The TV Nerd's Take

Charter Spectrum Internet plans are a good choice for sports fans, cord cutters, and bundle shoppers. Frontier has better TV packages in their “Frontier FiOS” areas, but falls behind on network quality and customer service.

To check availability at your address or sign up for service, call (844) 356-4246 for Charter Spectrum or (855) 231-5629 for Frontier.

This comprehensive comparison focuses on the similarities and differences between Charter and Frontier Communications. I’ll walk through speeds, TV options, and cost to help you understand which makes more sense for your situation.

Charter Spectrum’s Internet plans and bundles offer zippy internet speeds and comprehensive TV offerings at above-average prices. Frontier actually has faster speeds in their fiber “Fios” areas, but I’ve personally been disappointed by their customer service.

Frontier is essentially a budget option with average Internet speeds and above-average TV channel selection. However, Frontier TV plans can become quite expensive if you want to add on sports, international channels, and other premium packages. Spectrum has more TV “out of the box” in my experience.

With both providers, the best sign-up deals are available over the phone. However, Charter Spectrum lets customers sign up online as well.

Core Comparison
 Charter SpectrumFrontier Communications
Pricing$44.99$20.00
Average Download Speed48.9511.82
Netflix Ranking842
Major Cities Los Angeles, New York, San Antonio, Dallas Rochester, Fort Wayne, Durham, Beaverton
States Served 43 States including California, Texas, New York, Ohio and North Carolina 38 States including California, Connecticut, Florida, Texas and Indiana

Charter Pros and Cons

Setup Service
For information on availability at your address or to sign up for service, call (844) 356-4246.

Pros

  • Flat Rate DVR Service
  • No contracts
  • Faster internet speeds

Cons

  • Low channel counts
  • More expensive than Frontier
  • Fewer internet-only options
There are benefits and drawbacks to each service Charter offers. The company has the advantage when it comes to internet speeds, but they don’t offer as many plans outside of bundles as other providers do. The flat rate for DVR service is a nice touch, but Charter TV offers fewer channels than competitors. Full listings of Charter’s TV packages can be found at their site (these will vary by location).

Frontier Communications Pros and Cons

Setup Service
To check availability at your address or sign up for service, call (855) 231-5629.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Great rural coverage
  • More TV Channels

Cons

  • Fewer sports options
  • No mobile hotspots
  • Slower internet

Frontier generally has more TV options, but falls behind in sports coverage. The provider remains the premier option when it comes to rural coverage, and their prices are more than reasonable for basic Internet access.

Despite the increased coverage, Frontier falls behind in internet speeds due to their reliance on DSL. Their “Frontier Fios” fiber areas, however, have much stronger performance and you should almost certainly go with a Frontier Fios plan if they have them in your area. (call (855) 231-5629 to check current availability.)

Network Comparison

When comparing Frontier Communications’ and Charter’s internet, it’s important to distinguish between the type of network each provider offers.

Frontier Communications uses DSL, or Digital Subscriber Lines, for the majority of their network.

When compared to more modern systems like cable or fiber internet, DSL really falls behind in speed. While definitely a viable option for general internet browsing, Frontier Internet speeds can struggle to support 4K streaming and online gaming. It’s plenty for basic Netflix binging, but I’d pick Charter if you watch a lot of online video.

Charter, on the other hand, has a cable network. This network uses coaxial cables used for television content to deliver internet service. As mentioned above, cable is significantly faster than the DSL offered by Frontier.

Generally, if your primary concern is quality internet you’re going to be a lot better off with Charter.

Charter vs Frontier Communications Internet performance

Charter
PlanDownload (Mbps)Upload (Mbps)Data
Charter Internet (bundle)604Unlimited
Charter Internet Only604Unlimited
Ultra Internet1005Unlimited
Frontier Communications
PlanDownload (Mbps)Upload (Mbps)Data
Simply Broadband Max61Unlimited
Simply Broadband Ultra121Unlimited
Simply Broadband Ultimate241Unlimited
Fios Internet 50/505050Unlimited
Fios Internet 100/100100100Unlimited

Bundled services

Roku remote.
If you don’t want to bundle TV service, Spectrum’s unlimited streaming policy makes it a great “cord cutter” choice for streaming Netflix, Hulu, and etc on a Roku. My nephew has this setup on a widescreen at his house and the picture quality is great.
Both Charter and Frontier Communications offer bundle deals that incentivize signing up for multiple services.

Charter’s bundle deals save a huge amount of money, actually making it a much better deal to get internet and TV together than it would be to get just internet. This is both a pro and a con, as it makes it a little more pricey to buy just internet when compared to the bundle. Still, Charter comes out ahead when it comes to internet and Wi-Fi just because of their faster speeds. (With the exception of Frontier Fios areas.)

Frontier also offers double and triple play option that make their already reasonable prices even more affordable. While you won’t get the same speeds as you will on Charter, you’ll get a more comprehensive TV service for a lower price.

Charter vs Frontier Communications TV service

Charter

  • Good sports options
  • Over 200 HD channels
  • Mobile viewing with the Spectrum TV app
  • Flat rate for DVR service
  • Over 10000 on-demand choices

Frontier Communications

  • Larger amount of entertainment options
  • Up to 560 channels with premium plans
  • Frontier TV Everywhere allows mobile viewing
  • Multiple delivery options for viewers in rural areas

Frontier actually offers better TV coverage outside of the sports category. However, Charter is not without its benefits. With large amounts of HD content and a flat rate for up to four DVRs, Charter definitely delivers when it comes to TV service.

Sports Packages

Charter

  • Comprehensive sports coverage with options like ESPN, Fox Sports, NFL Network, NFL RedZone, MLB Network, NBC Golf and more.
  • Additional individual options like NHL Center Ice, NBA League Pass, MLS Direct Kick
    and MLB Extra Innings available for an extra fee.

Frontier Communications

  • Sports package covers many sports like soccer, golf, baseball, college sports, basketball, and soccer.
  • On-demand sports content available for an additional fee.

Although both providers offer decent sports coverage, Charter has slightly more options despite Frontier’s generally higher amount of channels.

Equipment Differences

Frontier Communications has a basic DVR that allows you to watch shows in multiple rooms (for an additional fee) and record up to 4 different programs at once. While these features are nice, they’re relatively standard as far as DVR offerings go.

Charter, on the other hand, offers DVR service for up to four rooms for one low monthly fee. This sets it apart from a lot of providers who generally charge extra per additional DVR. Like Frontier, there isn’t anything spectacular about the DVR and you only have one option, but the savings make Charter the winner in the equipment section.

For internet equipment, Charter also provides a modem free of charge while Frontier charges a monthly fee. Both providers allow you to purchase your own internet equipment as well.

Spectrum Wins on Faster Internet and Better Sports

Charter is definitely the king when it comes to internet speeds, with a cable network blazing past Frontier’s DSL. The sports options for Charter are generally a little more comprehensive, too, which makes the provider the better buy for sports fans.

Frontier Offers Budget Prices and More Channels

If the maximum amount of channels is important to you, Frontier offers more than twice as many options as Charter does. (That said, many of these are “fluff” channels like those weird radio TV channels for piping in music.) It’s a great option if you’re looking for the absolute lowest price on basic Internet and a wide variety of family-oriented digital TV.

Equipment and Installation Considerations

Installation for both providers is relatively the same, and mainly involves just hooking up your devices to the network. Both providers offer self-installation kits free of charge.

Frontier’s professional installation costs range from free to around $75 depending on which plan you’ve purchased, while Charter costs anywhere from free to $35.

TV Nerd Humbly Recommends: Charter, for faster internet speeds and better sports options

Although Frontier offers generally more comprehensive TV coverage, they fall behind Charter when it comes to sports options and availability. Add to that the fact that Charter’s internet speeds are much faster, and it’s clear to see why Charter has the advantage.

With how widespread streaming and online gaming has become, DSL connections just no longer cut it. If you’re in the market for just a TV service or are a “light” web user, Frontier Communications may serve you just fine.

As you can see from the benefits and drawbacks of each service, it’s pretty clear that which service is “best” is largely a personal decision. Though I recommend Charter in this review, at the end of the day, both providers can get the job done for most people.

If you’re currently trapped in a multi-year contract and trying to switch, Charter is currently offering to pay up to $500 to break you out of the contract if you sign up for their service. This is a great perk for customers stuck in locked-in legacy DSL plans.

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