2018 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.

    • TechHog

      It’s area-dependent. I’ve had some issues that needed fixing, but in general my speeds are 10% higher than rated speeds.

  • Ilana Torres

    worst company ever! awful customer service, worst I have ever experienced. First, they were difficult with scheduling the appointment time to get my wifi installed, then didnt bother to keep me updated with the time at which my technician was supposed to arrive. Lastly, technician didn’t show up at all and no one bothered to call and tell me that he wasn’t coming and didn’t have an appointment time until a WHOLE WEEK later. This is the most absurd thing I have ever experienced. Straight 0/5 stars from me. Going with a different company, do yourself a favor and do the same. Still waiting to recieve an apology from any single person I talked to on the phone.

  • CLASYS

    Have Optimum 100. Upload is typically 37, better than the nominal 34. Download speed is typically 116, sometimes occasionally better. Guess what? Many people have crappy routers and network cabling and wifi bottlenecks and are just too crabby to understand they need an upgrade. Don’t use the supplied router. It’s free and I can’t afford free.

    The states speed assumes I use a fast laptop with Cat 6 good quality cableing or I am using an advanced AC-rated router and a good laptop that is also 802.11AC rated. Many stupid users don’t get reported speeds because they have three-year-old stuff and ASSUME it’s good enough. IT IS NOT GOOD ENOCH, NOT EVEN CLOSE!. And you cannot just plug in USB. The overhead is TOO HIGH. The universe of AC-related wireless adapters in laptops is eve now very limited, thus for many it has to be wired connections as a prerequisite for even talking about these speeds. You cannot get throughput with the older 10/100 wiring, you MUST use 10/100/1000 cat 6 end-to-end, and many just don’t have it and expect magic.

    But if you use one of the newer top-of-the-line routers that ac AC rated AND your laptop is also rated that fast, you are OK. For others, you have to get a wireless ethernet bridge that is AC rated and wire that to your laptop’s 10/100/1000 net cable connection.

    Anything less than that and you are the bottleneck, not Optimum. I think they don’t explain any of this very well, so they probably get low marks for that aspect of initial customer service; the installer should be able to steer you to someone who can explain why your equipment is the problem, and a service laptop plugged directly into the cable modem confirms the speed is there, but the bottleneck is your problem past that.

  • Pretty_Gifted

    I don’t know who wrote this review but Optimum is the worst. Their internet isn’t all that and the cable is so so, also they really don’t like to work with their customers on certain issues, even if you’ve been a customer for decades… Over them!!!

    • moshe neustadt

      i use optimum basic 10 and it sure is good enough to stream games and watch movies. try it out before you waste money money on more

  • David Silva

    Called customer service: Lady #1 Teresa (very nice) , guarantees 3 separate times that retention will lower my bill to $125 because I have 2 friends that pay the same and i REALLY didn’t my the phone option, haven’t for 3 years but they kept telling me it was best value, says there’s a double play option that i can get into. Retention department #2 forgot to get name, tells me he cant lower my bill or take off the phone because i will actually pay more if i do that. That he cannot offer me or put me in the double play option ( I know he can) . Says businesses are businesses and they will be here long after I leave or cancel
    (well that sounds like they care about mew a lot) The reason my friends bills are probably lower is because they signed up with a different promotion so even though I’ve been with you guys for longer you are going to charge me more because they just incentive them to get in the door. He understood where i was coming from but said he could do nothing for me when I know he can, these are the people you put in your front lines to keep customers. They are just
    telling us we are nothing and it doesn’t matter if we leave, they don’t even try to sound like there thinking of ways to help us.

    Any company I’ve worked for and deal with gives you a further discount for being more long term, not charge you more. Its nuts that instead of just honoring the rate they would rather lose me which i told him I’m canceling at the end of my promotion. Like they said the business will keep doing these deals to get more customers and i get that. But man it doesn’t seem like you guys care about us as customers at all once we are in the door. Very Dissatisfied customer. David Silva – Edison NJ

  • JerseyResident

    Optimum is a horrible provider. I have had multiple problems with my billing and unexplained charges. If you have the opportunity to be serviced by a different provider I highly recommend that option.

  • mike solanchick

    I had optimum installed last week what a mistake. they gave me a 3 hr. window from 1100am to 200pm .needless to say tech. never showed so I called twice to find out the problem but I had to wait till 4:25 before they called me back to tell me tech. would not be coming today. 5 1/2 hrs of my time wasted. I made an appoint. for the next morning and even though I requested to be the first cust. they put me with a 8:00 to11:00 window and did not show up till 12:00 noon wasting another 4 hrs plus 1 1/2hrs install bringing it to a total of 11 hrs of my time wasted waiting for optimum. I notified that I expected some sort of compensation for my wasted time an the least they could do is throw the modem in free for a year. After 2 days and 2 supervisors donna and julio called back and offered me $ 20.00 for my 11hr. wait. I told him that offer was an insult and that he could keep the $20,00. I also notified that in about 3 months I will be leaving since your treatment of customers and customer service is that of a third world country.

  • Miles

    TERRIBLE COMPANY. Terrible service. Steady bill increases with false hidden fees. Every customer rep. I have ever talked to on the phone (once I got ahold of one) was completely condescending and rude. My basic internet package increased steadily every couple months without notice or explanation. I am finally done with with this company. Internet providers are few, but I guess I’d rather go with even Verizon and get knowingly screwed, than get screwed by a sneaky company like this.

  • Delicatly

    Hello. Optimum is working well for me. Just got my install today. They gave me a window from 11- 2pm. The service rep arrived at 12pm. He was courteous and fast. He even took off his shoes when I asked if they had shoe covers like Verizon offered. He went in and out my balcony veranda as well and put his shoes to go outside and off when he came inside. Did this 3 or 4 times (bless him).

    I ordered optimum internet alone and I am pleased with the low price, reliability and fast internet. So far so good. I recommend them. Thank you for the review above because this helped me give optimum a try.

  • Cathy

    Interesting that they say this below when it isn’t true. If you cancel within your billing cycle you have to pay for the entire cycle!@

    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.

  • dana

    love optimum services but hate that they dont care for their existing customers. they think they can rule you as they are the only providers in your area. Initial promotion is great, but after 1 year their prices go way high and you not eligible for any new offers as now you are old customer. government should stop such monopoly market.

  • TWM

    “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.”

    Uh, I have Optimum 60 internet and Value TV. The prices are $54.95 (Optimum 60) and $64.95 (Optimum Value) = $119.90/mo., not $79.95. And that’s before the added $35.10 in fees, surcharges, and taxes. You must be quoting a teaser, limited-time new customer offer.

  • Morris NJ

    Beware- It took us one month (yes you read right) of sitting around on weekends waiting for a service technician to show up. They will push your appointments back, cancel, reschedule all while you sit around waiting like an idiot. We were without wifi for two months total. We weren’t around for several weeks during that period and called when we got back, but since we didn’t call and complain about not having service sooner, they “couldn’t verify that our service had been interrupted”. So, no refund.

    Any time you have an issue, call and complain that second if you can so that they have a record. Not happy with Optimum AT ALL. Will be changing soon to a different provider.

    Located in NJ

  • Jase Yiu

    Absolute worst in the area, service down 3rd time in 2 weeks. Each time is almost half a day. I’m setting up Verizon Fios in the building next week.

  • dimitris

    The only advice I can give you is DO NOT even try optimum. Long story but I had a really really bad experience from service to customer service and their attitude was the worst….. I just went to FIOS

  • Miriam V. Liciaga

    Have been an optimum customer for quite some time, but as of lately, BOTH the company & the service have become an unacceptable scalping enterprise in terms of the money I’m bleeding out while ending up with VERY little to show for it. Had to cancel some commitments to schedule a service appointment for Sunday, December 31 from 2-5 PM. Received several calls reminding me of my appointment with them, but the MOST unsavory call came in a little after 4 PM to advise us the technician would not be making it today due to an insufficient number of technicians available. This means that Optimum has ZERO consideration for their valuable customers who consistently and faithfully pay their bills on time to sustain this unprofessional corporation, but it’s habitually FAILING consumers who are adding funds to its coffers. I will be reporting Optimum for this shabby, unprofessional, and outrageous practice through BBB. NYS Attorney General’s Office, and Consumer Affairs; perhaps Optimum needs a little help from as many unsatisfied consumers as possible so it can finally get its act together and consistently begin to provide quality and timely service to consumers who are carrying the financial load month after month to keep it in business!!!!

  • Bernadette Hilway

    I HAVE ALL TOP OF THE LINE EQUIPMENT. MY INTERNET IS EITHER SLOW, WAITING OR NON EXISTENT. I REBOOT EVERYTHING, AND STILL HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM. MY HOME PHONE GOES OUT WITH IT. CALL OPTIMUM USING MY CELL AND I AM ON HOLD FOREVER AND END UP HANGING UP. I DUMPED MY SILVER PACKAGE. JUST HAVE BASIC. I MOSTLY WATCH WHAT IS ON MY FIRESTICK. IAM IN THE PROCESS OF PORTING MY PHONE NUMBER TO GOOGLE VOICE. THEN I WILL GO TO FIOS JUST FOR INTERNET.

  • Miriam V. Liciaga

    Have been an optimum customer for quite some time, but as of lately, BOTH the company & the service have become an unacceptable scalping enterprise in terms of the money I’m bleeding out while ending up with VERY little to show for it. Had to cancel some commitments to schedule a service appointment for Sunday, December 31 from 2-5 PM. Received several calls reminding me of my appointment with them, but the MOST unsavory call came in a little after 4 PM to advise us the technician would not be making it today due to an insufficient number of technicians available. This means that Optimum has ZERO consideration for their valuable customers who consistently and faithfully pay their bills on time to sustain this unprofessional corporation, but it’s habitually FAILING consumers who are adding funds to its coffers. I will be reporting Optimum for this shabby, unprofessional, and outrageous practice through BBB. NYS Attorney General’s Office, and Consumer Affairs; perhaps Optimum needs a little help from as many unsatisfied consumers as possible so it can finally get its act together and consistently begin to provide quality and timely service to consumers who are carrying the financial load month after month to keep it in business to perpetuate empty promises!!!!

  • Regina Camilletti

    Are you serious? Optimum is IMPOSSIBLE. The User ID they gave me is not recognized when I try to create an account or Log in (on the off chance that they created one for me after instillation???) I can’t create a new one bcs that screen directs you to a dead end. I have found 2 potential local “service” phone numbers. The first is nothing more than a commercial that I sat on hold to hear!!! No prompts, no help! The other is constantly busy. Another phone # I tried recognizes my account phone number but reject my response that it is correct. Optimum promised us a credit for Netflix which we have not gotten and have no way to ask about.

  • Regina Camilletti

    We are paying for a land-line which we can’t reach Optimum to set up! I can’t live chat with them bcs. they ask for a sign in and I cant establish and account as stated!!! We have had Cox, Comcast, Fios and others/ nevetr this ridiculous black out. Not paying the next bill, will they respond then? Maybe if they have an office I will go there with a big sign that says, ” Optimum sucks! You willing to talk to me now?”

  • john

    The worst company ever! I would rate them less then one star.

  • john

    The Worst costumer service!!! Waiting for a technician for three days in a row in vain and only thing they say that they can reschedule the appointment again because they couldn’t make it. I would give them not a single star.

  • Kevin Lim

    Reliable service and good speed, but tacky business.
    They increase the price after the first year and every few months there after. I started with $39.99/mo and they increased charge every year until $75.29/mo for just Internet access. Despite multiple attempts to reduce my bill they refused to give me some discount. However, they still offer $39.99 for new customers, but existing customers pay $70+. I finally cancelled it and switched to Verizon. When I called to cancel, they offer me $39 for the same service. I already got my contract, so I refused, they put me on hold and came back saying they still have to charge me until the end of the month. That’s another $40 extra. They pro-rate for new services, but not for cancel service. That just sneaky. I was thinking of returning after my VZ contract ends, but their business plan is sneaky and focuses on short term money making. If you plan to sign up their service, uses the same tactic to your advantage (use for first year) and switch. Another sneaky tactic is their wireless router you installed at home broadcasts their SSID, in addition of your Wifi SSID. Basically, you are helping power their hot-spot infrastructure. I think it’s a great idea, I just hate the fact that they don’t tell you. You can check this by scanning the Wifi network near your Wifi router, you will see optimumwifi SSID with full signal strength. Power off your router, and check the signal for that SSID again.

  • Robert Luber

    Lousy service, bad tech support, which you need a lot of because the equipment is bad, but the worst part is the unethical business behavior. I cancelled finally because of all the stress, and now they’re chasing after me for a bill allegedly for unreturned equipment, but I returned the modem and router and got a receipt for it. This has been going on for months! Thank God I switched to Verizon Fios (no, I’m not a shill working for Verizon). Much better service and at least you know they won’t try to rob you. Bottom line: Optimum basically bad on all points, hardware, tech support, service, and honesty and reliability. So many complaints online, and with consumer affairs! Why isn’t there a way to make a class-action against these people?

  • NewBrunswickUsedToBeNice

    As of 1/18, the bill states Optimum 60 is $59.95 (this is a temporary price including a $5 promo discount, I have not been told when the price will be raised to $64.95) + $5.95 for the modem. If you buy a modem, even what Optimum recommends (Arris TM822G)… they will state it does not register “for some reason”.

  • Jase Y

    Worst internet service provider in Brooklyn area, disconnect my service and told me they can’t get it back up in 4-6 hours. Company like this is what makes NYC a horrible place to live in.

  • elena

    oh more than happy to join this discussion
    NO INTERNET, PHONE or anything available since this morning 10:15am 1/22/18
    there was no storm, no rain, no snow, no ballistic missile, no nuclear attack no loss of power – except for optimum online being incompetent in their maintenance of services, equipment or anything else – these guys only take the money promise that they do what they are mandated by the FCC and DO NOT DELIVER ANYTHING

    upload and download SILCH NADA ZIP NOTHING!