Optimum Internet vs. Google Fiber

We reviewed the data and Google Fiber is the clear winner when it comes to performance. But Optimum’s prices are hard to beat.
Best performance
Price Range
$70-$150
Download Speed Range
1000-8000 Mbps
Latest deal:
Get 1 TB of free cloud storage, free installation, and no contract
Best prices
Price Range
$30-$265
Download Speed Range
300-8000 Mbps
Latest deal:
Equipment included, no annual contract, and more
Easton Smith
Dec 18, 2023
bullet6 min read

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Google Fiber made a big splash when it started in 2010. It still offers some of the best internet services that money can buy. The biggest drawback is Google Fiber’s price. Optimum’s internet service isn’t quite so fancy, but it’s a lot cheaper.

We’ll go over everything you need to know about Optimum Internet and Google Fiber in this review, including prices, plans, speeds, availability, perks, fees, and customer service. Read on to figure out which one is right for you.

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Compare Google Fiber and Optimum Internet plans in your area.

Google Fiber vs. Optimum Internet plans and pricing

Optimum’s prices are very reasonable, but there’s a good reason that Google Fiber costs more

Google Fiber and Optimum have different approaches to internet plans. Google is a minimalist, offering just four plans. Optimum, on the other hand, has at least six. We’ll go into all of the nitty-gritty here, starting with Google.

Google Fiber internet plans

Google Fiber is kind of like Apple: It doesn’t overwhelm you with a bunch of different phones at once. It just has high-quality options and is confident enough to say “take it or leave it”.

Google’s four internet plans could be called Fast, Faster, Even Faster, and Holy Moly This Is Fast. But they’re actually called 1 Gig, 2 Gig, 5 Gig, and 8 Gig. Here are the deets.

Google Fiber Internet deals
Plan
Price
Download speed
Upload speed
Details
1 Gig$70/mo.*1000 Mbps1000 Mbps
2 Gig$100/mo.*2000 Mbps1000 Mbps
5 Gig$125/mo.5000 Mbps5000 Mbps
8 Gig$150/mo.8000 Mbps8000 Mbps
* Plus taxes and fees. Upload/download speed and device streaming claims are based on maximum wired speeds. Actual Internet speeds are not guaranteed and may vary based on factors such as hardware and software limitations, latency, packet loss, etc.
Available in select markets only. Plus taxes and fees. Upload/download speed and device streaming claims are based on maximum wired speeds. Actual Internet speeds are not guaranteed and may vary based on factors such as hardware and software limitations, latency, packet loss, etc.

Available in select markets only. Plus taxes and fees. Upload/download speed and device streaming claims are based on maximum wired speeds. 

Obviously, 1,000 Mbps is rapid fast internet. It will be plenty for most families and even for serious streamers and gamers. True technophiles may want to upgrade to 2,000 Mbps, but most residential users won’t need that much bandwidth, let alone 5 gigs or 8 gigs.

One of the biggest benefits of Google Fiber is those “symmetrical” upload speeds (which means that your upload speed is as fast as your download speed). It’s great for gaming, video conferencing, and uploading large files.

Not sure how much internet speed you actually need?
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Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Read our article about internet speeds to understand how much you need for everyday activities, like streaming, gaming, and attending your online knitting circle.

There are no contracts or fees with Google Fiber. You don’t even have to pay for installation or equipment. That’s refreshing in an industry that’s rife with painful little add-on costs.

There is something called Google Fiber Webpass. We’re not going to talk about that here because it’s only available in very select parts of specific cities, but you can learn more about it in our full Google Fiber Webpass vs. Google Fiber review.

In short, our takeaway on Google Fiber is that it’s perfect for:

  • People who want to cut the cable cord and stream everything through the internet
  • Serious gamers, Twitch streamers, or online influencers
  • Big families that have multiple devices connected at all times
  • Work from homers

Optimum Internet plans

Optimum is more traditional in its internet plan offerings. It has speeds ranging from 300Mbps to 8Gbps. The prices go from just $30 a month to a hefty $265 a month.

There are no contracts, no fees, and no data caps. That means you can stream every game on FuboTV without worrying about blazing through your data allotment.

Optimum internet deals
Plan
Price
Download speed
Connection type
Details
300 Mbps Internet$35/mo.*Up to 300 MbpsCable
500 Mbps Internet$50/mo.^^Up to 500 MbpsCable
1 Gig Internet$55/mo.†°Up to 940 MbpsCable
300 Mbps Fiber Internet$30/mo.**Up to 300 MbpsFiber
500 Mbps Fiber Internet$40/mo.††^Up to 500 MbpsFiber
1 Gig Fiber Internet$55/mo.^^°Up to 940 MbpsFiber
2 Gig Fiber Internet$85/mo.^†††Up to 2000 MbpsFiber
5 Gig Fiber Internet$80/mo.‡‡Up to 5000 MbpsFiber
8 Gig Fiber Internet$265/mo.^††^^Up to 8000 MbpsFiber
For 1 yr. w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill w/Unlimited Mobile plan. ($40/mo. without Unlimited Mobile plan.) Terms apply. Wired connection. WiFi speeds may vary. Not available in all areas.
^ For 1 yr. w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill w/Unlimited Mobile plan. ($60/mo. without Unlimited Mobile plan.) Terms apply. Wired connection. WiFi speeds may vary. Not available in all areas.
° For 1 yr. w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill w/Unlimited Mobile plan. ($80/mo. without Unlimited Mobile plan.) Terms apply. Wired connection up to 940 Mbps. WiFi speeds may vary. Not available in all areas.
** For 1 yr. w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill w/Unlimited Mobile plan. ($40/mo. without Unlimited Mobile plan.) Terms apply. Wired connection. WiFi speeds may vary. Not available in all areas.
†† For 1 yr. w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill w/Unlimited Mobile plan. ($120/mo. without Unlimited Mobile plan.) Terms apply. Wired connection. WiFi speeds may vary. Not available in all areas.
‡‡ For 1 yr. w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill w/Unlimited Mobile plan. ($180/mo. without Unlimited Mobile plan.) Terms apply. Wired connection. WiFi speeds may vary. Not available in all areas.
^^ w/Auto Pay & Paperless Bill w/Mobile plan. ($280/mo. without Mobile plan.) Terms apply. Wired connection. WiFi speeds may vary. Not available in all areas.

When it comes to upload speeds, Optimum’s plans can be split into two categories. The cable internet plans (300, 500, and 1,000Mbps plans) will give you upload speeds of about 20Mbps. The company’s higher-tier fiber internet plans will give you symmetrical upload speeds, but they aren’t available in many places.

Unlike Google, Optimum is willing to sweeten the deal for new customers. Right now, the company will give you a free prepaid Visa card worth $50–200 when you switch from another ISP.

Overall, we think that Optimum home internet plans make the most sense for:

  • Medium- to large-sized families that want high speeds for streaming on multiple devices
  • Casual gamers and work-from-homers who need reliable, high-speed home internet but don’t need the top performance
  • Renters and younger couples who want a very affordable internet plan
How do Optimum and Google Fiber compare to other fast providers?
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Check out our roundup of the fastest internet service providers on the market to see how these two companies hold up against the competition.

Google Fiber vs. Optimum Internet speeds

Google Fiber’s network is generally better than Optimum’s, but many people will be just fine with either

Most of Optimum’s internet plans use cable technology. Meanwhile, all of Google’s network is fiber optic. This is the biggest difference between the two companies in terms of speed and performance.

Cable internet can give you zippy download speeds. That’s great for things like streaming your new Netflix obsession or scrolling through TikTok videos. But cable internet doesn’t have fast upload speeds, which means it isn’t the best for gaming, Zooming into a work meeting, or uploading big files.

Fiber internet networks support the same superfast download speeds as cable, but it also supports similar upload speeds. That means you’ll get lightning-fast responses when you're gaming, clear signal when you're video conferencing, and you’ll be able to upload anything in a flash.

Want to learn more about upload and download internet speeds?
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We’ve written this handy little explainer about how the two kinds of internet speed can affect you when you're gaming, browsing, and streaming.

In short: Google Fiber will give you a faster and more reliable internet experience overall, especially compared to Optimum’s lower-cost cable internet services.

Google Fiber vs. Optimum Internet availability

Both companies serve limited markets, so your decision might come down to location more than anything else

Not all internet providers can offer Verizon or T-Mobile-level coverage. Optimum and Google Fiber both have very particular availability. Optimum really only covers a few states in New England, like New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. You can see their full coverage in the map below or on the company's website.

A map showing Optimum internet availability in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania

Google Fiber, meanwhile, is available in such a select few areas that we can just list them. Here’s every city where you can get the service:

  • Huntsville, Alabama
  • Orange County, California
  • Oakland, California
  • San Diego, California
  • San Francisco, California
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • West Des Moines, Iowa (coming soon)
  • Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • The Triangle, North Carolina
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Austin, Texas
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Provo, Utah
  • Salt Lake Valley, Utah

There was a while there when it looked like Google might never expand its internet service. But now there’s some talk about expanding service in parts of Idaho, Nevada, Tennessee, North Carolina, and a few new cities in Colorado. Keep your eyes peeled for those sleek Google Fiber billboards  if you live in one of those areas.

There’s no clear winner between these two ISPs when it comes to availability. It’s just about which one is operating where you live. You can always use our zip-code plan finding tool right here to get a full list of internet providers in your area.

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Optimum vs. Google Fiber customer service

The data says Optimum’s customer service is shoddy and anecdotal experience says Fiber does a good job

We won’t beat around the bush here. Most internet companies are not good at picking up the phone when you’re having a problem. But some are better than others, and in this case Google Fiber might be your best bet for quality customer service.

In the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report on the internet service industry, Optimum scored just 59 (out of 100). That makes the company second to last on the list. Not a good look.

Unfortunately, Google Fiber isn’t big enough to be included in the index. But, there was an independent collaboration between Google Fiber and the ACSI in 2020, which found that the company ranked first in value, security, and other categories. When I lived in Salt Lake City and had the service for about four years, I found the customer service team to be thorough and responsive.

Recap: Which is better for you?

While we don’t have a final number score for this head-to-head match, we can say that Google Fiber is definitely looking better for those who want performance above all else. But if you want a good enough internet plan that will save you some cash, then Optimum is probably the way to go.

The final decision is up to you, but here’s a quick recap of the main points in this Optimum vs. Google Fiber review.

  • Plans and prices: Optimum has a variety of high-speed plans, including a very affordable 300Mbps plan for $30 a month with Optimum's November Black Friday prices. Google Fiber's four plans range from $70 to $150 a month, but the performance is hard to beat.
  • Speeds: Google Fiber’s network is superior to Optimum’s in most places because it uses fiber optic cables, which are more reliable and offer faster upload speeds. But Optimum’s cable connections are still decently fast.
  • Availability: There’s not a ton of overlap in the availability between these two ISPs, so your decision might come down to which one is operating in your area.
  • Our takeaway: Google Fiber is great for young professionals with home offices, serious gamers, and big families that need to stream on many devices at once. For everyone else, Optimum’s less fancy internet is great and will save you money.

Methodology

We want every review that we write to be informative, easy-to-read, and accurate. In order to best serve our readers, we did a lot of research before we even began writing this Optimum vs. Google Fiber review.

We started by looking at all of the available information on both ISPs, including plans, prices, performance statistics, customer reviews, and third-party evaluations. We even asked around to friends who had used the services to see what they thought.

We tried to convey everything we learned in this article. In the end, our analysis and recommendations were based on what we thought different kinds of users would find useful. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us! 

Easton Smith
Written by
Easton Smith
Easton has worked as a freelance writer and researcher for several years, reviewing health, lifestyle, and technology products. He has probably read more Terms of Use contracts than any human alive. When he’s not sitting in front of a computer, Easton spends his time camping, climbing, and volunteering with humanitarian aid organizations.

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