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ByDanika Miller Internet & Entertainment Writer

Danika is currently covering the internet and entertainment beat. Her previous work lives in random corners of the internet and fiction anthologies hidden in university libraries.

Frontier FiOS internet is exclusively available in just five states: California, Idaho, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. These areas are typically ignored by other fiber-optic internet providers, so Frontier may be your only option for wicked fast speeds. The company pairs those plans with no data limits — perfect for a household of streamers, gamers, or people working from home. The biggest drawback about Frontier is its customer service. It rates worse than every other provider on the market. And in an already tumultuous landscape, that’s a pretty daunting feat. If Frontier’s value and packages match your household’s needs, prepare for potentially frustrating service and watch your bill closely.

The Claim

Frontier Communication’s website touts a bold promise — “Connection you can count on. We're the network you've been looking for. Get the home services you need from a company you can trust.” This would lead any consumer to assume Frontier offers reliable service, trustworthy communication, accurate billing, and no sneaky fees.

Is it true?

Frontier has a fair track record for offering reliable internet service, but we don’t quite trust its customer service promises.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), released its 2018 Fixed Broadband Report and detailed the percentage of customers whose average speed was near the advertised speed. Frontier’s fiber service did pretty well, with just about 80% of customers receiving 95% or more of the advertised speed. But it’s not quite as impressive as Verizon’s fiber service, with over 90% of its customers getting their advertised speeds. Frontier Fiber still outpaces the entire DSL category, Mediacom, Cincinnati Bell Fiber, and Viasat. We think this data speaks pretty strongly to Frontier’s reliability and a “connection you can count on.”

graph of Frontier FiOS download speeds. Frontier Internet speeds vs. what consumer is actually receiving.

However, we’d be wary to trust Frontier when it comes to other aspects of its service. In nearly every customer satisfaction survey, Frontier falls dead last. The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), gave it a 55/100 — and Frontier’s score has fallen each year since 2015. The average score for internet providers with the ACSI is a 62/100, and Verizon FiOS won the top spot with a 70/100, meaning Frontier falls significantly behind. Similarly, J.D. Power gave Frontier 2/5 in every region it hosts service. Even Consumer Reports readers placed the provider in the bottom four of 33 companies.

These metrics are a pretty clear indicator that customers aren’t happy with the way Frontier handles communications, tech support, and billing discrepancies. If you care a lot about customer service, Frontier is the last place you should look for service. But if your internet priorities are more about speed and value, Frontier can provide that.

Product Overview

Best for

Pacific Northwest residents, heavy internet users

Not for

Customer service, bundling services

Features

Price
Starting at $40 in most locations
Standout features
No data limits, good value, PNW availability
States serviced
California, Idaho, Oregon, Texas, Washington
Contract length
No-contract options, 12 months, or 24 months
J.D. Power rating
2/5
ACSI rating
55/100
Speeds available
50 Mbps, 100 Mbps, 200 Mbps, 300 Mbps, 500 Mbps, 1,000 Mbps

No-contract plans

You’ll have to call Frontier for specific details about the plan available in your area, but there are no-contract options for its internet plans. If you’re in a temporary living situation or aren’t sure you’ll love its service, you can cancel anytime without the burden of an early termination fee. Your monthly rate will likely be higher, but if Frontier raises its prices, you won’t be obligated to stay.

No data limits (sometimes)

One of our favorite things about Frontier’s fiber internet service is that it comes without data limits. If you’re the kind of internet user who needs speeds as fast as fiber-optic can offer (100Mbps +), then you likely need data allotments to keep up. Downloading, streaming, and browsing all use up data. Many providers will cap the amount of data you can use (typically at 1 TB), and then throttle your speeds if you go over — much like a cell phone plan. If you’re working from home, or have a household full of streamers, that 1 TB may not be enough. Some Frontier plans come without any data limits, a huge perk when paired with fiber speeds.

The only catch — it’s not available in all locations. For example, when researching Frontier we found the offer available in Los Angeles, but not in Bellevue, Washington. Before settling on the provider, we recommend entering your address into the Frontier site to know the exact plans available to you.

Fiber speeds, cable prices

If Frontier offers fiber-optic service to your address, most offers will start at just $40. The speed you get for that price could be as fast as 200 Mbps. At Comcast, you’d have to pay $5 more to get 50 Mbps less from cable internet. Fiber-optic technology transmits data using light and thin strands of glass — the result is faster uploads speeds and a more reliable connection.

Frontier's extra perks are pretty enticing too. If you order online, there’s a $100-$200 Visa Reward Card included in your package, although we found that offers varied depending on the address we entered. Some locations include a free year of HBO and others promise a two-year price guarantee. Regardless of the exact package available in your area, you’ll generally find a great value with Frontier.

Availability in the PNW

While Frontier has a presence in 38 states, only five are equipped with fiber-optic service. If you live in California, Idaho, Oregon, Texas, or Washington there’s a chance you could purchase fiber-optic internet from Frontier. Limited availability is pretty typical for fiber technology, but availability in the Pacific Northwest is pretty unique to Frontier. Verizon FiOS has exclusively built out infrastructure in East Coast while AT&T has fiber service in the Mideast and South, with some California presence. If you’re living on the West Coast and want fiber-fast internet, Frontier is your best chance.

Possible Drawbacks

Really bad customer service scores

When considering the customer service reputation for service providers, you’re likely quick to assume Comcast is the worst. Unfortunately, the facts point to Frontier being the worst-rated company for customer service. The ACSI places Frontier at the bottom of its internet provider rankings with a 55/100. Comcast scores an impressive 61/100 and Verizon FiOS tops the chart with 70/100. When Consumer Reports readers scored internet providers, Frontier barely beat out satellite providers, with poor scores across the board. Frontier also ranked last with J.D. Power in nearly every region with a 2/5. These third-party satisfaction surveys poll customers on things like performance, reliability, value, communication, and overall satisfaction. Low scores like the ones Frontier receive are a strong indicator that the company may disappoint you in customer service-related instances. But if you don’t mind a frustrating phone call here or there, its other perks may be worth trying Frontier’s service.

Barely any bundling

Typically, bundling your services like TV, internet, phone, and sometimes home security with one provider is an easy way to save money on each service. Compared to its competition, Frontier fails to offer enticing bundling options. The TV service you can pair with its internet will depend on where you live. In many locations, Frontier will contract its TV service out to DISH. This isn’t terrible news, as DISH offers great TV service, but adds to the general uncertainty about what you’ll be offered from Frontier. And regardless of the company providing the TV service you’re bundling with, you won’t have many options for the number of channels. Pair all that with Frontier’s limited fiber-optic availability, and your overall options end up pretty limited. Other internet providers, like AT&T, let you completely customize your service bundles. We prefer that flexible customization, so customers can choose what works for them — whether they need fast downloads and just a few channels, or all the premium networks and only a bit of browsing speed. If you’re looking for a provider that will make bundling multiple services simple, Frontier probably isn’t for you.

The Competition

Frontier FiOS
Verizon FiOS
AT&T Fiber
Connection type
Fiber
Fiber
Fiber
States serviced
5
9
21
Data cap
None
None
1 TB
Available speeds
50 Mbps - 1,000 Mbps
100 Mbps - 940 Mbps
100 Mbps - 1,000 Mbps
Contract length
None, 12 months, 24 months
None, 24 months
12 months
ACSI rating
55/100
70/100
69/100

Frontier Fiber vs. Verizon FiOS

There are a few big differences between Frontier and Verizon’s fiber-optic service. The most obvious differentiator is availability. Frontier offers services on the West Coast, while Verizon is exclusively in the East Coast and to more states in general. You’re unlikely to find yourself in a situation where you can choose between the two. The other big divider between them is customer service. Verizon consistently rates first for customer satisfaction, while Frontier consistently rates last. From Verizon, you can expect accurate billing statements, prompt resolutions, reliable service, and a fair value. With Frontier, those things are more of a gamble. But before you make any decisions, enter your address with both providers to see which can offer you fiber service.

Frontier Fiber vs. AT&T Fiber

Though both providers offer lighting fiber download and upload speeds, AT&T limits that internet usage with a data cap. After 1 TB of uploading, downloading, streaming, or browsing, AT&T will throttle your internet speeds. For some context, it takes about 363 GB of data to spend a week binge-watching “Friends.” Most people probably won’t need to worry about the data cap, but we appreciate Frontier’s “unlimited” data as it aligns with the spirit of fiber internet speeds. AT&T also far surpasses Frontier when it comes to customer service. There may be some overlap in availability between the two providers. If you have the chance to compare the two, audit your internet habits to find the best deal for you.

Frontier FiOS Internet FAQ

Is Frontier internet fiber-optic?

Sometimes. Depending on where you live, Frontier may offer fiber-optic or DSL internet. Its DSL internet is available in many more states (30-plus), while you’ll find its fiber-optic network in just five states (California, Idaho, Oregon, Texas, and Washington). DSL is a slower type of internet connection, often maxing out at around 10 Mbps. Enter your address into Frontier’s website to discover what kind of internet technology is available to you.

Is Frontier FiOS the same as Verizon FiOS?

The term “FiOS” itself is an acronym for “Fiber Optic Service.” In 2016 Frontier purchased some of Verizon’s fiber network in California and Texas, and kept the FiOS branding. Simply put, both providers use FiOS to refer to their fiber-optic services but are still completely different companies.

Where is Frontier internet available?

Only five states have access to Frontier FiOS internet — California, Idaho, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. But Frontier Communications is available in 38 states with its other services:

States Frontier Communication services
  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

The Bottom Line

If Frontier FiOS is available to your address, it’s worth considering for the fiber-fast speeds alone. The company also typically offers no data caps and a fair price. That said, Frontier is known for poor customer service, so we recommend weighing that against your other priorities. Bundling is better with other providers, but those with temporary service needs will benefit from Frontier’s no-contract plans. Compare more providers in our full review of the best fiber internet providers.

More Internet Reviews

We’ve spent years vetting and reviewing the nation’s largest internet providers. Check out our reviews on different types of internet and with a variety of focuses.

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