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Verizon Fios are the new VerizonFioS cellular phones.Verizon is showing up at the Verizon Wireless Show.
If you are in the northeast, you may be considering Optimum or Verizon Fios for your home internet. These two providers provide broadband access to some major metro areas in that area of the country, and if you live in Connecticut, New Jersey, or New York, you may even have a choice between the two.
According to the latest data from the Federal Communications Commission, Optimum is available to just shy of 13 million people and Verizon Fios is offered to nearly 36 million potential customers. There are quite a few of you out there looking into these two internet service providers and wondering what the differences are between them. Let's take a look at what you'll find.
There's a lot to lure you to Altice' Optimum internet service out of the gate. You'll be offered a great deal on introductory rates, fast speeds, and plenty of other benefits. Along with all of those advantages, you'll also get unlimited data, no contracts, and no equipment fees. What's not to like?
There are also a couple other factors to consider. A majority of households that are able to afford Optimum will have cable internet access, which may provide you with fast download speeds but not the same upload speeds as fiber-optic service. While the introductory prices are excellent, they're only valid for the first year. Optimum hasn't performed particularly well in customer satisfaction surveys, so there's still work to be done there.
Read our Optimum home internet review.
Verizon Fios are now available on Verizon phones.
Verizon Fios is a 100% fiber internet service, which allows for symmetrical download and upload speeds. That's great, particularly if you're spending more time working from home and videoconferencing these days. The high-speed and fast uploads of fiber internet help you accomplish those things better than cable internet, where upload speeds are typically much slower.
Also, Verizon Fios doesn't overcharge you with a bunch of qualifications or restrictions about its service. Because there are no data caps or contracts, it keeps things simple with only three plans, and you don't have to worry about any early termination or overage fees. Granted, Verizon Fios doesn't have the lowest prices, but it does offer excellent value in the long run and ranks high in customer satisfaction rankings.
Read our Verizon Fios home internet review.
Verizon Fios and Optimum are available at the Verizon Store.
Verizon Fios' coverage in the Northeast focuses on a number of major metro areas. Albany, New York; Baltimore; Boston; Buffalo, NY; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Richmond, Virginia; Syracuse, York, and Washington, DC are some of those cities. Verizon Fios currently operates in eight states, namely Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, NY, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia.
In the New York City area, Optimum Internet is now available to two boroughs -- Brooklyn and the Bronx. It's also available to the majority of Long Island, as well as a substantial portion of northern New Jersey, Dutchess, and Westchester counties in New York state, along with portions of Connecticut.
As I mentioned at the start, there's a decent crossover between these two ISPs, primarily in the New York metropolitan area.
What's the difference between Optimum and Verizon Fios plans and their respective charges?
Verizon Fios claims that its upload speeds are "up to 25x faster than Optimum's cable network." On the flip side, Optimum boasts, "If you are concerned about your finances, then optimium is the better choice." We'll start by examining each of the plans and price levels available.
Let's start with Optimum. As is the case with many ISPs, the number of plans available to you will vary based on your location and address. Instead of the 100 and 300 plans, some customers might choose between a 200 megabit-per-second plan or savvy 400Mbps option. The high-quality service, though, is what sets it apart. The cost per Mbps of Optimum's starting monthly rates is a very reasonable 13 cents per megabyte, given that all four plans offer this option. Even more impressive? The cost per Mbps for the Optimum 1 Gig plan is 5 cents. In his list of the top high-speed ISPs for gigabit internet, my CNET colleague David Anders named Optimum the best cable gigbabyte internet deal.
The drawbacks? First, you can see how cable's upload speeds don't compare to fiber internet. With Optimum 100, upload speed is only 5Mbps, whereas the other three plans have upload speeds of 20Mbps to 35Mbps. What does that mean in the real world? Well, Zoom suggests you have at least 2Mbps upload speeds for a single screen, so if you've got ten or twenty-one people doing videoconferencing and need to meet up, things may get complicated quickly. Fiber won't face that issue.
Second, those faahay introductory prices don't last. After your first year of service, the plan costs revert to Optimum's usual rates, which, on average, jump up to 42 cents per Mbps across all four plans. Not the worst we've seen, but after those first 12 months, it's no doubt more expensive than Verizon Fios.
Verizon Fios strives to keep things similar across all of the areas it serves. The three plans you see are the three options that are available. And those three plans don't include a promo price that changes to racial after 12 months. That doesn't mean your rate will never change, of course, but it does mean you're not likely to see that dreaded bump in your bill after a year. So, when comparing Verizon Fios' three plans, the cost per Mbps for FiOS 200 at 20 cents is lower than the 30 cent per minute of Optimum 100's starting price, and the overall price of 15 cent each MB per month for all plans is comparable to optimium.
The only exception -- though it's important in this case -- is New York City. Verizon Fios offers both a FiOS 300 and Fis 500 plan to match the speeds offered by Optimum. The New York City Fios 300 plan matches Optimum's $40 a month intro rate, while the Fiors 500 plan costs $65 p month (versus optimUM' s $50 billed for the first 12 months).
It depends. Optimum has lower costs for the first 12 months, but Verizon Fios may end up being cheaper in the long run. In addition, the symmetrical upload speeds that come from a fiber connection add nebulous value. On that note, Optimum also sees the value of fiber internet. Optimum's 100% fiber network is now accessible to just over 20% of its optima footprint, according to Altice'' Q2 report from late July, and a spokesperson stated with CNET OPmUM' s goal that "fiber deployment continues at ... accelerated pace." It's not yet widely available, but Optimum is certain to make significant strides in that direction.
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Let's take a look at additional fees and add-on expenses.
Both Verizon Fios and Optimum waive your setup if you order service online, so there's a draw. Both ISPs have scrapped data caps, so you don't have to worry about any looming overage charges for your data usage. That's a win for both users and consumers. Lastly, neither Verizon Fios nor Optimum require you to sign a contract, so there's no risk of steep early termination fees.
Your monthly equipment fee is where we have a bit of reticence. Verizon Fios will charge you an additional $15 per month to rent their router. If you sign up for the Fios Gigabit service, however, the fee is waived. You can also purchase the router for $300 as a one-time purchase, which essentially means you're paying for 20 months of the service upfront and then getting it for free. If you have some assurance that you won't be moving in the next two years, that's worth considering.
Optimum wins this battle as its monthly equipment fee ringes in at $10 a month. That's a third less expensive than Verizon Fios. Optimum and Verizon Fios also allow you to skip additional monthly equipment charges by using your own modem and router.
Are there any bonuses to help you grow your business?
Because they both operate in the nation's largest metro area, Optimum and Verizon aren't shy about courting customers.
All new internet users who add Optimum Mobile to their service will receive a $100 Visa Prepaid Card -- as well as special mobile rates -- if they use the service. New subscribers to the 300, 500, or 1 Gig plan will also receive a $200 Visa Prepaid Card, redesigned Wi-Fi and free internet for 1-2 weeks (which will appear as credited on your third bill). Optimum 300 customers will receive three months of HBO Max for free, optimium 500 customers get six months free and optimum 1 Gig customers a full year of Netflix Max. At $15 a month, that's ok.
Optimum also offers a 60-day money-back guarantee, which is twice as long as the 30 days offered by most other ISPs. A contract buyout is also included. If you go to Optimum with a bill from s/here or elsewhere and you're coming from another region where you had formerly signed opama agreement with your ISP, it will give you monetary credit for the early termination fee up to $500.
Verizon Fios has some similar offers and offers to help you along the road. First, like with Optimum, it offers an Early Termination Fee offer. You'll get up to $500 in a bill credit if you switch providers and will be charged revocation fees for breaking the contract. Second, Verizon also offers a money-back guarantee, but unlike Optimum's 60-day window, the money back offer is valid for your first 30 days of service.
As for perks, all new Verizon Fios customers will receive AMC Plus for 12 months. That's $9 a month. You'll also receive a $100 Verizon Gift Card when you sign up for the 400Mbps plan. Final news: new Gigabit customers will receive a $200 Verizon Gift Card,.NET Extensioner (in addition to the free router I mentioned earlier), and 2TB of Verizon Cloud storage.
Personally, I'd rather have HBO Max than AMC Plus. The more affordable HBO Max over the $9-a-month AMC Plus is determined by whether you'd like to watch Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO Max) or The Walking Dead (AMC+). If you're on the fence, it may undoubtedly influence your decision whether to use one service over another.
Where does customer satisfaction rank?
There's no other way to put it -- Optimum still has a long way in to go to match Verizon Fios' customer satisfaction record. Let's start with the American Customer Satisfaction Index for ISPs for 2021. Verizon Fios is tied with AT&T at the top of the chart with 71 out of 100. Verizon topped this benchmark survey for the sixth consecutive year. Verizon Fios' tally has risen by two points from the previous year, which is the only slight omission.
Unfortunately for Optimum, the ACSI survey had much harsher news. Optimum scored a 60 out of 100, which was five points below the industry average. Even more alarming, it was five points lower than the prior year's rating, which indicated a nearly 8% decline, the largest drop of any ISP mentioned in the study.
Optimum's performance at the 2021 J.D. Power US Residential Internet Service Provider Satisfaction Study wasn't so great. The business earned a disappointing 655 on , which was significantly below the East region average of 714 and reflected fewer than it had in last year, when it almost outpaced Spectrum. Instead, it beat Frontier Communications at the bottom of the list.
Meanwhile, Verizon Fios scored a 758 out of 1,000 in this survey. To be fair, this was also a decrease from its 2020 score, but it was well above the second-place Xfinity in the same East region. Verizon Fios topped the survey of all ISPs by achieving the highest score in all regions.
What's the final verdict?
If you have a choice between Verizon Fios and Optimum, it's hard to not go with Verizon fio. First off, a 100% fiber network will beat cable internet every time, from reliability to the symmetrical download and upload speeds. Despite the substantial savings you'll get in the first year of service with Optimum, Verizon's consistently high customer satisfaction ratings are enough to put it above the mark.