Frontier is a unique Internet provider that mixes an extensive fiber network with premium digital TV and phone service. They acquired a significant portion of Verizon’s “Fios” fiber network in 2016.[1]

The thing we like the most about them is their unlimited data policy, which makes them a great choice for cord-cutters and techies. This policy currently holds true in all their network areas, including fiber, DSL, and cable connections.

The main issue we’ve found with Frontier has been their mixed customer service record and higher than average pricing on premium “Vantage” TV services. Frontier Vantage TV makes the most sense overall for daily TV viewers and family homes that need a wide variety of sports, premium drama, or International channels.

Pros

  • Fiber network
  • No data caps
  • Rural availability
  • Contract-free service

Cons

  • Mixed customer service experience
  • Slower speeds in DSL network areas
  • High price on Vantage TV service

Frontier availability

California, Texas, and Florida have the lion’s share of Frontier’s fiber “Fios” network coverage. These are the network areas Frontier acquired from Verizon in 2016, and while they offer Fiber in other markets these are the main “Fios” branded service states.

Frontier offers their fastest gigabit service in New Haven, Connecticut, Beaverton, Oregon, and Durham, NC.

Frontier Communications Coverage & Availability Map

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COVERAGE CENSUS TRACTS

Frontier download speed and performance

Speed and consistency of service is where Frontier really shines compared to other Internet and TV providers.

According to FCC reports as of 2015, 70% of Frontier connections tested were within 95% of the maximum advertised speed, while 100% of speeds were somewhere between 50% of the advertised maximum speed or higher. [2] This is significantly better performance overall than is generally expected from mixed cable/DSL/fiber Internet providers.

For more updated speed reports we’ve collected tens of thousands of real-world speed test results from Frontier customers across the US to show how overall network speeds have performed in 2017:

Download Speeds Over Time


CityFrontier Communications Average SpeedFrontier Communications Top 10% Speeds
Beaverton, Oregon28 Mbps49 Mbps
Bloomington, Illinois5.6 Mbps14 Mbps
Bothell, Washington28 Mbps48 Mbps
Charleston, West Virginia5.2 Mbps11 Mbps
Durham, North Carolina6.6 Mbps16 Mbps
Elk Grove, California8.6 Mbps21 Mbps
Elkhart, Indiana4.0 Mbps10 Mbps
Everett, Washington24 Mbps49 Mbps
Fort Wayne, Indiana24 Mbps47 Mbps
Hillsboro, Oregon17 Mbps37 Mbps
Kennewick, Washington23 Mbps45 Mbps
Lafayette, Indiana4.2 Mbps9.1 Mbps
Lynnwood, Washington27 Mbps52 Mbps
Morgantown, West Virginia4.2 Mbps10 Mbps
Muskegon, Michigan4.2 Mbps9.4 Mbps
Portland, Oregon27 Mbps49 Mbps
Rochester, New York4.5 Mbps9.7 Mbps
Sacramento, California6.9 Mbps15 Mbps
Terre Haute, Indiana4.4 Mbps14 Mbps
Valparaiso, Indiana13 Mbps47 Mbps

Frontier DSL Real-World Speed Test

In addition to the statistics above, we also had someone on our team investigate a sample Frontier connection and run speed tests in person. Overall, they found the speed and performance to be surprisingly reliable, although they reported a less than friendly experience speaking with a Frontier representative on the phone. Here is a video screencast giving an overview of their experience of Frontier DSL compared to Comcast cable:

Frontier’s plans

In comparison to similar fiber offerings from Verizon and Google Fiber, the mid-tier plans in the 50–150 Mbps download/upload range are reasonably priced and significantly outperform their cable and DSL service. That said, their premium “gigabit” plans with speeds in the 1,000 Mbps range are pricier than average.

While they may be worth it for power users, we generally recommend their mid-tier fiber plans even though the speeds may not look much better than cable or DSL. The secret sauce here is the enhanced “symmetrical” fiber upload speeds, which make the connection feel much faster than the old “asymmetrical” upload speeds you might have experienced on legacy cable or DSL plans.

DealsPrice MonthlyInternet SpeedPhone
Best Deal 12 Mbps Internet-Only — Best DSL Internet Deal $2999 12 Mbps DSL(858) 947-7677
Simply Broadband Ultimate $3999 24 Mbps DSL(858) 947-7677
normal Simply FiOS — Best Cord-Cutter Deal $3000 50 Mbps Fiber(858) 947-7677
150/150 Mbps Internet $4000 150 Mbps Fiber(858) 947-7677
FiOS 50M/50M Internet + FiOS Prime Prime TV $6500 50 Mbps Fiber(858) 947-7677
normal Frontier FiOS 50/50 Internet, Prime Video, and Voice – Best Triple Play $7000 50 Mbps Fiber(858) 947-7677
100/100 Mbps Internet $3000 100 Mbps Fiber(858) 947-7677

If you're looking to compare plans, make sure to check out our detailed guide on the latest Frontier Communications deals and promotions.

What are the alternatives to Frontier Internet in my area?

Frontier Communications usually competes against cable providers like Charter Spectrum or Xfinity. To see alternatives specific to your address, use our coverage search tool below.

Common Questions about Frontier Fios Service

Frontier Fios vs Verizon Fios: what’s the difference?

The term “FiOS” comes from Verizon’s original fiber network. Frontier describes the name is an acronym for “Fiber Optic Service.” Frontier purchased extensive Verizon FiOS wireline networks in 2016 and retained the “FiOS” branding.[3]

Frontier Fios vs Frontier DSL: what’s the difference?

Frontier offers three main types of wired Internet connection: fiber, cable, and DSL. Fiber to the Home (FTTH) connections like Frontier Fios are currently the most desirable type of Internet. Fiber is delivered over fiber-optic cables that are designed specifically for digital data, while DSL and cable comes over copper cables (phone lines and coaxial TV cables specifically) that are somewhat less ideal for digital data. That said, Frontier still offers unlimited data and streaming on all wired connection types.

How to Install Frontier Service

Frontier has two options for installation, whether you’re on a FiOS fiber connection or DSL/cable connection:

  • Self-installation
  • Technician installation

Frontier doesn’t generally charge for Internet installation, so we recommend that customers take advantage of this offer and have a professional technician set up your home network. Even if you’re using your own equipment, Frontier technicians will generally work with you to help get your service up and running and optimized. Working with a technician also helps if you’re setting up a multi-room DVR or similar complex full-home TV system.

Frontier router: do I pay extra to rent?

Frontier is one of many Internet providers across the US who has moved to include a free router with your service. This isn’t true for every service area or plan, but overall you can expect that your equipment fees will be zero or at least less than other major DSL/fiber providers. That said, using your own router can be preferable for customers who want to customize or optimize their home network for speed and functionality beyond the basic settings offered by a leased gateway device.

Frontier TV Options: Vantage, Fios, and DISH

Satellite DishTV
DISH TV is a common bundled TV option for customers who don’t need the channel variety or simple setup Vantage TV offers. Image Source: Flickr/Ambuj Saxena

Frontier offers three distinct TV services:

Vantage TV

Vantage TV is a digital IPTV service that pairs with Frontier’s DSL Internet plans. It offers 560+ channels including digital HD, direct Netflix access, and a total-home DVR.

FiOS TV

FiOS TV is the TV option Frontier offers for fiber Internet customers. It is effectively the same as Vantage TV, albeit with the addition of extra HD channels and the sort of snappy performance that only a true FTTH (Fiber to the Home) fiber connection can provide.

DISH satellite TV

DISH pairs with either service as a bundle option for customers who prefer satellite TV. While it has fewer channels overall (190–330+), it’s a great budget option and has more than enough sports and premium programming to match Vantage’s rating for most households.

Frontier extra fees for Internet, TV, and Phone

Frontier is low on hidden fees compared to the competition, although some customers have reported confusion about their sign-up process. Be sure to verify contract length and any added services in writing before confirming service. Image Source: Pixabay
  • Early termination fee: Frontier’s Internet-only plans offer great rates with no long-term commitment. Their TV bundles aren’t so lenient, and the ETF (Early Termination Fee) can run as high as $400+.
  • Broadband processing fee: Frontier charges a one-time fee of just under ten dollars when customers choose to disconnect existing services, such as phone or TV service.
  • Installation fee: Frontier usually waives installation fees for new customers, but be sure to check verbally when you sign up on the phone that this freebie applies for your area.

Conclusion: Frontier is a solid option for techies and cord-cutters

Overall, Frontier wins our recommendation for customers who value reliable, unlimited Internet access over all the bells and whistles you might have with a competing provider. Cord cutters and techies will get the most value out of the Internet-only plans, while the TV/phone bundles are a good premium option for busy family homes.

Most plans offer some form of 30-day money-back guarantee, so be sure to understand your satisfaction guarantee when you sign up. Not all plans offer this, although the provider generally allows service to be “paused” for customers who spend long spans of time away from their residence.[4]

Frontier Communications at a Glance

StatisticFrontier Communications
Price Range$29.99 - $70.00/mo+
Connection Type(s) DSL, Copper & Fiber
Customer Recommendation Rating on BroadbandNow.com35.0%
ACSI Customer Service Rating56/100
Netflix Ranking41st
Population Served29,951,351

Experts

James Webb

James Webb

James Webb is a tech and gadgets expert with a focus on educational content development. He draws on his background in the startup world to make complicated technologies and topics easy to understand for normal folks.

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