Optimum Internet Review

Optimum’s prices are good (for an ISP), there’s no contract, and its download speeds are delivered as advertised. Optimum isn't available everywhere, but if you can get it, we recommend it.

Optimum best for streaming
Optimum’s prices are good (for an ISP), there’s no contract, and its download speeds are delivered as advertised. Optimum isn't available everywhere, but if you can get it, we recommend it.
Overall Rating4.3 out of 5
Lowest Price:
$24.95/mo
Best Plan:
Optimum 60 Plan
Frustration Level:
Low

THE BOTTOM LINE: Optimum (a.k.a. Cablevision) internet service is worth checking out if you can get your hands on it—as of January 2017, it’s only available in the Tri-State area. Optimum doesn’t require a contract, has competitive pricing, and delivers on advertised speed.

Is Optimum Right for Me?

YES

  • If you want no-contract internet
  • If you want cheap, basic internet

NO

  • If you want to add TV service
  • If you live outside of New Jersey, New York, or Connecticut

Is Optimum available in your area?

Great no-contract internet in a small area

If you live in the Tri-State area (NY, NJ, CT), there’s a good chance you can get Optimum internet service; everyone else is out of luck. Although Optimum probably has the smallest footprint of any provider we’ve reviewed, its no-contract internet service, better-than-average pricing, and download speeds of up to 300 Mbps make it an ISP we can recommend.

We’re big fans of no-contract internet, so Optimum gets major points for not getting its customers stuck in one- or two-year contracts. For example, if you were to cancel your internet with AT&T U-verse before the contract is up, you can pay upwards of $180 in an early termination fee (ETF). Yikes! And some internet service providers (ISPs) even charge extra if you want no-contract service—ahem, Comcast ($10 a month extra). If we have to choose between a contract and no-contract provider, we almost always go for the latter.

Things that matter most: speed and price

Optimum’s most basic internet service (Optimum 10) starts at $24.95 a month without a contract. It only has 10 Mbps download speed,  but that may be enough for one person. If you don’t do much more than check Facebook and browse the web, you’ll be okay with 10 Mbps.

If it’s just you and you’re wondering if you can still watch Hulu with Optimum’s basic plan, we’d say you’re pushing your luck; if you’re going to watch streaming content, you should get a faster plan to play it safe. If you’re fine with waiting while downloading a movie, then no sweat, but a high-quality movie will take around 20 minutes to download. Still, $24.95 a month is a good price for basic internet. To compare, XFINITY’s 10 Mbps plan is $39.99 a month with no contract.

If you’re interested in more than basic internet, we found Optimum offered plenty of variety. Just in our area, we found five plans for the following download speeds and prices: 10, 60, 100, 200, and 300 Mbps, with prices ranging from $24.95 a month (the aforementioned Optimum 10) to $99.95 a month (the Optimum 300). Other ISPs offer speeds faster than 300 Mbps (Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T, among others), but most people don’t really need that much speed. You might as well save the money if you can. If you share your home with someone else, you can both watch Hulu on separate devices with no buffering on a 60 Mbps plan.

If you’re interested in more than basic internet, we found Optimum offered plenty of variety.

Because Optimum is cable internet, there is a concern that speeds can get bogged down during primetime hours. (Read up on how cable internet works here.) However, according to the FCC, Optimum (referred to as Cablevision in the report) is the best-performing ISP when it comes to delivering speeds as advertised. Optimum is rated higher than any other internet provider across all types of internet service: DSL, cable, fiber, and satellite. In short: you get the speed you pay for.

Optimum also has the highest upload speed for cable internet we’ve seen: 35 Mbps. Upload speed matters if you’re uploading large files (home movies, hi-res photos, etc.) to a website or the cloud and you don’t like to wait. If you don’t mind long upload times, don’t sweat it, but we were impressed. (To compare,  Suddenlink’s upload speed for its highest plan is a meager 7.5 Mbps.)

Good support makes happy customers

If you’re wondering about customer support, we gave Optimum a “low” for frustration level (that’s good). Getting help online was easy enough; we reached out through live chat and got the help we needed, including answers to our installation questions. And it’s not just us who thought Optimum did a good job: JD Power gave Optimum a solid five out of five for customer service. Also, when we reviewed customer feedback, we noticed a surprising amount of customers who expressed appreciation for Optimum after trying out other ISPs. In fact, many of those customers returned to Optimum or lamented that the service was not available in their new location.

Other odds and ends with Optimum

Optimum internet comes with some unique features, but the added benefit is questionable. For example, if you’re into local high school sports, each Optimum internet plan includes access to news12varsity.com, which has sports updates and streams live games. There’s also free access to Newsday (if that’s worth anything to you).

The most interesting feature is the inclusion of a free router with service … but a router is not a modem, and these days most people prefer the two-in-one approach: a modem-router combo, which we hoped would be standard by now (most ISPs do offer a modem router combo). You can rent a modem from Optimum, but we recommend getting your own. Just be sure to check with Optimum to see if the modem works with the service plan you want.

The takeaway

Optimum best for streaming

 A limited footprint keeps Optimum out of reach for most people, but it’s an internet service worth considering. It has low prices (compared to other ISPs) and it won’t get you locked into a contract.

Our Recommendation:

The Optimum 60 plan is our first pick. Its 60 Mbps download speed should be plenty for one person, and more than enough for two people. And it’s only $44.95 a month.

Other Options:

  • For $10 more than the 60 Mbps plan ($54.95 a month), you can get 100 Mbps download speed (Optimum 100 plan). It’s perfect for 2–3 who want to watch Youtube all at the same time.

  • You can add TV (Optimum Value TV) to your internet service (Optimum 60) for a total of $79.95 a month. That way you get TV and internet in one bill, if that’s how you want it.

Optimum unavailable? Find other ISPs near you.

  • Laszlo Fazekas

    Don’t be fooled with this review. It was probably written by an optimum rep or by a person read the marketing material only. I live in Connecticut where Optimum is the only choice beside the local telephone company (Frontier). Optimum is horrible. For home I’m on a “15Mbps” internet plan. Real download speed varies from 3Mbps to 9Mbps. Upload speed 0.2!!Mbps – 1.0Mbps. According to their tech support their services are all good but my computer has a virus. (Sure, on all my devices included iPhone and iPad.)
    I have a client. They operate a few gas stations so they have Optimum Business class services with fixed IP addresses, troubleshooting promises in less than 4 hours, 50Mbps download, etc. Sounds good, right? Well underground gas tank sensors communicate through fixed IP over the internet. It is a very interesting setup. Underground gas tank reports temperature, fuel level, water level, etc to operators. One day it stopped working. Needless to say it is a very serious issue. Gas stations had to manually check these readings locally on regular basis until issue is fixed. Troubleshooting easily showed that the meter’s communication ports were blocked by ISP. Optimum was phoned and kindly asked to reopen the blocked ports. 1 st Optimum Business rep did not understand the issue. 2nd rep denied the existence of the issue 3rd rep hung up on us. 4th rep escalated the issue to engineering team and promised 3 day turn around. 4 days later issue still persist so we phoned Optimum business again. They found no trace of the “ticket”. We had to go through another few reps and had to escalated the issue again. Long story short after 2+ weeks down, approx 15 hours on the phone with optimum we got lucky and were connected to a knowledgeable Optimum tech. Conversation went like this. So we need you to open these port for us pls or tell us how we can do it our self. Tech: oh it is easy click on this link, put in the port numbers and you are done. With the right support guy it was done in 5 minutes.
    I’m afraid I don’t recommend optimum. It is overpriced, unreliable and full with false promises.