Live in the northeastern US? Optimum internet is worth considering thanks to low prices and a customer-friendly approach.
Optimum Internet Review 2023
Good news, northeasterners: Optimum internet is an excellent choice for cable or fiber internet in your area.
Along with some of the cheapest prices in the area, Optimum also comes with unlimited data and no contracts. It recently introduced fiber internet plans as well, which offer faster upload speeds and a more reliably fast connection. And from now until November, you can save on your internet service when you add a mobile plan.
But Optimum also has its downsides, like a very small service area and facepalm-worthy customer service. So let’s dig in and find out if Optimum is right for you.
Optimum regular internet prices
|500 Mbps Internet||$60/mo.*||Up to 500 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|1 Gig Internet||$70/mo.*||Up to 940 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|2 Gig Fiber Internet||$100/mo.*||Up to 2000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|5 Gig Fiber Internet||$165/mo.*||Up to 5000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|8 Gig Fiber Internet||$280/mo.*||Up to 8000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
**w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill plus taxes w/mobile plans. ($280/mo. without mobile plans.) Terms apply. Not available in all areas.
*Plan prices w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill plus taxes & equip. Charges. Terms apply. Not available in all areas.
Optimum prices and plans
At first glance, Optimum has a lot going for it: a wide variety of internet speeds—all at prices that won’t make your piggy bank squeal.
We like to see a lot of choices when it comes to internet speeds because it’s more likely you’ll find a plan that fits your needs. And you won’t overpay for unneeded speed or consider swapping to those AOL internet CDs because your connection is too slow.
As for prices, it’s rare to see prices this low for the speeds Optimum offers. And from now until November 5th, you can get Optimum's internet plans at an even lower price when you add a mobile plan. Here’s a quick peek at how much the ISP charges for each of its plans:
|300 Mbps Internet||$35/mo.**||Up to 300 Mbps||Cable||View Plan|
|500 Mbps Internet||$50/mo.^*||Up to 500 Mbps||Cable||View Plan|
|1 Gig Internet||$55/mo.†*||Up to 940 Mbps||Cable||View Plan|
|500 Mbps Fiber Internet||$40/mo.††*||Up to 500 Mbps||Fiber||View Plan|
|1 Gig Fiber Internet||$55/mo.^^*||Up to 940 Mbps||Fiber||View Plan|
|2 Gig Fiber Internet||$85/mo.^†*||Up to 2000 Mbps||Fiber||View Plan|
|5 Gig Fiber Internet||$165/mo.*||Up to 5000 Mbps||Fiber||View Plan|
|8 Gig Fiber Internet||$265/mo.^††||Up to 8000 Mbps||Fiber||View Plan|
^*($60/mo. without mobile plans.) Terms apply. Not available in all areas.
†*($70/mo. without mobile plans.) Terms apply. Not available in all areas.
††*($50/mo. without mobile plans.) Terms apply. Not available in all areas.
^^*($70/mo. without mobile plans.) Terms apply. Not available in all areas.
^†*($100/mo. without mobile plans.) Terms apply. Not available in all areas.
^††($280/mo. without mobile plans.) Terms apply. Not available in all areas.
If you’re asking, “What’s the catch?” right now, you’re not alone. As with most ISPs, Optimum imposes price increases after a year. Though the introductory pricing is quite affordable, you'll pay more after the initial 12 months. We're not surprised though, as this is pretty standard practice for most ISPs.
Optimum lists that prices are "subject to change" so you won't know exactly how much prices will increase, just that they will after a full year of service.
We recommend keeping an eye on your bill in case Optimum does need to raise prices due to economic changes or network maintenance. Because Optimum doesn’t require contracts, you can drop down to a cheaper internet plan with no penalty if your bill becomes too much.
Need help paying for Optimum internet?
If your budget is blown and you still need internet, there are a couple of options that can help you pay for Optimum:
Where is Optimum internet available?
Optimum’s extremely small service area is its biggest drawback. If you’re not a resident of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania, you won’t see Optimum around at all.
The map above shows states where Optimum internet service is available. Darker blue means it’s more likely you can get Optimum in that state, while lighter blue means Optimum is available only in small areas of that state.
Most of Optimum’s internet service is available in New Jersey, while New Yorkers and Connecticut residents are also likely to have it as an internet option. Residents of Matamoras, Pennsylvania , can also get Optimum internet service.
How does Optimum internet compare to Astound Broadband, Verizon Fios Home Internet, and others?
Compared to other internet providers in the Northeast, Optimum’s prices and speeds are right in line. Depending on what internet speed you need, Optimum might be the cheaper route.
Here’s a quick look at how Optimum’s minimum and maximum prices and speeds compare to AT&T Fiber, Astound Broadband, powered by RCN, and Verizon Fios Home Internet.
Download speed range
|Optimum Internet||$40-$165†||300-5000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|AT&T Fiber||$55-$250‡||300-5000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|Astound Broadband Powered by RCN||$25-$60^||300-1200 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|Verizon Fios Home Internet||$49.99-$119.99°||300-2300 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
One thing to note is that Optimum’s lowest price is for 300 Mbps download speeds.
You’ll notice in the table below that Optimum’s price for its 300 Mbps internet is cheaper than AT&T Fiber, Astound Broadband, and Verizon Fios Home Internet. So if the Optimum 300 plan is available in your area, we say listen to the Steve Miller Band’s advice and go on, take the savings and run.
|Optimum Internet East||500 Mbps Fiber Internet||$50/mo.*||Up to 500 Mbps||View Plans|
|AT&T Fiber||AT&T Internet 300||$55/mo.**||300 Mbps||View Plan|
|RCN Internet - New York||300 Mbps Internet||$25/mo.††||Up to 300 Mbps||View Plans|
|Verizon Fios Home Internet||Internet 300/300||$49.99/mo.°||300 Mbps||View Plans|
And if you need gig speeds, Optimum’s 1 Gig plans are the cheapest around, matched only by Astound Broadband (formerly RCN).
To recap, here’s how Optimum internet compares to AT&T Fiber, Astound, and Verizon Fios Home Internet:
- AT&T Fiber: AT&T Fiber’s slower plans, like Internet 300, are almost a match with Optimum in terms of value. But at faster speeds of 940 Mbps, Optimum provides more value with a lower monthly price.
- Astound Broadband, powered by RCN: In New York, Astound Broadband is another great value pick. Though some of Astound’s plans, like the 600 Mbps plan, cost slightly more per month than Optimum’s plans with the same download speeds.
- Verizon Fios Home Internet: Verizon’s monthly cost is a tad higher than Optimum’s, but you’ll get a slightly faster jolt of download speed. But if you’re looking at grabbing internet speeds of 400 Mbps or faster, Optimum quickly becomes a better choice.
Want to read more about Optimum and other ISPs in the Northeast? Check out these reviews:
Optimum internet speed and data
Optimum offers a wide range of internet speeds, making it easy to find a plan that fits your needs without charging you a boatload more.
We recommend 300 Mbps download speeds as a good starting point for most small families, and Optimum West offers 300 Mbps plans with its cable and fiber service.
If you need faster speeds for a larger household or an at-home business, Optimum’s internet goes up to 940 Mbps. That’s plenty of speed to keep you working, gaming, and streaming efficiently.
|300 Mbps Internet||Up to 300 Mbps||20 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
|500 Mbps Internet||Up to 500 Mbps||20 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
|1 Gig Fiber Internet||Up to 940 Mbps||Up to 940 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
|2 Gig Fiber Internet||Up to 2000 Mbps||Up to 2000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
|5 Gig Fiber Internet||Up to 5000 Mbps||Up to 5000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
|8 Gig Fiber Internet||Up to 8000 Mbps||Up to 8000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
Upload speeds, on the other hand, might cause you trouble. Optimum’s 300 Mbps plan comes with 20 Mbps upload speeds, which is the bare minimum recommendation for uploading large files and using Zoom.
If you use video chat to keep in touch with family or coworkers or run your home business, you may want to bump up to the Optimum 500 cable internet plan. Or better yet, grab an Optimum fiber internet plan if it’s available in your area.
Optimum makes data easy: you get an unlimited amount of data no matter which plan you pick. That’s a huge benefit when pretty much every electronic device uses data—including your home security system and cell phone.
- Optimum data cap: Unlimited
Optimum contracts, equipment, and fees
Need to change your internet plan to a cheaper one? Need more speed to keep up with new roommates? No worries. Optimum doesn’t require a contract, so you’re free to change your internet service as needed with no penalty.
As for equipment and installation, Optimum’s fees are pretty standard. Here’s a closer look at its rental equipment and fees.
Optimum’s modem-and-router gateway rental is included with most internet plans whether you have its cable or fiber internet service. That’s pretty great—most other internet providers charge $10 to $15 a month for their equipment.
Other equipment options include Smart Wi-Fi Extenders and Optimum Stream. The Wi-Fi extenders are a cheap addition that can help your Wi-Fi reach even the furthest corners. Optimum Stream is a great way to stream all of your apps in 4K, along with 50+ free channels.
- Optimum Gateway 6 fee: Included
- Wi-Fi extenders: $3 a month per extender
- Optimum Stream: $5 a month
Screenshot by author
If you prefer to use your own modem and router rather than the Optimum Gateway 6, you can choose one that you prefer. (Just be sure your new equipment works with your Optimum service.) We’ve got router recommendations that range from budget picks to gaming beasts.
Optimum’s fees are comparable to other large internet providers in the US. We recommend signing up for service online, sometimes Optimum offers discounted installation.
- Installation: $99.00-$149.99
- Service restoration fee (1–2 products): $10.00
- Service restoration fee (3+ products): $15.00
- Home wiring: $80.00 one-time fee if your home requires cables or wiring so the technician can install your internet
- Late payment fee: $10.00
Screenshot by author
Optimum customer service
Optimum’s customer satisfaction rating on the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report dropped from 60 out of 100 to 59 out of 100.1 Which puts it at the bottom of the list in terms of how satisfied customers are. Its HighSpeedInternet.com score also dropped from 3.6 out of 5 to 3.4 out of 5.2
|ACSI 2021–2022||59 out of 100|
|HighSpeedInternet.com||3.4 out of 5|
We have a feeling that your experience with Optimum’s customer service might be mixed. Poor customer service is an issue that most internet providers need to work on.
While the ISPs are getting their act together, here are some tips on dealing with internet customer service reps that should keep you from throwing your cell phone across the room in anger.
On a somewhat related note, one excellent feature we saw on Optimum’s website was a full set of accessibility adjustments. These range from settings that affect visibility of text and images, a keyboard navigator, and an ADHD-friendly mode.
This is a feature we hope to see on more sites.
Recap: Is Optimum internet good?
Optimum internet is an excellent choice for most residents of the Northeast. It provides good value in terms of pricing, speeds, and data, including some of the cheapest prices in the region.
- Prices and plans: All of Optimum’s internet plans are budget-friendly, and none of the plans come with an automatic price hike after a certain amount of time. When compared to AT&T Fiber, Astound Broadband (formerly RCN), and Verizon Fios Home Internet, Optimum’s internet prices are right on the money, if not cheaper. And until November, you can get Optimum plans for even cheaper when you add a mobile plan.
- Speed: Optimum offers a wide range of download speeds, meaning you won’t need to pay more for speed you don’t need or suffer through speeds that are too slow. But watch out for slow upload speeds on its cable internet plans.
- Data caps: All Optimum internet plans come with unlimited data, so no need to worry about overage fees.
- Contracts, equipment, and fees: Optimum doesn’t require contracts, plus its equipment and service fees are reasonable.
- Customer service: Optimum, like most internet providers, could improve in the customer service department. But we do like the customer-friendly accessibility options on its site.
Optimum internet recap
To provide a thorough review of Optimum internet, we considered the following features:
- Download and upload speed
- Data cap
- Any additional fees or contract requirements
We then compared these features to other internet providers serving the same area to get an idea of whether or not Optimum offers good value with its internet service.
Do you have more questions about Optimum? Ask away!
No. Optimum’s Open Internet Disclosure clearly states that it doesn’t block or slow anyone’s access to lawful internet content or services.3 But it does reserve the right to prevent harmful or illegal activity online, which mitigates threats such as viruses and other malware.
P.S. If you suspect your slow connection isn’t your fault, here’s how to tell if your ISP is throttling your speed.
Yes, Optimum even offers loyalty discounts if you stay with them, so we recommend following the moving instructions on Optimum’s site.
But remember that Optimum’s service “footprint” is mostly confined to the Tri-State area of Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York.
Yes, Altice bought Cablevision in 2016, and as part of that deal acquired Optimum as well. Altice also owns several other media and communications companies in the US. In August 2022, Altice also made an announcement that they will be rebranding and merging Suddenlink, the other broadband brand they owned to Optimum.4