission of the State of California,” December 24, 2020. Accessed May 4, 2021.

    3. Frontier Communications. “Frontier Delivers Record Operational Results as It Becomes a Fiber-First Company,” February 23, 2022. Accessed March 18, 2022.

    Author -

    Kevin Parrish has more than a decade of experience working as a writer, editor, and product tester. He began writing about computer hardware and soon branched out to other devices and services such as networking equipment, phones and tablets, game consoles, and other internet-connected devices. His work has appeared in Tom’s Hardware, Tom's Guide, Maximum PC, Digital Trends, Android Authority, How-To Geek, Lifewire, and others. At, he focuses on network equipment testing and review.

    Editor - Cara Haynes

    Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.