Frontier FiOS vs. Spectrum
At a Glance
Data effective 1/11/2018. Pricing and speeds are subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas.
Customer Satisfaction Ratings
To give you a better idea of customer experience with Frontier FiOS and Spectrum, we’ve included results from our 2018 Customer Satisfaction Survey. Please note the ratings in each of the categories below.
Installation & Setup
Frontier FiOS(4.08 /5)
Frontier FiOS starts its new customers off right with free FiOS installation on select packages. You may need to pay an activation fee of up to $49, but that fee can be waived for bundles with an annual contract.
Spectrum charges $34.99 to send a technician out to get your TV set up. However, you shouldn’t have to worry about sitting around all day waiting for them to arrive. Spectrum’s two-hour installation window guarantees to reimburse you $20 if the technician is late.
Frontier FiOS Installation Fee: Activation fee up to $49.00
Spectrum Installation Fee: $34.99 technician visit
Frontier FiOS(3.94 /5)
Frontier FiOS offers an impressive 400 channels, but only 90 of those are in HD. However, the fiber optics this provider uses keep SD channels at their optimum quality. Top that off with great sports channels like the PAC-12 Network, and Frontier FiOS has an overall strong channel lineup.
Rather than padding its channel count with both HD and SD versions of the same channels, Spectrum keeps things simple and transparent with over 200 HD channels, the most available on the market (that includes PAC-12 as well). That means no repeat channels, and you’ll be getting the same HD quality with each one.
Frontier FiOS Channels: 400+ channels / 90+ HD
Spectrum Channels: 200+ HD channels
Frontier FiOS(4.10 /5)
Thanks to Frontier FiOS’s fiber-optic network, the signal comes through clear and strong. However, it isn’t a stranger to outages, and customers complaining online have mentioned that Frontier rarely explains the causes. But overall, customers in our 2018 survey rated Frontier FiOS’s reliability above average, so you shouldn’t worry about this too much.
Last year, Spectrum unified its services with an encrypted signal. Encryption is a common practice in cable companies that keeps the TV signal from being pirated by non-customers. But some customers were caught off guard and didn’t have the correct equipment when the switch occurred. This event is likely the cause of Spectrum’s lower score since historically it’s been a fairly reliable service.
Frontier FiOS Type of Service: Fiber
Spectrum Type of Service: Cable
Frontier FiOS(3.73 /5)
Frontier FiOS was one of the top scorers for monthly bill satisfaction in this year’s customer survey. It doesn’t offer a very powerful DVR—but because of its solid channel count, massive discounts on bundles, and two-year price lock (something nearly unheard of in the TV provider industry), you’ll be getting your money’s worth with Frontier FiOS.
Because Spectrum doesn’t pad its channel count with music or repeat channels, its customers may feel disappointed by its small channel count, but in reality, they’re getting all the same quality stuff. Where the service does fall behind, though, is on the same issue as Frontier FiOS—the lackluster DVR. Still, it’s a no-contract service, which makes it a good option for people who don’t want to be stuck in a contract.
Frontier FiOS Price: $75.99–$97.99 per month
Spectrum Price: $64.99–$104.99 per month
Tech Support & Customer Service
Frontier FiOS(4.05 /5)
Frontier has a strong reputation for customer service. Plenty of customers online have commented on how helpful and friendly its customer service representatives are. You can even chat with them without having to wait on a telephone line—Frontier allows you to schedule a time online for a customer service representative to call you. Or, if you need immediate help, you can always use its online chat function.
Spectrum also allows you to chat with a customer service representative online, and when tech support comes out to your house, it promises a two-hour window or you get a $20 credit.
But because of the issues Spectrum had with transitioning the customers it acquired from mergers with Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Bright House Networks, it placed last in this category this year. Fortunately, new customers won’t have to deal with these same transitional issues, and Spectrum is working on making service better by creating more domestic call center jobs.
Spectrum vs. Frontier Availability
Like most providers, Spectrum and Frontier FiOS are available only in certain areas, not completely nationwide. You’ll have to check and see if either service is in your area.
You can do that using our ZIP finder tool.
Spectrum is available mainly on the eastern side of the United States, with particular emphasis on the New England area, and some scattered service throughout the West Coast and into the Hawaiian islands. In fact, its top five states for coverage are Hawaii, Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, and New York.
Frontier FiOS, on the other hand, services both the East Coast and the West Coast pretty well (with a stronger focus on the West), but it leaves the Midwest fairly dry. No surprise there. Frontier bought its fiber-optic internet lines from Verizon FiOS originally, so wherever Verizon focused first, Frontier FiOS must automatically follow.
If you live in California, New York, Ohio, Texas, or South Carolina, congratulations—you should have access to one or both of these services, since these five states sport the most competition between the two internet companies.
Both Frontier FiOS and Spectrum offer at least two DVRs each, but neither offers clear specs on the products. From what we’ve seen, the storage and features don’t live up to the asking prices.
If you want a powerful DVR that can record plenty of channels simultaneously and store a lot of shows, plus have some nice extra features like mobile viewing of recordings, we recommend purchasing the TiVo BOLT VOX instead of the providers’ DVRs.
Note that to watch your service on a TiVo DVR, you’ll need a CableCARD from your provider, which is about $2–$4 per month.
Mobile Viewing Apps
Neither Frontier FiOS nor Spectrum gets many positive reviews on their mobile apps. But if you’re an on-the-go watcher who feels like mobile apps will make or break your TV experience, Spectrum TV seems to be the stronger app due to its higher channel count. It’s handy that the app can work as a remote control, too.
TV and Internet Bundles
Spectrum offers only cable internet at a single speed, while Frontier offers DSL internet and more advanced fiber internet at a wide range of speeds. Considering DSL internet’s noticeably slower speeds, we recommend Frontier FiOS internet over its misnamed DSL service, Frontier High-Speed Internet.
Frontier FiOS Internet will be available wherever Frontier FiOS TV is offered, so we’ve included only that service in the comparison below to simplify the providers’ best internet packages.
Frontier FiOS Internet
Price: $30 per month
Download Speeds: 50 Mbps–100 Mbps
Equipment: Free for 12 months with 1-year agreement or bundle
Installation Fee: $75 or free with bundle
Data Cap: None
Customer Satisfaction: 3.60/5
Data effective 1/11/2018. Pricing and speeds are subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas.
The Verdict: Spectrum vs. Frontier FiOS
Get Frontier FiOS for customer-friendly service at a great value.
While Frontier isn’t the cheapest provider on the market, you’ll get a lot out of its moderate price. Frontier FiOS has a reputation for delivering a strong signal, plenty of channels, and great customer service if anything ever does go wrong.
If Frontier FiOS is in your area, we highly recommend you give it a try. After all, it has no-contract options, so if for any reason you’re not satisfied, you can move on with no strings attached.
Get Spectrum for the most HD channels and help getting out of your current contract.
Frontier FiOS may offer more channels than Spectrum, but some of those are digital music channels (like radio stations for your TV) or HD repeats of SD channels already included. Spectrum, on the other hand, keeps things streamlined by offering only HD channels, so you’re getting a clear picture every time.
If you’re currently stuck in a contract with another provider you’re unhappy with, Spectrum is a great choice. It offers a contract buyout service, paying up to $500 to help pay your early termination fees.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Frontier FiOS the same as Verizon Fios?
To be clear, Frontier FiOS and Verizon Fios aren’t the same thing. Each internet service is owned by its namesake, but these two services do both provide fast, reliable internet using the same fiber-optic infrastructure.
How did two competing companies end up with the same tech? Well, Verizon Fos originally laid out large areas of fiber-optic lines, but it eventually sold some of its territories (7 states’ worth, to be exact) to the cable company Frontier.
With the purchase of the fiber-optic lines, Frontier also adopted the “Fios” lingo to help distinguish its new fiber internet service from its run-of-the-mill cable or DSL services.
Is Frontier FiOS internet good?
Like we said above, Frontier FiOS is a fiber internet service, which means it’s wicked fast and more reliable than cable. It can reach speeds of 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps), so buffering is a thing of the past.
Altogether, we’d say that makes Frontier FiOS internet pretty great.
Is Frontier Internet fast enough for Netflix?
Whether your Frontier Internet connection is fast enough to support on-demand streaming from places like Netflix or Disney+ depends entirely on your plan. Most streaming services suggest a speed of at least 5 Mbps for on-demand streaming. Anything less than that, and you’ll need to prepare yourself for buffering.
What’s the difference between Spectrum and Frontier?
Spectrum and Frontier are both traditional telecom providers that offer internet, home phone, and TV packages.
As for differences, Spectrum is solely a cable provider, while Frontier offers DSL and fiber internet services in addition to cable, depending on the region. Spectrum and Frontier also differ in their availability across the USA, with Frontier covering more area overall.
More About the Providers
Frontier Communications Corporation was originally incorporated in 1935 as Citizens Utilities Company. Headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut, Frontier’s networks provide service to customers in twenty-nine states. Its fiber-optic system, Frontier FiOS, was first acquired from Verizon in 2010.
Spectrum is a brand of Charter Communications, which was founded in 1993 and is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut. Formed from the merger of Charter, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks, Spectrum provides TV, internet, and phone services in forty-one states.
Are you drawn to Frontier FiOS’s customer service reputation or Spectrum’s high HD channel count? Before you set your heart on one, make sure it’s available in your area using the zip finder below.
See what TV providers are available in your area: