Shopping for an internet provider can be a hassle, especially in an area with more than one provider. Here is a quick comparison guide to help you make an informed decision when your only options are Frontier and Comcast’s Xfinity.
Frontier vs Comcast Xfinity: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Services||Internet, TV, and home phone services||Internet|
|Coverage||40 states||25 states|
|Internet Type||Fiber and Cable||Fiber and DSL|
|Internet and TV Bundling||Yes||No|
Frontier vs. Comcast Xfinity: What’s the Difference?
Frontier communications is one of the top ISPs in the US, popular for reliability, low prices, and lack of contracts. Comcast, on the other hand, uses its Xfinity brand to market its home phone service, cable TV, and internet. It is currently among the largest ISPs for cable internet.
There are three main internet technologies; DSL, cable, and fiber.
DSL uses telephone lines to connect to the internet. It is the oldest of the three and consequently the cheapest as well as the slowest. DSL internet is available in most areas. It is common in rural and remote areas due to the expansive network of telephone lines.
Cable internet uses the same cable for cabled TV to supply internet to homes. It is faster than DSL and is also available to nearly all households.
Fiber internet uses fiber optics technology to transmit data at extremely high speeds. It offers the fastest internet in the country and is slightly pricier than other options. As a nascent technology, it is not as widespread as the other two though the network is fast growing.
Frontier offers both DSL and fiber internet services, while Xfinity provides cable and fiber internet. Due to this, on the low-price spectrum, Xfinity offers better speeds with its cable internet, but the speeds level up at higher price plans as both ISPs use fiber internet.
As of June 2020, the broadband map of the Federal Communication Commission, FCC, indicated that Frontier served 11% of the US population while Xfinity served 36% of the population. And today, Xfinity is the largest cable ISP in the US. This is partly because Comcast’s Xfinity focuses on densely populated areas, whereas Frontier largely serves suburbs, rural, and remote areas.
In terms of distribution, Xfinity is mostly available in the Northeast moving down to the South through Tennessee but not in North Carolina. It is also largely available in Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Memphis, Nashville, Portland, Sacramento, and Seattle.
Frontier offers DSL internet service to around 11.7 million people in the Southwest, Northeast, and Southwest. Its Fiber internet is available to about 4 million people in California, Texas, Indiana, and Florida.
The services of the two ISPs overlap in states such as California, Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. This number is bound to grow as the ISPs grow their networks.
Internet Plans and Pricing
Comcast offers its users six to seven internet plans, while Frontier offers fewer options and often only one DSL plan. Here is a tabular breakdown of some of the internet plans of the two ISPs.
Note that all the prices indicated here are bound to change and vary from region to region. Therefore, make sure you check the ISP’s website for the latest plans and promotions before subscribing.
Frontier Internet Plans
|Plan||Type||Monthly Price||Download/Upload Speeds|
|Frontier Internet (Copper)||DSL||$54.99||Varies|
|Fiber 1 Gig||Fiber||$74.99||940/880Mbps|
|Fiber 2 Gig||Fiber||$149.99||2Gbps/2Gbps|
Comcast Xfinity Internet Plans
|Plan||Type||Monthly Price||Download Speed|
|Connect||Cable||$24.99||Up to 75Mbps|
|Connect More||Cable||$39.99||Up to 200Mbps|
|Fast||Cable||$55.00||Up to 400Mbps|
|Superfast||Cable||$65.00||Up to 800Mbps|
|Gigabit||Cable||$75.00||Up to 1000Mbps|
In Central Region, the Gigabit x6 plan goes by the name Gigabit X3
Some regions, like the Northeast, get the same Comcast Xfinity connection type and download speeds offered at Central and Western but with different names and monthly prices. i.e
|Plan||Type||Monthly Price||Download Speed|
|Performance Starter||Cable||$65.00||Up to 75Mbps|
|Performance||Cable||$83.95||Up to 200Mbps|
|Performance Pro||Cable||$39.99||Up to 400Mbps|
|Blast!||Cable||$59.99||Up to 800Mbps|
|Extreme Pro||Cable||$69.99||Up to 1000Mbps|
|Gigabit Pro||Fiber||$299.99||6000Mbps (double what you get in Central and Western)|
Both Frontier and Comcast Xfinity have additional fees other than installation and rental fees. Xfinity users who want unlimited data access have to pay an extra amount. Frontier, on the other hand, offers unlimited data but charges an extra monthly fee for network maintenance and related costs.
Frontier has since discontinued the provision of digital TV to its customers. Its TV bundles include local channels and a free 90-day trial of the DISH Movie Pack online TV, after which you start paying a monthly fee of $20.
It is worth clarifying that Frontier does not have true TV bundles. Instead, it has partnered with independent TV and streaming service providers such as Sling TV, Fubo TV, DirecTV Stream, and DISH satellite TV. This arrangement might be convenient to the customers, but it saves them no money as the prices are the same whether you purchase Frontier’s TV plan or buy directly from the TV service provider.
On the other hand, Comcast’s Xfinity TV bundles can save you about $10 per month. The ISP has several Internet and TV bundles called Double Play. Depending on your plan, you can get from 100Mbps to 1200Mbps of speed.
The cheapest option, Choice Double Play, offers 10+ TV channels, 100Mbps, and costs $49.99/month. For $109.99/month, you can get 185 channels and 600Mbps. The Premier Double Play costs $125/month and delivers 1200Mbps and 185+ TV channels. Again, these offers are bound to change over time and vary with region.
Comcast and Frontier do not score highly on customer satisfaction rankings but have consistently improved over the years. Xfinity ranks better with a score of 66% in the 2021-2022 American Customer Satisfaction Index, ACSI. Also, Frontier’s score improved from 54% in the previous ranking to 61%.
In a 2021 study by J.D Power of ISPs across all four regions in the US, Xfinity garnered 725 points out of 1000. Frontier scored below average in the South and ranked last in the other three regions. The study examined ISPs on billing, cost, customer service, communications, performance, and reliability.
Complaints filed on the Better Business Bureau show that Frontier’s low customer satisfaction is mainly on its DSL internet as it is slow. Service disruptions due to the selling and acquisition of infrastructure also caused dissatisfaction amongst Frontier’s customers.
Therefore, the low customer satisfaction ranking of Frontier’s services can be misleading precedence for decision-making, especially when one is considering Frontier’s Fiber internet. In fact, when separated from the overall ratings, Frontier Fiber internet ranked higher than Xfinity’s.
Pros and Cons
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of both providers.
|Affordable fiber internet prices||Poor customer service|
|Fast download and upload speeds||Slow speeds for DSL services (especially when farther away from the provider’s central office)|
|No data caps|
|Wide coverage||Requires contracts|
|Highly reliable||Has data caps|
|Fast internet speeds|
Frontier vs. Comcast Xfinity: 6 Must-Know Facts
- Xfinity has a data cap of 1.2TB, while Frontier offers unlimited data.
- Frontier’s DSL is the slowest internet connection when comparing the two ISPs.
- Frontier Fiber Internet service was formerly named Frontier FiOS, and Frontier FiberOptic.
- Xfinity internet plans vary in name and price depending on the region.
- Frontier Fiber offers marginally higher upload speeds than Xfinity.
- For both providers, internet speeds vary from area to area.
Frontier vs. Comcast Xfinity: Which is Better?
The decision on which provider is better depends on several factors, the leading of which is availability. However, if they are both available in your area, then here is a quick summary:
Speed: Xfinity offers better download speed than Frontier, which makes it great for streaming services. However, Frontier has better upload speeds, making it a better option for fast-paced online gaming.
Price: Frontier wins. Even though both offer excellent promos, Frontier requires no contracts and offers unlimited data. Just remember that Frontier DSL is cheap but slow.
Additional services: Xfinity wins. Though slightly expensive, Xfinity offers its subscribers access to public Wi-Fi hotspots across the US and a streaming device.
TV bundles: Xfinity wins as Frontier does not sell real TV bundles, nor does buying from it save you any money.
Comcast Xfinity wins the duel; it has better speeds at low-price plans, better extra services and TV bundles than Frontier. However, if you do not wish to be tied down by contracts and data cap limits, then Frontier is a suitable alternative. Also, if you must choose between Frontier DSL and Frontier Fiber, go for the latter. It has more plans, higher speeds, and higher customer satisfaction rankings.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Joshua Rainey Photography/Shutterstock.com.