Cord Cutting Guides, News, and Reviews
Optimum is the East Coast brand of Altice USA, a multi-service provider that offers cable and fiber internet plans with speeds up to 940 Mbps. With monthly prices ranging from $40-65 a month, cord cutters can get fast speeds for a meager price. While there are less expensive cable internet plans from ISPs like RCN, Optimum’s fiber plans have ultra-fast speeds that come with a price for life guarantee that most providers can’t beat.
To top it off, Optimum’s plans are contract-free with no data cap limitations. Below, we’ll take a closer look at Optimum as a company, break down their prices, tell you which plans we recommend, and answer the most frequent questions we hear from readers like you.
If you’re lucky enough to live in Optimum’s small coverage area, you’ll be able to save money and still get fast internet speeds. Getting up to 300 Mbps for only $40 a month is something neither Cox nor Xfinity, two of the biggest cable internet providers, can compete with. AT&T is one of the few providers with a gigabit plan priced lower than Optimum’s, but they don’t guarantee your price for life like Optimum does.
If you’ve had your fair share of internet providers, the rest won’t come as a surprise to you. Optimum offers free internet security, a router that can provide a strong Wi-Fi signal throughout your home, and free access to their public hotspots. I’m actually surprised a regional provider like Optimum, one that’s only available in a small part of the US, offers free hotspot access. Usually, hotspot access is something only nationwide providers provide.
Oh, and let’s not forget that there aren’t any data caps or contracts required for Optimum’s internet plans — these are some of the things I look for first when searching for a provider.
Since Optimum is mostly a cable internet provider, you should also expect to get speeds slower than what’s advertised at times. Cable internet speeds slow down like traffic does when everyone is going home from work — it doesn’t matter who the provider is; cable networks can only handle so much congestion. That’s why Optimum’s high-speed tiers are worth considering. There’s more than enough room for your speed to slow down without making you feel like there’s a problem with your connection.
Optimum’s internet-only plans cost $40-65 per month, not including equipment and additional fees. The best way to compare a provider’s pricing is to look at its price per Mbps.
Optimum’s internet prices range from about $0.07-0.13 per Mbps. Optimum’s biggest competitors, Verizon Fios and Spectrum, charge more for slower speeds. In fact, most providers with plans as low as $40 per month either offer DSL plans or plans with speeds ranging from 50-200 Mbps, which comes out to be about $0.20-80 per Mbps. Of course, speed isn’t the only thing to consider when looking at a provider’s pricing.
Certain connection types can provide a more stable connection with slower speeds than others with faster speeds. Take Optimum’s fiber and cable internet, for example. Fiber is the best internet connection for cord cutters because it’s the most reliable. With fiber, you can get faster upload speeds than you could with cable internet, and your speeds will be much closer to (or even faster than) your plan’s advertised speed. Most fiber internet providers charge around $0.08-0.11 for gigabit speed. Some won’t even offer a gigabit plan if you don’t bundle.
Optimum gets extra points for its internet pricing due to its streaming-friendly features, which make it a great choice of internet provider for cord-cutters:
Speaking of fees, all internet providers charge extra fees for things like equipment rental, installation, and activation. Most also have random one-off fees like Wi-Fi fees, network enhancements, and more. Optimum’s internet fees are on par with those of other cable and fiber internet providers when you look at them as a whole. If you decide to rent equipment from Optimum, expect to pay at least $99 to set up and an extra $13.50 per month for equipment and network enhancement fees.
For one, you get to test drive their service with their 30-day money-back guarantee. You’re still able to cancel service anytime after that without paying an ETF. There aren’t exciting freebies like a free streaming subscription, but Optimum has features you may not realize you need.
You could pay for 1-2 streaming subscriptions with the money you save choosing Optimum over its competitors — especially if you rent the Altice One, which is Optimum’s all-in-one streaming device, modem/router, and cable receiver. Optimum and its sibling Suddenlink are the only providers with such a device. If you decide to bundle at some point, you’ll see even more savings since you won’t have to pay an extra equipment fee for a cable box.
Optimum’s smart router gives you better Wi-Fi coverage in your house while ensuring you are on the fastest network. I could go on, but it’s better if you read this year’s review of Optimum’s internet to see how Optimum’s smart router works and why I chose Optimum over providers like Verizon Fios and Xfinity.
It’s really a tough choice choosing the best Optimum internet plan. Overall, I recommend Optimum’s 300 Mbps plan. There’s more than enough speed to handle a large household, even when speeds slow down during peak network traffic hours. Having a contract-free plan makes it easier to upgrade speeds at any time and you don’t have to worry about hitting a data cap. If you’re a cord cutter living in the Northeast, or it’s your first time getting an internet plan of your own, the Optimum 300 plan is an excellent place to start.
Bundle plans may make a comeback with there being so many streaming services now. If you’d rather flip through channels than streaming services, the Core TV and Optimum 300 bundle is a good deal. Most people pay closer to $75-90 per month for three streaming services and an internet plan. This bundle starts at $65 per month and will still give you access to channels the whole family will love (ESPN, Cartoon Network, TNT, MTV, and more).
Optimum is not new to the internet and TV market. Before 2016, Optimum was owned by Cablevision and marketed as Optimum by Cablevision. Altice, Optimum and Suddenlink’s parent company acquired Cablevision in 2016. There’s almost no difference between now and pre-2016, because Altice continues to push the Optimum brand name. The main difference you’ll notice is that new equipment falls under the Altice name, e.g., the Altice One cable box receiver, streaming device, and modem/router in one.
Some say Optimum services were better under Cablevision, but cable internet can only handle so much at the end of the day. Luckily, Optimum also has fiber internet with a price for life guarantee and prices that most providers can’t beat.
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