Spectrum vs Frontier: Side by Side Comparison

Enter your zip code below to see if Spectrum or Frontier offers service in your area.

Spectrum vs Frontier

Frontier and Charter Communications are both rapidly expanding broadband providers, with all the associated growing pains and big benefits. Both providers offer some of the latest technology, driven by high-quality fiber-heavy connections. With similar speeds and prices in many areas, picking a winner depends on your specific needs and desire for add-ons like TV and phone service.

Charter Spectrum AT A GLANCE

  • Sales: (855) 371-9049
  • Support: (833) 694-9256

(855) 371-9049

$44.99 to $44.99 / mo.

30 mbps to 300 mbps

Up to 20 mbps



Current: 15th ↓ (-3)

Frontier Communications AT A GLANCE

  • Sales: (844) 275-7738
  • Support: (800) 921-8101

(844) 275-7738

$24.99 to $30 / mo.

12 mbps to 100 mbps

Up to 100 mbps



Current: 41st ↓ (-1)


Charter Communications provides residential and business broadband cable and fiber Internet, phone, and TV under the “Spectrum” brand name. Their 2016 acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks expanded their cable network to become one of the largest in the US.


One of the largest DSL and fiber broadband providers in the US, Frontier Communications offers Internet, TV, and phone to consumers and businesses. Their fiber offerings are sometimes marketed as “Frontier FiOS,” and utilize fiber networks the company purchased from Verizon in 2016.


  • $44.99 for 100 mbps Cable
    • Up to 100 mbps w/ no data cap.
    • 1-year promo rate. Regular rate is $64.99.
    • Modem included.
    • Call (855) 371-9049 to setup service.
Last updated on 2/20/2018

†All plans not available in all areas or to all customers. Verify details with Spectrum.


  • $24.99 for 30 mbps Fiber
    • 30 mbps ↓ and 30 mbps
    • 2-year promo rate.
    • Contract Term: 2 years
    • $50 Amazon Gift Card
    • Modem w/ WiFi included.
    • Call (844) 275-7738 to setup service.
  • $25 for 12 mbps DSL
    • 12 mbps ↓ and 1.5 mbps
    • 2-year promo rate.
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $10/mo
    • Call (844) 275-7738 to setup service.
  • $30 for 100 mbps Fiber
    • 100 mbps ↓ and 100 mbps
    • 2-year promo rate.
    • Free 1 month trial of HBO.
    • Setup: $75.00 (Includes installation.)
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $5/mo
    • Call (844) 275-7738 to setup service.
  • $30 for 18 mbps DSL
    • 18 mbps ↓ and 1.5 mbps
    • 2-year promo rate.
    • Modem w/ WiFi: $10/mo
    • Call (844) 275-7738 to setup service.
Last updated on 2/19/2018

†All plans not available in all areas or to all customers. Verify details with Frontier.


We have not found plans that include data caps. This doesn't mean Spectrum doesn't have data caps, just that we haven't found them when collecting their plans. Always verify plan details before purchasing.


We have not found plans that include data caps. This doesn't mean Frontier doesn't have data caps, just that we haven't found them when collecting their plans. Always verify plan details before purchasing.


Charter Communications offers broadband Internet, TV, and phone service to consumers via their hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC) network.

Hybrid Fiber Coaxial is a broadband infrastructure that uses fiber optic cables as it’s backbone, only resorting to slower coaxial cables for the “last mile” between customer residences and a local “optical node.”[2]

The optical node translates optic signals into electric signals, which are generally distributed via existing cable TV networks. A node may serve anywhere from 50-2,000 homes in an area.

This type of connection is widely called a “cable” internet connection due to the use of coaxial cable, which was historically used to offer “cable TV.”


Frontier offers broadband internet, TV, and phone services through DSL and fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) connections.

Frontier’s DSL offerings leverage the company’s existing phone infrastructure to deliver internet access anywhere with landline access. While DSL is an older technology and offers correspondingly slower bandwidth speeds, DSL is generally more cost effective than its alternatives.[3]

Frontier’s fiber or fiber-to-the-home connections, on the other hand, deliver a fiber optic connection directly to homes and businesses. This direct fiber connection is considered state-of-the-art, creating the fastest connection speeds and lowest latency when compared to other technologies like DSL and traditional cable Internet.


Installation of the hardware needed for Charter is generally straightforward. Most Charter plans are cable, which requires plugging a cable modem into your house’s existing TV jack.

For homes with working internal wiring, self-installation can be done using the equipment and instructions provided by Charter. Houses that have never been wired for Charter before, have no internal wiring, or have damages to wiring will need help from a professional technician.

Professional installation comes with a fee, but for customers who are nervous about installing hardware themselves, the fee may be worth it for ease and peace of mind.


There are two options for installing hardware needed for a Frontier Internet connection: self-installation and professional installation.

Self-installation is simple, and Frontier offers self-installation kits with all the required items including modem, router, filters, and ethernet cable. Instructions are also available on the provider’s website for customers using their own router or other supplies.

Professional installation comes with a fee, but makes the process much simpler for less-technically-inclined consumers. Professional installation can also be helpful if the internal wiring in your house is very old or damaged, in which case they can diagnose or help fix the issue. Appointments with a technician should be made directly through the provider.


51%51% Customer Rating

51.5% recommendation rating according to 45,836 verified Spectrum users.


34%34% Customer Rating

34.4% recommendation rating according to 16,212 verified Frontier users.


Charter Spectrum Interactive SVG Map showing broadband coverage.


Frontier Communications Interactive SVG Map showing broadband coverage.

Triple play, double play, and single-serve

Picking the right bundle for your lifestyle

Promotional pricing is a common marketing tactic for Charter, Frontier, and most other broadband providers. If you plan to get TV and/or phone service in addition to Internet, keep an eye out for the terms “triple play” and “double play,” which refer to combination Internet/TV/phone and Internet/TV plans.

Thanks to streaming video services like Netflix and near-universal smartphone ownership, US consumers have been dropping cable TV subscriptions and phone service faster than ever. This is bad news for providers, but good news for customers who still want phone and TV service, since they’ll often offer double-and-triple-play deals for a fraction of the cost of independent services. In fact, they’ll sometimes even lower your overall monthly cost to stop you from dropping these services.

Buying vs renting hardware

Modem costs add up quickly

The cost of Internet isn’t usually that bad — it’s the miscellaneous fees, extras, and add-ons that push it up. One of the easiest miscellaneous fees to get rid of is the monthly modem/router rental cost, usually between five and ten dollars.[1]

Sure, it doesn’t sound like much, but buying your own modem and router instead will usually pay for itself within the year. After that, it’s just an extra hundred dollars or so a year in your pocket. Keep in mind, however, that providers usually have specific modem brands and models they’re compatible with. If you plan to switch providers or relocate regularly, renting hardware might be worth the cost.

Last updated on 2/20/2018.

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