Optimum Internet Review 2021
|Plan||Price||Download speed||Data cap||Details|
|Optimum 300||$40/mo.||300 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
|Optimum 400||$64.99/mo.||400 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
|Optimum 1 Gig||$65/mo.||940 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
Optimum internet comes with hidden gems, like the Price for Life guarantee on its 400 Mbps and 940 Mbps plans, unlimited data, and no-contract packages. But its small service area and high price for the 400 Mbps plan might make you think twice.
Is Optimum an optimal choice for internet? Let’s dig in and take a look at the pros and cons.
- Price for Life guarantee on most plans
- No data caps
- No contracts
- Few packages to choose from
- High price for 400 Mbps plan
- Very limited availability
Optimum prices and plans
Optimum internet comes at a reasonable price that might even stay the same for life.
One thing we like to see when choosing internet is options. Unfortunately, Optimum has only three internet plan options.
But those three plans come in a variety of speeds, all of which are at a sweet spot for anyone who loves gaming or streaming. Or for a family with connected smart home and security systems, smart TVs, and other devices hooked up to the internet.
And you can’t talk about Optimum’s prices without mentioning that its 400 Mbps and 940 Mbps plans come with a Price for Life guarantee (as long as you remain in good standing, of course). But as it turns out, you end up paying more for the 400 Mbps plan compared to similar plans from other ISPs. So, we’d say the 940 Mbps plan is the better deal if you want to lock in your monthly price.
But we should point out that the Optimum 300 price is pretty stellar, even when compared with the competition.
|Plan||Price||Download speed||Data cap||Details|
|Optimum 300||$40/mo.*||300 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
|Optimum 400||$64.99/mo.†||400 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plan|
|Optimum 1 Gig||$65/mo.‡||940 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
How do Optimum prices compare?
In general, Optimum’s prices are pretty competitive. You may still find a better deal if you look at competitors like RCN, another ISP in the Northeast. RCN offers a 250 Mbps and a 500 Mbps plan in New York that both undercut the price of Optimum’s cheapest plan.
But compare Optimum prices to Verizon Fios Home Internet, and you’ll find that you might get a better deal with Optimum depending on the speed you want. Of course, we highly recommend Verizon Fios Home Internet thanks to its excellent internet speed performance and high marks for customer service.
|Provider||Monthly price||Download speeds||Learn more|
|Optimum Internet||$40–$65†||300–940 Mbps||View Plans|
|RCN Internet||$34.99–$49.99^||250–1000 Mbps||View Plans|
|Verizon Fios||$39.99–$79.99°||200–940 Mbps||View Plans|
Where is Optimum internet available?
Another way that Optimum lacks variety is its geographical footprint: it’s just not available everywhere. You’ll find it in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania only.
Optimum free Wi-Fi hotspots
You’re already paying for internet at home, so it’s a real bummer when you’re out running errands but can’t find a public Wi-Fi connection to save your life.
Not all ISPs offer free Wi-Fi hotspots with their service, but Optimum does. To the tune of more than 2 million Wi-Fi access points, including select NJ Transit stations. Yow!
Optimum internet speed
Optimum doesn’t offer many speed choices, but what it does offer, it delivers on.
We like that Optimum internet packages come with speeds that are perfect for most modern-day internet users. You’ll have no problem gaming, streaming, or browsing Imgur with speeds of 300 to 940 Mbps—even if you have a large family doing all kinds of internet things at the same time.
|Provider||Download speeds||Upload speeds|
|Optimum Internet||300–940 Mbps||35–40 Mbps|
But remember, internet speed is more than just what your ISP advertises. You also want to take a look at the speeds your ISP actually delivers.
You can stop holding your breath now, because Optimum does deliver on the speeds it promises. In our latest analysis of the fastest internet providers in the US, Optimum scored ninth out of all 38 ISPs we looked at. Not bad.
|Provider||Reviews.org weighted score|
|Optimum||38.7 out of 100|
If you’re thinking Optimum’s score of 38.7 out of 100 looks terrible. But our top-ranking ISP earned a score of 75.9 out of 100, and Optimum’s score still puts it at ninth overall.
Heads up: that score isn’t representative of actual Optimum download speeds. Instead, it’s a combination of the average download speeds, upload speeds, and latency that Optimum users saw in speed test results during 2019.
In Optimum’s open disclosure statement, the company does state, basically, that they cap users who use excessive data because typical users rarely go overboard on their data, so you shouldn’t need to either.2
What does that mean in plain English? Well, if you use up tons of data by torrenting or downloading large files (like, say, all of Wikipedia), Optimum will stop that nonsense faster than you can say “data cap.” But for most of us, Optimum’s unlimited data means we shouldn’t have to worry about slowed speeds because we used up too much data.
And while we think unlimited data should be the norm, this is different from companies like Xfinity, AT&T, and CenturyLink, which have hard data caps at around 1 TB (and charge you extra if you go over).
Optimum contracts, equipment, and fees
No contract, no problem.
Contracts are annoying, we get it. So when we saw Optimum doesn’t hook you with a one-year or two-year contract, we got super excited. Like, happy-jazz-hands excited.
Paired with its Price for Life guarantee, Optimum’s no-contract policy makes it a huge win for anyone who hates being tied down forever in one spot, like college students and renters. (And, you know, anyone who likes the freedom to make adult decisions about utilities. Right.)
Optimum will charge you $10.00 a month to rent its DOCSIS modem and a smart router, or you can grab the wireless gateway (modem and router combo) instead for the same price of $10.00 a month.
Optimum also gives you the option to grab Wi-Fi extenders for an additional $3.00 a month for each extender. That’s great news for anyone who needs their internet signal to stretch across a large house or reach rooms tucked behind brick walls and other obstacles.
Optimum equipment rental fees
- DOCSIS modem and smart router: $10.00 a month
- Wireless gateway: $10.00 a month
- Wi-Fi Xtender: $3.00 a month
- Additional modems: $49.95 one-time fee each
However, if you’ve done the math, you probably realized that $10 a month rental fee totals up to $120 at the end of the year. That’s more than the cost of for your own modem, like this ARRIS SURFboard modem/Wi-Fi router combo from Amazon.*
If you do buy your own modem, we recommend double-checking that it’s compatible with Optimum’s service and download speeds.
No contracts means no early termination fees, but it wouldn’t be the internet without installation or activation fees, sadly.
But one thing we like to see is Optimum’s clear list of fees, including explanations for most. To sum it up, here’s what you might see when it comes to Optimum fees:
- Standard installation fee: $99.00
- Premium installation fee: $149.99
- Restore service fee: $10.00 for 1–2 products; $15.00 for 3 products
Optimum customer service
Optimum has better customer service than most—which isn’t saying much.
When it comes to ISP customer service, we grade on a curve. Otherwise, no one would be passing this class.
For instance, the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s (ACSI’s) 2019–2020 report gives Optimum internet a score of 65 out of 100.3 That would normally be a “D,” but since the top ISP only scores a 73, we’re going to give Optimum a “B-” instead.
|ACSI 2019–2020||65 out of 100|
Our picks: The best Optimum internet plans
Best for your budget: Optimum 300
Who it’s best for: Budget-minded internet users who still want a lot of bang for their buck
Why we picked it: While 300 Mbps is the slowest Optimum plan, it’s more than enough speed for most people.
You could easily have three to four devices streaming at the same time with 300 Mbps. You could play your PlayStation 5 and keep your smart home system connected on top of that, and we still doubt it’d lag. And the monthly cost coupled with the fact that you’re not roped into a contract makes it a deal worth checking out.
Best for gamers and home businesses: Optimum 1 Gig
Who it’s best for: Gamers, large families, and home businesses
Why we picked it: Along with incredible download speeds, the Optimum 1 Gig plan equips you with more than 40 Mbps upload speed. That’s more than enough to stream on Twitch or Mixer. And if you’re video-calling in to a work meeting, it’ll keep your face looking crystal-clear.
Plus, this Optimum plan comes at a great price for 940 Mbps download speeds.
Recap: Is Optimum good?
Optimum is a pretty solid choice for your average internet-loving family. But if you need less speed at a cheaper cost, we recommend checking out our list of the cheapest ISPs.
- Prices and plans: Optimum’s price for its 300 and 940 Mbps plans is right in line with competitors, but you’ll find a better price and faster speeds than its 400 Mbps plan. Still, Optimum manages to even things out by not making you commit to a contract for any of its plans and a Price for Life guarantee on its 400 Mbps and 940 Mbps plans.
- Speed: We wish Optimum offered at least one low-speed plan, but the speeds it does offer are great for large families and streaming fanatics. And as for the speeds Optimum does offer, it definitely delivers on them.
- Contracts, equipment, and fees: You’re not hearing things: Optimum said the magic words: “no contracts.” And hey, your bill for the Optimum 400 and Optimum 1 Gig plans won’t go up if you remain a good customer, thanks to its Price for Life deal.
- Customer service: No internet provider gets top marks for customer service, but Optimum rates about average.
Optimum internet prices and plans recap
Data effective 12/4/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* for 1-yr. Plus taxes, fees, and other charges. Includes AutoPay and Paperless Billing.
† Plus taxes, fees, and other charges. Price for Life. Customer must remain in good standing and up to date on bill payments to remain on Price For Life.
‡ for Life. Plus taxes, fees and other charges. Includes Auto Pay and Paperless Billing. Price for Life. Customer must remain in good standing and up to date on bill payments to remain on Price For Life.
Q: Is Altice the same as Optimum?
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, including Optimum, Suddenlink, Cheddar, and Altice Mobile.
Q: Does Optimum throttle content from certain sites?
With recent changes in net neutrality laws, this is a question on many people’s minds. Optimum’s Open Internet Disclosure clearly states that it doesn’t block or slow anyone’s access to lawful internet content or services.2 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.
Q: If I move, can my Optimum service move with me?
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.
- Catherine McNally, Reviews.org, “Fastest Internet Providers 2020,” August 2020. Accessed August 12, 2020.
- Optimum, “Open Internet Disclosure”
- American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), “ACSI Telecommunications Report 2019–2020,” June 2020. Accessed December 4, 2020.
*Reviews.org uses Amazon affiliate links.