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Starlink vs. Frontier: How Do They Compare and Which is Better?

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Starlink vs. Frontier: How Do They Compare and Which is Better?

  • Frontier (formally Frontier Communications Parent, Inc.) is in its fourth incarnation since 1935; it was originally named Citizen’s Utilities Company.
  • Starlink speeds are much faster than other satellite providers.
  • When completed, Starlink will have a huge edge in availability over Frontier.
  • Frontier uses fiber and copper lines installed and purchased mainly from Verizon.
  • Frontier is U.S.-based and Starlink is global.
  • Frontier filed for bankruptcy in 2020, wiping out its remaining shareholders, who had already suffered 90% losses. The company reformed under its newest name, Frontier Communications Parent, Inc., and began trading again in 2021.
  • Starlink is just starting to launch its newest version 2.0 satellites, and this should have a positive effect on performance as the newer satellites have laser communication with each other.

The history of the internet is certainly filled with many interesting stories of boom-and-bust companies and technologies. The comparison of Starlink and Frontier is no exception, and we’re going to lay out the details of these two internet providers and take a look at where they came from, what they have to offer, and where they are headed in the future.

The comparison of Starlink and Frontier is an interesting matchup, as Starlink is a new company, and Frontier has been around in one form or another since 1935, with a long history.

So, let’s break it all down and find out which one wins when it comes to reliable internet service.

First, we can take a side-by-side look at the major details to get a feel for how these very different technologies stack up in the areas most users would be interested in.

StarlinkFrontier
Price$599 (set up) $110/mo.$50/mo. (500 Mbps)
Connection TypeSatelliteFiber and DSL
Max Download Speed200 Mbps2,000 Mbps (wired)
Max Upload Speed10-20 MbpsSymmetrical
Year Service Began20212008 (DSL)
Founded20151935
HeadquartersHawthorne, CaliforniaNorwalk, Connecticut

Although comparing these two ISPs is like comparing apples to oranges because of the different technologies used by both, the end goal is the same—bringing customers quality, reliable internet. Now let’s take a deeper dive into some of the main differences between the two providers.

Connection Type

The main difference to consider between these two internet providers is their connection type. Starlink is a satellite service while Frontier has Fiber and DSL connections available.

Although Starlink’s LEO satellite constellation has eliminated some of the speed and latency issues associated with satellite internet, they still have the one concern with satellite that no company has overcome: interruption by the weather.

When deciding on Frontier, make sure that you will have the fiber option available in your area as their DSL service can be very slow. There was a class-action lawsuit in West Virginia charging Frontier for speeds much slower than advertised. Frontier agreed to spend $150 million to correct the issues. Once again, this was their DSL service, so be sure to check if fiber is available in your area.

Frontier communications isp internet service provider
Frontier uses fiber and DSL connections, while Starlink uses satellite.

Price

As far as price, Frontier wins with a monthly price that is about half that of Starlink. The set-up kit coming in at $599.00 for Starlink is also a concern if your only choice is satellite due to your location. Frontier doesn’t charge any installation fees, but they do have a one-time activation fee of $85.

One other thing to consider with Starlink is that after you pay the $599 for your kit, you are on your own getting it set up. The process is reported to be simple, and the instructions and app are pretty good, but as we’ll see in our customer service section, it can be difficult to get help if you need it.

Market

Frontier began early in the 20th century, serving mostly rural areas telephone service, but has now moved into many urban areas. The company has expanded mostly through purchases of existing systems, namely from Verizon.

Starlink’s market has been consistent from the start, focusing on underserved areas of the globe and providing internet to customers that just a few years ago would have had no hope of receiving an internet connection. It’s interesting to note that about 30% of the world’s population does not have internet in 2022, and it’s a noble goal for Starlink and Elon Musk to try and improve that. Even if we leave out any altruistic motivations and boil it down to money, it could still change a lot of lives.

satellites in musk's starlink
Starlink strives to bring internet access to millions of people in rural areas where there is no access to the internet.

Speed and Latency

One of the major technological accomplishments of Starlink has been the removal of speed and latency issues when it comes to satellite internet. The LEO constellation and improving satellite innovations have put Starlink in a league of their own when it comes to fast, lag-free internet. With other satellite providers using HEO geosynchronous systems, they can’t compete with Starlink. With download speeds in excess of 200 Mbps, a user can load a movie in less than a minute. As Starlink continues its mission, it just keeps improving.

As for Frontier, they have competitive speeds with their fiber service coming in at up to 940 Mbps depending on the package you choose. For $149 a month, Frontier fiber offers download speeds of up to 2,000 Mbps, which is super-fast, and the service is slated to be symmetrical for equally fast uploads.

The thing that’s important when comparing these two ISPs is that speeds vary based on location with Starlink. With Frontier, it varies based on location and the package purchased.

Do your homework with both and make sure you’re going to get the numbers you expect when setting up your service.

Customer Service

We reviewed several consumer sites including Trustpilot and Forbes, among others, to see what actual customers are saying about these two ISPs when it comes to getting the assistance you need. In the customer service category, we seem to have a tie. It was very difficult to find any positive customer reviews of either Starlink or Frontier when it comes to getting the help you need in a timely manner.

It’s important to keep in mind that reviews tend to focus on the negative, and happy customers don’t feel the need to post their satisfaction. So, it’s probably a good idea if one of these ISPs fits the rest of your needs, then keep customer service in mind as a side issue.

If you can get Frontier fiber, then this will be your winner between these two ISPs in the category of reliability. if you don’t have access to Frontier’s fiber connection, then Starlink would be the better choice.

If you’re in a rural area or not in the U.S., then Starlink is the obvious choice between these two companies. With a goal of providing global service and already serving over 40 countries and some areas where most people thought there would never be internet access, Starlink is on track to be the go-to ISP.

Overall, both of these ISPs have a lot to offer, and it really depends on your own personal situation and the access that you have. If you are in Texas, California, Florida, or Indiana, you have a good chance of getting Frontier fiber. If you have a clear view of the sky, you can expect Starlink to be available to you.

Up Next…

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the major difference between Starlink and Frontier?

The data transmission types are the main differences. Starlink is satellite and Frontier uses fiber and DSL technologies.

What are the benefits of Starlink?

The main benefits of Starlink internet are global coverage and access in areas where other providers can’t run fiber cables.

What is the major benefit of Frontier internet?

The main benefit of any ISP that offers fiber is the fact that, unlike satellite, you’re not going to have issues with obstructions or weather. A direct connection is always your best bet.

How much does Starlink cost?

The residential plan starts with an initial kit with your dish for $599 and is $110/ mo. thereafter. Business, RV, and other plans are much more expensive.

Who has the fastest internet, Starlink or Frontier?

Both companies offer great internet speeds. Just remember, with both ISPs, it will depend on your location. If you can only get Frontier DSL, you can expect much slower speeds.

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