Optimum is a cable TV company. It is owned by Netherlands-based telecoms multinational, Altice. The Optimum brand was created by Cablevision Systems Corporation and sold to Altice in 2015 for $17.7 billion. Altice also owns Suddenlink Communications, which is another cable TV company. While Suddenlink has a scattered coverage area across the United States, Optimum is very geographically focused, serving parts of only four states. The combined network now owned by Altice creates the fourth-largest cable provider in the United States with 4.9 million customers in 21 states.
Altice currently maintains Optimum and Suddenlink as two separate brands, but it is in the process of merging them. As the first step in this process, it promotes Optimum as “Optimum by Altice.” Both Altice networks are primarily aimed at the delivery of television, but they also offer internet and telephone services.
The internet service of Optimum is called Optimum online. Users access the service through a home subscription service and that also enables them to use the Optimum Wi-Fi hotspots outside the home with mobile devices. The hotspots are located around the geographical service area of Optimum.
The optimum network is based on coaxial cable to the door, while the system backbone is supplied by fiber optics. This configuration is known as a “hybrid fiber-coaxial” network, which is common among US cable TV providers. Although a large part of the delivery network is carried over fiber optic, Optimum does not offer a full fiber internet service. It is categorized as a cable internet provider.
All of the above charges are subject to tax, which is charged on top of the stated fees.
Upload speeds on the optimum 200 and Optimum 300 plans are around 25 Mbps and 40 Mbps for the Optimum 400 plan. Optimum calls its rates “price for life.” It doesn’t operate initial discounts and the promotional site for the service doesn’t mention contracts.
New customers who have to pay an early termination fee in order to leave their current internet supplier and move to Optimum can claim that cost back from Optimum up to a value of $100.
Altice Advantage Internet is a special package for low-income households. Subscribers to this discount package also get access to the Optimum Wi-Fi hotspot network. In order to qualify, a household must be:
Optimum also offer internet and landline packages and internet, TV and landline packages.
All plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
As a relatively new player in the US telecommunications market, Altice doesn’t have much of a reputation either good or bad. Altice has been reported as being in disputes with a number of channel providers, but these seem to simply be negotiating phases when renewing existing carriage and supply contracts.
Unlike most cable internet providers, Optimum does not impose data caps. However, the small print of is Terms of Service mentions that action will be taken against customers whose data throughput goes beyond reasonable use. This is without defining “reasonable use.”
There is no mention of installation anywhere in the Terms of Service for Optimum plans. It does explicitly state that standard installation is free, but does not explain what non-standard conditions would incur a charge. Optimum charges a $10 fee per month for modem lease. However, you will avoid this charge if you use your own modem. The Terms of Service mention an extra monthly fee of $3.50, which is called a Network Enhancement Fee but don’t explain what that means.
There is a contract involved in taking up the internet service from Optimum, but this is only to guarantee each customer the same price for life. If Optimum increases its charge rates at a later date, it will not increase the rates charged on existing contracts. On the downside, if Optimum reduces its charge rates, existing customers won’t automatically get that lower rate.
There is no mention at all of an early termination fee. So, if your contract traps you into a higher rate that gets undercut for new customers of Optimum, you could simply terminate your contract and open a new account.