Optimum home internet review
Explore Optimum’s internet plans and find out which plan is right for you. From exclusive deals for new customers to hidden fees you don’t want to miss, we provide all the information you need to make a fully informed decision.
About Optimum internet plans
Joe Supan Last updated: July 29, 2021
Optimum’s internet plans are pricier than average, but they’re a decent option for households that require a lot of bandwidth. Just be prepared for your bill to triple in price after 12 months.
We graded Optimum internet on a scale of 1 to 5 across four major categories. To learn more, read about our review methodology.
If you’re shopping for internet service in the greater NYC area, it’s likely that Optimum internet will be an option. In New York, you’ll find Optimum internet service in The Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Poughkeepsie and Yonkers, among other NY cities. Optimum is available to over 12 million people. Coverage also extends to western Connecticut, eastern New Jersey and parts of rural Pennsylvania.
Optimum has both cable and fiber internet plans available, and it’s been rapidly building its fiber network over the past couple years in order to reach more homes. No matter which plans are available to you, Optimum’s internet plans are known for high speeds and high prices.
The slowest speeds you can get are 300 Mbps — the highest starting point of any of the internet providers we’ve reviewed. But you will pay more for those speeds. While Optimum’s rates are very competitive when you first sign up, they increase by $75 to $95/mo. in the second year. Most internet providers raise prices, but that’s significantly more than the average.
That doesn’t necessarily mean Optimum is a bad deal. It has one of our highest scores of any provider for value, which measures how much speed you’re getting for the price. But it’s important to be aware that you’ll be paying a lot more than what you were first advertised at some point.
How we scored internet providers
We evaluate broadband providers in four categories: affordability, performance, value and customer satisfaction. Each category contains multiple sub-factors, all of which are weighted differently to impact the provider’s overall score.
For each sub-factor, we score all providers on a continuous scale of one to five, relative to the industry as a whole. Because the average download speed in America is currently 180 Mbps, for example, we assigned all plans with download speeds between 100 and 299 Mbps a score between three and four. Xfinity’s 200 Mbps plan received a 3.50 score for download speed, while Spectrum’s 400 Mbps plan got a 4.16.
We only considered standardized data points in our scoring system. More abstract data like consistency of service and brand reputation is still part of our analysis, but we opted to let our writers address them in the context of each review.Learn more about our methodology
Shop Optimum plans near you
Unlimited data allowance
AT&T consumer home internet or Fixed Wireless Internet customers can use unlimited internet data through September 30, 2020.
Self-installation is the default installation option when available for customers.
Temporary speed upgrade
Get a temporary speed upgrade to 50 Mbps when you order Cox 10 & 30 Mbps internet plans. Offers valid through June 30, 2020.
Self-installation encouraged. Select your desired installation date, and a Cox representative will call to confirm or reschedule your appointment.
Safety-first Installation: A Frontier technician will perform your installation with appropriate safety protocols including wearing protective equipment and maintaining social distancing. In taking these precautions, it’s recommended that Frontier customers wear a face mask or face covering for the safety of technicians.
New TV plan
Introducing a new “Local 50” video plan to support contactless installation.
Contactless installation: Mediacom will send an installation kit and a technician to set up a single high-speed data connection, phone, or one local TV channel plan with the help of someone in your home.
Self-installation is encouraged. For professional installation, contact-free delivery is available for work done outside of the home. For customers moving more than 7 days from the date the order is placed, professional installation is available.
Free Contactless Delivery: An Xfinity technician will drop-off your equipment with installation instructions, then perform any outside work. Get your installation fees back in a customer credit for a no-charge installation.
Optimum internet plans, pricing and speeds
Which Optimum internet prices and plans are available to you depends on your location. We’ve listed some popular Optimum plans below, but the best way to get accurate plan information for your address is to call and speak with our internet experts.
|Optimum plan||Allconnect score||Starting price*||Price after 12 mos.*||Download speed||Upload speed|
|Optimum 300||3.40/5||$35.00/mo.*||$109.99/mo.||300 Mbps||20 Mbps|
|Optimum 500||3.41/5||$45.00/mo.*||$129.99/mo.||500 Mbps||20 Mbps|
|Optimum 1 Gig||3.61/5||$55.00/mo.*||$139.99/mo.||940 Mbps||35 Mbps|
|Fiber Internet 500||3.75/5||$35.00/mo.**||$129.99/mo.||500 Mbps||500 Mbps|
|Fiber Internet 1 Gig||3.90/5||$45.00/mo.**||$139.99/mo.||940 Mbps||940 Mbps|
*Pricing per month plus taxes for length of contract. Additional fees and terms may apply. Pricing varies by location and availability. All prices subject to change at any time. May or may not be available based on service address. As of 05/14/21
Right now, Optimum’s fiber plans are only available to around one million homes in the U.S. Generally, it’s always a good idea to go with fiber over cable, as it’s less prone to traffic congestion. That said, Optimum’s 500 and 940 Mbps plans are well above what most households need — 500 Mbps would be enough to stream Netflix in 4K on 20 TVs at the same time.
The other thing to be aware of with Optimum is the price increases, which are the highest of any provider we’ve seen by far. No matter which plan you choose, your bill will go up by $75 to $95/mo. after 12 months. The only provider that received a lower score for affordability in our analysis was Suddenlink.
For most households, the Optimum 300 plan should be fast enough to support multiple devices for streaming and gaming. Serious gamers might require more upload speed than the 20 Mbps you get on this plan, but it should be plenty for most situations.
If you live in a house with multiple people working and learning from home, it might be worth upgrading to one of Optimum’s fiber plans. Fiber Internet 500 gets you 500 Mbps of both upload and download speed, so you won’t have to worry about your Zoom connection stumbling in the middle of a meeting. That said, it has the biggest price increase of any Optimum plan — from $35/mo. all the way to $130/mo. in year two.
For houses with a lot of connected devices and heavy data usage, the Optimum’s Fiber Internet 1 Gig plan is as heavy duty an internet plan as you’ll find. It provides 940 Mbps of upload and download speed, which is enough to power even the most connected homes.
Optimum speed averages
In general, what you pay for is what you get with Optimum. According to the FCC’s most recent Fixed Broadband Report, Optimum customers on average received 114.21% of the speeds that they were advertised. In other words, Optimum actually over-delivers on speed.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re guaranteed to get faster-than-advertised speeds all the time — things like router placement, time of day and the number of connected devices can all impact internet speed — but it’s still a mark in Optimum’s favor.
Equipment, installation, data caps and contracts
Like all internet providers, the price that’s advertised to you is usually quite a bit lower than what you’ll actually pay each month. We combed through the fine print to find all of the fees you can expect to see with your Optimum Wi-Fi plan.
Optimum charges $13.50/mo. for equipment: $10 for the modem/router and $3.50 for a “network maintenance fee.” This includes their Altice Gateway device, plus Optimum Wi-Fi service. A Wi-Fi extender can also be added to the rental cost.
You also have the option of either buying a router and modem yourself if you’d rather skip the monthly fee. There are other benefits to going this route, too. Some of the most common complaints from customers are about their Optimum Wi-Fi equipment not performing as promised. In many cases, investing in better equipment can drastically improve the speeds you get.
Optimum charges $99 for a one-time installation fee for internet service.
No data caps
There are no data caps on any Optimum internet plans, so you won’t have to worry about cutting back your streaming or gaming habits.
Optimum doesn’t require contracts on any of its plans. If you want to switch service or move, you can do it at any time without incurring any early termination fees.
What’s the final price for Optimum internet?
Expect to pay at least around $19/mo. more than what’s advertised or Optimum internet plans. Equipment fees cost $13.50/mo. on every plan, and taxes typically add another $5/mo., too, although you’ll have to pay that with any internet plan. Additionally, after Optimum’s 12-month promotional rates, your bill will increase between $75 and $95/mo. If you have Optimum’s Internet 500 plan, you can expect to pay around $64/mo. in the first year and then around $149/mo. after that.
Optimum home internet compared to other providers
Optimum might not be the only internet option in your area. In the four states that Optimum has service — New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut — there are several other providers available. Here’s how it compares to some of its biggest competition:
|Provider||Allconnect score||Starting prices||Download speeds||Upload speeds|
|Optimum||3.61/5||$35.00-55.00/mo.||300-940 Mbps||20-940 Mbps|
|Verizon Fios||4.01/5||$39.99-79.99/mo.||200-940 Mbps||200-880 Mbps|
|Frontier DSL||3.15/5||$37.99-54.99/mo.||9-115 Mbps||N/A|
|Frontier Fiber||3.78/5||$49.99-79.99/mo.||50-940 Mbps||50-880 Mbps|
*Pricing per month plus taxes for length of contract. Additional fees and terms may apply. Pricing varies by location and availability. All prices subject to change at any time. May or may not be available based on service address. As of 05/14/21.
If you can get fiber optic service from Verizon Fios in your area, it’s a better option for most people. Optimum vs. Frontier is more of a toss-up: Frontier is more affordable, but it has significantly lower customer satisfaction ratings.
Speeds from all three providers max out at 940 Mbps, but you won’t have to deal with the same price hikes from Frontier and Verizon. Frontier only raises prices by $10/mo. in the second year, while Verizon’s price doesn’t increase at all. By the time you get to year two, you’ll pay $140/mo. for Optimum’s gig plan, compared to $80/mo. with Verizon and $90/mo. with Frontier.
That said, Optimum has much higher customer satisfaction ratings than Frontier, which has had a number of issues as it navigates its bankruptcy. According to the Better Business Bureau, Frontier has a “high volume of serious complaints” about “customer service issues, missing appointments, decline in services previously handled by other providers who Frontier has assumed, billing issues including additional service charges for periods once the consumer has cancelled services.”
Even though Optimum’s customer satisfaction scores aren’t exactly stellar, it’s probably a safer bet than Frontier. For comparison, Verizon had the second highest customer satisfaction scores of any provider we reviewed.
Bundle Optimum internet with cable TV
There are four Optimum TV packages that you can add to your internet service, but you won’t save very much compared to purchasing standalone TV service somewhere else. While these bundles are usually pretty affordable in the first year, you can expect to pay quite a bit more in year two, although it’s unclear exactly how much. Optimum simply says, “As of 13th mo. service will be billed at regular rate and is subject to change.”Learn more about Optimum’s bundles
Optimum customer satisfaction
Optimum’s customer satisfaction scores are right in the middle of the major internet providers. The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) gave it a 65/100 in 2020, which might seem like a poor grade, but it’s actually the exact average for the industry as a whole. Optimum has raised its score for two straight years — a good indication that it’s working to address customer complaints.
Consumer Reports readers had a more negative view on Optimum. It received just a 54/100 overall score, which was ahead of only Frontier and Suddenlink, which is run by the same parent company as Optimum, Altice. Complaints with the company generally center around missed appointments with technicians, unexpected charges and frustrating customer service experiences.
Optimum internet FAQs
Yes. Optimum offers multiple internet-only plans with speeds up to 940 Mbps in select areas.
Yes. Optimum internet provides unlimited high-speed Wi-Fi internet with no data caps. Plus, Optimum ranks very well in customer satisfaction.
Yes. If you choose to buy your own modem in order to save on costs, make sure that it is compatible with Optimum’s service and download speeds. You don’t want your modem to be the reason why your internet is slow. Also, be aware that you will not receive the same customer service you would receive if you rented your modem from Optimum.
Altice’s internet for low-income customers is called Altice Advantage Internet. Qualifying customers can get internet with speeds up to 30 Mbps, a free smart router, a free modem, discounted installation and more. Check eligibility.
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Written by:Joe Supan
Senior Writer, Broadband Content
Joe oversees all things broadband for Allconnect. His work has been referenced by Yahoo!, Lifehacker and more. He has utilized thousands of data points to build a library of metrics to help users navigate these … Read more
Edited by:Robin Layton
Editor, Broadband Content
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