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6 / 10  Review Rating

Frontier Internet in a Nutshell

Offers Service in: California, Florida, Connecticut, Texas, New York, Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, South Carolina, Arizona, Tennessee, Nevada, Nebraska, Iowa, Alabama, Georgia, Utah, New Mexico, Mississippi, and Washington

Major Cities Covered: Los Angeles, CA, Lakeland, FL, Tampa, FL, Akron, OH, Dayton, OH, Durham, NC, Fort Wayne, IN, Fontana, CA, Long Beach, CA, Corona, CA, Sacramento, CA, San Bernardino, CA, Kissimmee, FL, Saint Petersburg, FL, Sarasota, FL, Saint Paul, MN, Rochester, NY, Toledo, OH, Garland, TX, and Plano, TX

Residential Pricing: $27.99+ per month

Frontier

I’ve been a customer of Frontier for more than two years now, and a chief reason is that they are one of the most affordable internet providers around. With internet service, though, price isn’t everything. How much patience do you have for random moments when your internet won’t connect even when your modem lights are “green”? As you’ll see below, despite the occasional hiccup my connection generally withstands most of what my bandwidth-hungry household throws its way.

If you live in an area served by Frontier, you’ll find that they have a good balance of price and speeds, making them worth trying for any type of user. In this year’s review, I’ll show you all of Frontier’s plans (including the one I have at home, and the actual speeds I receive). I’ll also show you their equipment, discuss my experiences with customer service (much better than you might expect), and go through the fine print of signing up with Frontier.

How Good is Frontier Internet?

Ever since Frontier bought parts of Verizon Fios’ fiber internet network in 2014, they’ve become the fifth largest fiber and DSL internet provider and well known in the western and east north-central parts of the US. With fiber being the most sought after internet connection, Frontier put themselves in direct competition with major providers like Spectrum.

Frontier Fios is the branding name for Frontier’s fiber internet service, and according to the FCC, Frontier Fios is reliable—most Frontier Fios customers receive speeds more than 90 percent of what’s advertised during peak hours. Although my internet service is generally reliable, I don’t receive those speeds consistently.

Below is a screen capture of a speed test result from today. It’s typical for me to get between 30MB and 50MB upload and download speeds even though my plan is for 100MB. That being said, there is minimal latency, and as I write this my son is watching Netflix while my husband is playing Call of Duty. Also, while I’m on a Zoom or Slack call with my team during the workday, things are typically just fine with the occasional blip or “freeze”.

Frontier Speed Test
Frontier Speed Test

One thing to point out. I live in a more sparsely populated area. Densely packed cities generally report faster overall speeds.

And, Frontier’s internet pricing gives them an advantage over their competition—they offer some of the cheapest fiber and DSL internet plans where they’re available. You can get up to 500 Mbps for $39.99 per month with Frontier Fios; that’s a price only AT&T Fiber and Verizon Fios can beat.

Here are some of the top pros and cons of Frontier Internet.

Pros Cons
Two-year price lock
Zero data caps
No-contract options
Limited fiber internet availability
Low customer satisfaction rating

Frontier Plans & Speed

Frontier’s range of speeds across their plans are suitable for any household, but binge streamers and gamers will want their fiber internet plans. Frontier’s DSL plans and prices are comparable to popular DSL providers like AT&T and EarthLink; except, Frontier’s DSL plans only go up to 45 Mbps while its competition goes up to 100 Mbps.

Frontier Plans, Pricing, and Speeds

Plan Connection Type Download Speed Data Cap Starting Price (for first 12 mo.)
Simply Preferred Internet 6M DSL Up to 6 Mbps No data cap $27.99 per month
Simply Preferred Internet 25M DSL Up to 25 Mbps No data cap $34.99 per month
Simply Premium Internet 45M DSL Up to 45 Mbps No data cap $44.99 per month
Fios 50M/50M Fiber Up to 50 Mbps No data cap $29.99 per month
Fios 100M/100M Fiber Up to 100 Mbps No data cap $39.99 per month
Fios 500M/500M Fiber Up to 500 Mbps No data cap $39.99 per month
Gig Service Fiber Up to 1,000 Mbps No data cap $74.99 per month

Frontier’s DSL plans are more expensive than their Fios plans, but it’s unlikely you’ll see Frontier DSL plans offered alongside Frontier Fios. And if you did, Fios is the better choice for speeds and price. The mid-tier plan in areas where Frontier Fios is available will either have the Fios 100M/100M or Fios 500M/500M plan available. It’s usually one or the other which is fair if you can get the Fios 500M/500M. The price for Fios 100M/100M is still the cheapest compared to all other fiber internet providers 100 Mbps plan.

You can find a better deal on a fiber gigabit, or 1,000 Mbps, plan with AT&T, CenturyLink, and Windstream, but most households don’t need speeds that high. As I mentioned above, we recently upgraded to the Fios 100M/100M and get speeds over 30-50 Mbps on average. Granted, our connection can handle our activities without much buffering but there’s a warm-up period—in the mornings between 6-8 AM, some of my browsing is slower, probably chewed up by the bandwidth used by my husband and son watching Avatar the Next Airbender.

Frontier Internet Data Caps—Does Fios Have a Data Cap?

I hate data caps, and a truly great thing we like about Frontier is that all DSL and Fios plans are data cap free (unlike CenturyLink). This is a big win for Frontier considering how often I’ve seen fiber internet providers only offer one data cap free plan which is always their most expensive, fastest option.

Additional Fees

Frontier internet comes with minimal fees and most of them are avoidable depending on where you live. Good thing, because these can add up with other providers!

Fees Cost Avoidable? Type
Professional installation $75 Yes One-time
Early Termination fee Up to $400 Yes One-time
Router fee $10 Yes monthly

Installation

The internet won’t turn on magically with Frontier, it will need to be installed. In our case, with fiber, it took a technician roughly 45 minutes to an hour to get us up and running and required drilling a hole through the wall from outside (like a cable installation). You’ll need to pay for this (typically $75) but the professional installation fee is cheaper than what I’ve seen from most providers (only Windstream and Xfinity have lower installation costs for their fiber plans).

There are two ways you can avoid Frontier’s installation fee: sign up during a promotional period or opt for self-installation. If you’re inclined to DIY, Frontier gives in-depth videos on how to self-install which helps make the process easier. Before you “try this at home,” make sure you know what you’re getting into.

Contracts

First, let me tell you about my contract experience. I originally signed up for a one-year contract with free installation. My price was guaranteed for two years and I didn’t have to re-sign or call Frontier when my first contract ended to keep my service going. Now, I have another one-year contract since I upgraded to the Fios 100M/100M plan. Frontier did let me know that I’m able to upgrade my speeds during my contract without having it extended—something I plan on taking advantage of here soon. I was assured I’d still pay the promotional price since I’m within contract which was great to hear.

Frontier advertises their plans as if they’re contract-free when really, you’d have to pay a higher monthly rate than what they advertise for their contract-free plans. Frontier’s promotional pricing requires a 1-2 year contract that has an early termination fee (ETF) that can cost up to $400. If Spectrum or Verizon Fios offer service in your area, don’t sweat ETFs—both providers offer to pay ETFs up to $500 for new customers. Plus, Frontier’s contracts are worth signing for the two-year price lock. Most internet providers I’ve analyzed only offer discounted rates for the first 12 months, then increase their prices by 10-20 dollars afterward.

Equipment

As for equipment, you’ll need to make a decision on whether to use Frontier’s router for $10 per month or use your own. Honestly, I’d stick with Frontier’s router unless you’re knowledgeable about network issues and troubleshooting internet connection. It’s about the size of a small book which makes it easy to fit anywhere. I know there’s a problem if the globe turns red or I’m missing a green light. Anytime I’ve had network issues I couldn’t fix on my own, Frontier was able to diagnose and repair my router in less than 10 minutes. Frontier’s equipment fee is worth paying for as it comes with fast technical support. Plus, the plan prices are already low enough that when you add the router fee, the total is on par with Spectrum and AT&T. Here is a picture of my connected router.

Frontier Router
Frontier Router

Getting a router from Frontier comes with a few perks:

  • Free upgrades
  • The router is optimized for Frontier’s network
  • And Frontier’s technical support can only troubleshoot their own equipment.

If you decide to get your own modem, you’ll save money in the long run. Frontier’s equipment fee adds up to the price of a new modem/router in about a year or two depending on which one you buy. That said, Frontier will upgrade your equipment for free.

Frontier Customer Service

Frontier has a low customer satisfaction rating among internet providers, but that score isn’t the best portrayal of their customer service. Instead, it’s more reflective of customer complaints about slow download speeds. Frontier’s technical support is quick to resolve issues when they can. My last call was one of those situations where the modem said “green” but nothing worked. Customer service reset the router on their end, and I was back online. The whole process took about 10 minutes from the time I dialed customer service.

There isn’t much that customer service can do about my slower than advertised speeds, but they’ve always been able to get my network back up and running while I’m on the phone. Frontier takes its customer service a step further by creating their own technical support guides and resources that are available on their website. And for the phone-shy, there’s an online chat feature and mobile app. I usually prefer online chat but I have trouble logging into my account on occasion, so I’ve started calling them to get my connection fixed faster.

Verdict

Frontier Internet doesn’t always deliver the speeds they advertise, but Frontier Fios offers plans fast enough for heavy users like my family. Being budget-conscious, I feel that Frontier Fios internet pricing is good, especially the Fios 500M/500M plan which costs $49.99 a month when you add the equipment fee. It’s Frontier’s best internet deal, and even if you get slightly slower speeds than that in practice it is blazing fast for nearly every bandwidth-crazy household.

One thought on “Frontier Internet Review

  1. Avatar EdH says:

    Frontier continues to violate the new California Privacy law by providing, (selling) your IP address to their customers, without your express permission, which is a clear violation of the law. Because they are bankrupt, (Chapter 11 Bankruptcy) I guess they feel that they can sell your internet information, (IP address) to prospects so that they can continue to try and make money during their Bankruptcy.

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