Cord Cutting Guides, News, and Reviews
Comcast vs Frontier
November 19, 2020
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for an internet-only plan or a triple play bundle with internet, TV, and phone: Xfinity and Frontier are pretty well-rounded providers.
There’s only one way I’d recommend Frontier over Xfinity, and that’s if you have access to Frontier’s fiber internet, Frontier Fios. Otherwise, you’re better off with Xfinity’s wider range of cable internet plans and cord cutter-friendly features.
One of Xfinity’s main advantages over Frontier is its availability. Xfinity is available to more than 112 million people in 40 states. With such wide coverage, Xfinity is the largest cable internet provider in the US. If you aren’t familiar with Xfinity, you may know them by their former name (and the current name of their parent company): Comcast.
Frontier’s coverage reaches a little more than 30 million people. The majority of those people have access to Frontier’s DSL internet. However, Frontier has a leg up over Xfinity due to its fiber internet coverage. More than nine million people have access to Frontier Fios, which is one of the lowest-priced fiber internet services available. And the best part is Frontier Fios is available in suburban and dispersed cities, areas most fiber internet providers don’t reach.
In most cases, Xfinity will come out as the faster provider — Xfinity’s cable network is available to ten times as many people as Frontier’s fiber network is. Technically, Xfinity has the fastest internet plan available to residential customers, with speeds of up to 2,000 Mbps. Unfortunately, fewer than 20,000 have access to that plan, and those that do may not be willing to pay its high price.
Frontier Fios offers faster speeds than Xfinity, especially when it comes to upload speeds. Fiber internet is the most reliable and fastest internet connection type available. Frontier’s fiber network originally belonged to Verizon Fios, which is still the largest (and most impressive) fiber internet provider in the nation.
Unfortunately, Frontier’s DSL internet is not as fast or reliable as its fiber internet. Despite its recent bankruptcy, Frontier still plans to upgrade its current network.
If you’re wondering who has better prices, wonder no more: Frontier’s fiber internet wins the price war without a doubt. But some features — like access to Xfinity’s public Wi-Fi hotspots, a free streaming device, and a free Peacock subscription — are worth paying extra for. Besides availability, the choice comes down to your budget.
Frontier Fios has the lowest-priced fiber internet plans I’ve seen. There are not many providers that offer up to 500 Mbps for $39.99 per month. And when you add Frontier’s equipment fee, you’re still getting a good deal on high-speed internet. At that speed, you could host a four-person Jump Force or Call of Duty tournament with music or a movie streaming in the background.
Compared to Xfinity’s prices, Frontier’s DSL pricing is on the high side. Frontier DSL does have lower prices than Xfinity, but you’re paying for much slower speeds. If you look at price per speed, Xfinity gives you a better value. You’re paying almost $0.50 per Mbps with Frontier’s up to 90 Mbps plan. Xfinity’s Blast! Internet plan with speeds up to 300 Mbps costs a bit more per month, but you’d pay about $0.20 per Mbps. I’m frugal, but I’d pay more for cable internet than pay for a low-price DSL plan — DSL internet doesn’t offer enough speed for the movie fanatics in my house.
At face value, it seems that Frontier’s TV bundles have Xfinity beat in the price department. Unfortunately, Frontier’s intro package only contains 25 local channels. And that’s if you have access to Frontier’s TV services, Fios TV or Vantage TV.
Most people with access to Frontier, including myself, only have the option to bundle with Frontier’s third-party affiliate, Dish. However, I’d recommend Fios TV or Vantage TV if you want a large channel lineup—they offer up to 460 channels. Frontier’s TV bundles cost more overall, but you get what you pay for. Unlike their internet plans, Frontier’s TV plans some with most of the standard features its competitors offer, including an on-the-go streaming app, a whole-home DVR, and an extensive on-demand library.
Frontier’s low monthly pricing makes up for its expensive setup fees. There’s no way around Frontier’s activation fee or installation fees. Frontier doesn’t charge you if you decide to self-install, but you will need to pay an equipment delivery fee. Then again, you could use your own modem and router and avoid equipment fees altogether. If you don’t need professional installation, you can avoid that fee, too.
Xfinity doesn’t have as many setup fees, but their fees would be more expensive in the long run. If you plan to rent Xfinity’s Gateway (a modem/router combo), you’ll pay $14 a month for as long as you have Xfinity internet. The Gateway comes with useful features like advanced security, 24/7 technical support, and an app that gives you remote control of who’s on your network. However, I’d still recommend getting your own modem/router to save money — you’ll pay $168 per year if you rent Xfinity’s Gateway.
Frontier’s fiber internet has low prices for extremely fast speeds. It’s a no brainer to choose the Fios 500 plan if it’s available to you. But I have to admit, I would choose Xfinity overall if they could bring the price down some, because public Wi-Fi access is a feature worth paying extra for.
If you don’t have Frontier Fios available near you, Xfinity is the way to go. As much as I like to choose the least expensive route, Xfinity internet is more valuable than Frontier’s DSL internet.
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