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Optimum Internet Plans: Pricing, Speeds and Availability Compared

 Optimum Internet Plans: Pricing, Speeds and Availability Compared


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Optimum home internet rating

Pros

  • High speeds with competitive pricing
  • No data caps, no contracts
  • Two-year price guarantee
  • Fiber service available to 2.7 million homes

Cons

  • Low customer satisfaction score
  • Slow upload speeds for cable internet customers

Best Optimum fiber internet plans

Plan Monthly price Max speeds Fees and service details
Fiber 300 $60 for 12 months, $70 after 300Mbps down, 300Mbps up No equipment fees, data caps or contracts
Fiber 500 $80 for 12 months, $90 after 500Mbps down, 500Mbps up No equipment fees, data caps or contracts
Fiber 1 Gig $100 for 12 months, $110 after 1,000Mbps down, 1,000Mbps up No equipment fees, data caps or contracts
Fiber 2 Gig $120 for 12 months, $130 after 2,000Mbps down, 2,000Mbps up No equipment fees, data caps or contracts
Fiber 5 Gig $180 for 12 months, $200 after 5,000Mbps down, 5,000Mbps up No equipment fees, data caps or contracts
Fiber 8 Gig $280 for 12 months, $300 after 8,000Mbps down, 8,000Mbps up No equipment fees, data caps or contracts

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Best Optimum cable internet plans

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Plan Monthly price Max speeds Fees and service details
300Mbps $40 for 12 months, $70 after 300Mbps down, 20Mbps up No equipment fees, data caps or contracts
500Mbps $60 for 12 months, $90 after 500Mbps down, 20Mbps up No equipment fees, data caps or contracts
1 Gig $80 for 12 months, $110 after 1,000Mbps down, 35Mbps up No equipment fees, data caps or contracts

Optimum offers either cable or fiber-optic internet depending on where you live. Available speeds and pricing will vary by the connection type at your address. Most customers will have access to cable service, but approximately 2.7 million households are eligible for fiber.

Though Optimum’s fiber plans are priced higher than its cable service for comparable speeds, fiber plans are the better internet deal, especially after the standard pricing goes into effect after the first year.

Fiber internet comes with symmetrical upload and download speeds, generally better reliability and more high-speed internet options. Optimum’s fiber internet offers multigig plans up to 2,000Mbps, 5,000Mbps and 8,000Mbps in select areas starting at $120, $180 and $280 per month, respectively. 

Such prices for home internet can understandably feel a bit steep compared to other internet plans, but Optimum’s multi-gig plans have a low cost per Mbps and are priced as well as or better than competing providers. AT&T, for example, has higher pricing on its 2-gig and 5-gig plans while Frontier’s 2-gig plan starts at $110 a month.

No data caps, no contracts

Optimum internet is free of data caps and contracts, regardless of the service type or plan. That’s a nice contrast to rival cable internet providers like Cox and Xfinity, which may charge overage fees up to $50 or higher for going over your data allowance.

The no-contract requirement is another nice perk compared to Cox and Xfinity, which typically require a term agreement of at least one year to get the lowest pricing. 

How many members of your household use the internet?

Optimum Wi-Fi equipment and fees

The Optimum device you get depends on the plan you choose and the network type (cable or fiber). Select Optimum plans and those in fiber markets may come with a Wi-Fi 6 router.

Optimum now offers WiFi 6E gateways and extenders for internet plans with speeds of 1 Gig and above. Such devices can offer better Wi-Fi performance than older routers, so you may have a better experience with your Optimum equipment than others depending on the device you get.

As for installation, a standard install is included at no extra cost when you order online. If you’d prefer professional installation, including Wi-Fi configuration on up to six devices and hardwiring on one device, it’ll add a modest $59 to your initial costs.

Using your own equipment

Optimum is one of several providers that allow you to use your equipment. If you go that route, you’ll need to have a compatible modem and router ready at the time of installation. Keep in mind that using your own equipment will limit service upgrades and technical support. 

Optimum home internet availability

FCC map of Optimum coverage nationwide FCC map of Optimum coverage nationwide

FCC/Mapbox

Optimum covers two boroughs in the greater New York City area — Brooklyn and the Bronx — and just a stretch beyond. North to south, serviceability runs from Dutchess County, New York, to Toms River, New Jersey. East to west, Optimum is available from the tip of Long Island and past Bridgeport, Connecticut, to a sliver of Pennsylvania along the New Jersey border.

Since parent company Altice united Suddenlink and Optimum coverage areas under the Optimum brand, coverage has expanded to include 21 total states. Outside of the greater New York City area, Optimum is now available in parts of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Texas and West Virginia, among others. 

It’s primarily cable, with some fiber mixed in

As mentioned above, Optimum primarily uses a cable or cable hybrid network to deliver service. Cable isn’t necessarily bad as it can offer gigabit download speeds, but the technology fails to compare to the speed and consistency you get with a fiber connection.

An Optimum spokesperson tells CNET that Optimum FTTH service is already available to more than 2.7 million homes, around a tenth of those serviceable for Optimum internet, with more to come as “fiber deployment continues at a rapid pace.”

How does Optimum compare?

In the greater New York City area, there is a little overlap between Optimum and cable providers Spectrum and Xfinity. For the most part, Optimum has lower introductory pricing than both, and the lower pricing comes with faster speeds. Optimum and Verizon Fios are more closely matched, and share a much larger coverage area.

Optimum vs. Verizon Fios

Optimum and Verizon Fios share much of the same service areas in greater New York City, so pricing, speeds and service terms stay relatively competitive between them.

Optimum has the advantage of lower plan pricing, at least until the standard pricing kicks in. After the first year, Verizon Fios is likely to be the cheaper option.

Neither Optimum nor Verizon burden customers with equipment fees, data caps or contracts.

All things considered, Optimum and Verizon Fios are closely matched. If introductory pricing drives your decision, Optimum is likely to be your better option, but if standard pricing, fast upload speeds and high customer satisfaction are more of a concern, you may want to consider Verizon Fios.

Optimum versus ISPs in other service areas

A good rule of thumb is fiber internet is better than cable and cable is better than DSL. If you have a fiber service from AT&T, Quantum Fiber, Frontier, Kinetic or others available at your address, the speed, reliability and overall value it presents is probably higher than what you’ll get from Optimum’s cable internet.

On the other hand, if the competing provider to Optimum in your area only offers a DSL connection (many of the aforementioned fiber providers also have large DSL networks), Optimum is likely to be the better choice for speed, reliability and value.

The wild card here is 5G home internet, which has recently added some much-needed competition to the broadband space, thanks to providers like T-Mobile, Verizon and now AT&T. Although maximum speeds are currently a bit lower with 5G home internet compared to cable, the pricing and service terms are as good as you’ll find.

If you’re looking for alternatives to Optimum and fiber isn’t available in your area, I’d recommend checking to see if your address is serviceable for 5G home internet.

ACSI 2024 rankings for US customer satisfaction with fiber internet service providers ACSI 2024 rankings for US customer satisfaction with fiber internet service providers

ACSI

About that customer satisfaction

Optimum checks just about every box when it comes to what we at CNET look for in a quality internet provider, but there’s one box that consistently remains blank: customer satisfaction. Despite the competitive pricing, fast speeds and other perks, Optimum lingers at the bottom of customer satisfaction reports from sources like the American Customer Satisfaction Index and J.D. Power.

The ACSI divided its results by fiber and nonfiber providers in 2023, but this year was the first to include Optimum as a fiber provider. It did not impress, earning a score of 66 out of 100, a full 10 points below the category average and six points below the next-closest ISP (Kinetic, 72).

Considering this is Optimum’s first ACSI appearance as a fiber provider, I’m tempted to cut the company some slack, but it’s hard to get past the ISP’s history of poor customer satisfaction.

As a nonfiber provider, Optimum had the lowest ACSI score (58/100) of any major ISP in 2023. Though the provider did manage to improve in 2024, its new score of 63 still falls well below the category average (68) and the scores of competing cable providers including Cox, Spectrum and Xfinity. Mediacom was the only cable ISP to receive a lower score than Optimum.

Image of J.D. Power's customer satisfaction rating for the East region in 2023. Image of J.D. Power's customer satisfaction rating for the East region in 2023.

J.D. Power

Optimum also did not fare well with J.D. Power, which gave the provider a score of 661/1,000 in 2023. The score, again, fell short of the industry average and lands last in the region, but it was at least an improvement over 2022’s score of 642.

Why the low customer satisfaction?

The ACSI and J.D. Power both rate ISPs on a variety of customer experience indicators, such as speed, performance during peak hours and call center satisfaction. The reports do not show how each provider scored in each category, so it’s difficult to tell exactly where Optimum showed the biggest needs for improvement.

A brief look at the Reddit page for Optimum discussion hints at issues ranging from high prices and unclear billing to poor customer support and substandard equipment. Many comments on sites like Reddit should be taken with a grain of salt, of course, but they may help shed some light on common pain points Optimum customers experience.

Optimum internet, in summary

If Optimum is available in your area, it’s likely to be one of your better internet options, at least on paper. Optimum offers a variety of download speeds from 300Mbps to 8,000Mbps in select areas, for introductory pricing lower than or about the same as you’ll find from most competitors with similar speed tiers. Optimum’s 500Mbps plan is probably the best all-around plan when it comes to speed and value, but perks like unlimited data, free equipment rental and a two-year price guarantee make any Optimum plan worth considering.

Just keep in mind: there’s probably a good reason (or two, or three) that the ISP has not fared well in customer satisfaction in recent years. 

Optimum home internet FAQs

How do I get in touch with Optimum customer service?

Optimum technical support is available 24/7, while general customer service is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Optimum customer service number varies by location. Find the appropriate number at optimum.net/support/phone-list. You can also find answers to common questions and live chat with an Optimum customer service representative here.


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What is Optimum Advantage Internet?

Optimum Advantage Internet is a discounted internet service available to qualifying Optimum customers. The plan comes with download speeds up to 50Mbps and upload speeds up to 3Mbps, starting at around $15 per month. Equipment is included at no additional cost and as with all Optimum internet plans, there is no data cap or contract.


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What happened to Cablevision?

Altice acquired networks previously operated by Cablevision in 2016. Since the acquisition, Altice has transitioned service in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania to the Optimum brand.


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