Optimum vs. Verizon Fios: Everything You Should Know About Each Internet Plan

Choosing the right provider for your internet needs can be tricky. So here's what you should know before making a decision.

Optimum, an Altice USA brand known primarily to our friends in the Northeastern part of the country, is becoming familiar to folks in the Southern and Western portions of the US. The cable provider formerly known as Suddenlink is now Optimum. This means the Optimum name significantly expanded its reach in 2022.

If you live in the Northeastern US, you may already be comparing Optimum or Verizon Fios for your home internet connection. These two providers offer broadband to some major metro areas in that area of the country, and if you live in parts of Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, you might even have a choice between the two. 

According to the latest data from the Federal Communications Commission, Optimum is available to nearly 7% of the country and Verizon Fios is offered to just shy of 18% of the nation's potential customers. So there may be quite a few of you looking into these two ISPs and wondering what their differences are. Let's take a look.

Locating local internet providers

Sarah Tew/CNET
Connection Cable, fiberKey Info Unlimited data on some plans, low price increasePrice range $40 - $80 per monthSpeed range 300 - 940Mbps

Out of the gate, there's much to lure you to Altice's Optimum internet service. You get competitive introductory pricing, fast speeds and decent perks. Along with those positives, you get unlimited data, no contracts and no equipment fees. What's not to like? 

Well, there are a few other factors to consider. Most households serviceable for Optimum will receive cable internet service, which can get you fast download speeds, but not the same upload speeds you would find with fiber-optic service. Lastly, Optimum has not fared all that well in customer satisfaction surveys, so there's work to be done there, too.

Read our Optimum home internet review.

Sarah Tew/CNET
Price range $50 - $120 per monthSpeed range 300 - 2,000MbpsConnection FiberKey Info Unlimited data, no contracts, free equipment with gig service

Verizon Fios is a 100% fiber internet service, which means you get symmetrical download and upload speeds. That's good, especially if you're spending more time working from home and videoconferencing these days. The high performance and speedy uploads of fiber internet let you accomplish those things better than cable internet, where upload speeds are typically much slower. 

Also, Verizon Fios doesn't flood you with a bunch of qualifications or caveats about its service. It keeps things simple with just three plans, and you don't have to worry about any early termination or overage fees because there are no data caps and no contracts. Granted, Verizon Fios doesn't feature the lowest prices, but it offers excellent value in the long run and scores exceptionally well in customer satisfaction rankings.

Read our Verizon Fios home internet review.

FCC map showing Optimum and Verizon coverage in the New York City area.
Enlarge Image
FCC map showing Optimum and Verizon coverage in the New York City area.

Verizon Fios and Optimum coverage maps overlap throughout New York City and the surrounding areas.


Optimum vs. Verizon Fios: Coverage and availability

Verizon Fios focuses its coverage on several major metro areas in the Northeast. Those cities include Albany, New York; Baltimore; Boston; Buffalo, New York; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Richmond, Virginia; Syracuse, New York; and Washington, DC. All in all, Verizon Fios spans the eight states of Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia. 

Optimum Internet is available to two boroughs in the New York City market -- Brooklyn and the Bronx. It is also available to most of Long Island and a healthy section of northern New Jersey, Dutchess and Westchester counties in New York and portions of Connecticut. 

Locating local internet providers

Also, as I mentioned at the start, Suddenlink is now Optimum, so you'll now be able to find Optimum service in the following 17 states:

Arizona Nevada
Arkansas New Mexico
California North Carolina
Idaho Ohio
Kansas Oklahoma
Kentucky Texas
Louisiana Virginia
Mississippi West Virginia
Show more (4 items)

Optimum vs. Verizon Fios: Plans and prices

On its site, Verizon Fios boasts that its upload speeds are "up to 25x faster than Optimum's cable network." On the flip side, Optimum brags, "If you are being mindful of your budget, Optimum is the better choice." Let's start sorting through it by looking at their available plans and price points.

Optimum plans and pricing

PlanMax speedsStarting monthly priceMonthly equipment feeData capContract
Optimum 300 300Mbps download, 20Mbps upload$40 NoneNoneNone
Fiber Optimum 300 300Mbps download, 300Mbps upload$40 NoneNoneNone
Optimum 500 500Mbps download, 20Mbps upload$60 NoneNoneNone
Fiber Optimum 500 500Mbps download, 500Mbps upload$60 NoneNoneNone
Optimum 1 Gig 940Mbps download, 35Mbps upload$80 NoneNoneNone
Fiber Optimum 1 Gig 940Mbps download, 940Mbps upload$80 NoneNoneNone
Fiber Optimum 2 Gig 2,000Mbps download, 2,000Mbps upload$120 NoneNoneNone
Fiber Optimum 5 Gig 5,000Mbps download, 5,000Mbps upload$180 NoneNoneNone
Show more (3 items)

Verizon Fios plans and pricing

PlanMax speedsStarting monthly priceMonthly equipment feeData capContract
Fios 300 300Mbps download, 300Mbps upload$50 NoneNoneNone
Fios 500 500Mbps download, 500Mbps upload$70NoneNoneNone
Fios 1 Gig 940Mbps download, 880Mbps upload$90 NoneNoneNone
Fios 2 Gig 2,000Mbps download, 2,000Mbps upload$120 NoneNoneNone

Let's start with Optimum. As with many ISPs, the number of plans available will vary based on your location and address. Instead of the 300 and 500 plans, some customers might see a 200 megabits-per-second plan or a 400Mbps option. But what stands out is the highly competitive pricing. Taken across all five plans, the cost per Mbps of Optimum's starting monthly prices is a very affordable 9 cents per Mbps. Even more impressive? The cost per Mbps for the Optimum 5 Gig plan is just under 4 cents. 

Optimum 2 Gig will run customers $120 a month, while Optimum 5 Gig will cost you $180 per month, which is a great value at just under 4 cents per Mbps.

The drawbacks? First, you can see how cable upload speeds don't compare to fiber internet. You only get 20Mbps of upload speed with Optimum 300 and 500; 35Mbps for the 1 Gig plan. What does that mean in the real world? Well, Zoom recommends you have at least 2Mbps upload speeds for a single screen, so if you've got a household with two or three people needing to do some form of videoconferencing, things could get tight quickly. Fiber won't run into that problem.

Second, those super zippy multi-gigabit plans are not available to all locations. Optimum introduced the fiber multi-gigabit plans in portions of Long Island, New York, in the summer of 2022 and it's now also available in parts of Connecticut. But don't expect to see those ultra-fast speeds across the whole Optimum footprint. 

Moving on to Verizon Fios, it keeps things similar across all the areas it serves. The three plans you see are the three plans offered. (One exception -- in New York, Verizon has introduced a 2-gigabit plan as well.) And those plans don't have a promo price that changes to a regular rate after 12 or 24 months. That doesn't mean your rate will never change, but you're not fated to get that dreaded bump in your bill after a year. When looking across Verizon Fios' available plans, the cost per Mbps is just below 12 cents, which can't match Optimum's 9 cents per Mbps. 

Who wins this round?

It depends. Optimum has better prices, but you're not guaranteed to get a fiber internet connection. Verizon Fios, on the other hand, is a 100% fiber connection, which means you get symmetrical upload speeds, which also brings a particular worth. On that note, Optimum obviously sees the value of fiber internet as an Altice spokesperson shared with CNET via email that Optimum Fiber is currently available to over 2 million households, and Optimum's goal is that "fiber deployment continues at a rapid pace." It's not yet widely available, but Optimum is pushing further down that road to reach 6.5 million homes by 2025.

Verizon Fios vs. Optimum: Additional fees and add-on expenses

Verizon Fios and Optimum waive your setup if you order service online, so we've got a draw there. Both ISPs have also kicked data caps to the curb, so you don't need to fear any looming overage fees for your data usage. That's a win for customers of both services. Third, neither Verizon Fios nor Optimum require you to sign a contract, so there's no threat of steep early-termination fees. 

Lastly, you won't have to account for an additional monthly equipment fee with either provider. Previously, Verizon Fios charged customers an additional $15 a month to rent their router. Optimum was a bit cheaper, with its monthly equipment fee ringing in at $10 monthly. That's all moot in 2023 since both have kicked the fee to the curb. 

Optimum vs. Verizon Fios: Perks and promotional deals

Perhaps because they compete in the country's largest metro market, Optimum and Verizon aren't shy about courting customers. 

On the Optimum front, all new internet customers will receive $10-$15 off their monthly bill if they add eligible unlimited Optimum Mobile plans to their service. In addition, new subscribers to the 500 or 2 Gig plan will also receive a Visa prepaid card (either $100 or $500, depending on the plan). 

Optimum also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and a contract buyout as well. If you go to Optimum with a bill from a competing provider -- let's say you recently moved to an Optimum-serviceable address and you're coming from another region where you had a contract with your ISP -- it will give you credit to cover the early termination fee you incurred, up to a maximum amount of $100. 

Verizon Fios has some similar deals and offers to sway you its way. First, like Optimum, it extends an early termination fee offer. But with Verizon, you'll get a bill credit of up to $500 if you switch from your current provider and are charged a termination fee for breaking the contract. Second, Verizon also boasts a 30-day, money-back guarantee offer. Third, customers who sign up for select 5G mobile plans will get $25 off their monthly bill.

As for perks, all new Verizon Fios customers will get a free Walmart Plus subscription (three to 12 months, depending on the Fios plan). All new Fios 1 Gig customers will also receive Disney Plus for free for six months as well as 2TB of Verizon cloud storage. Lastly, Fios customers also get a price-lock guarantee of two to four years, depending on which plan you choose.

ACSI rankings of US customer satisfaction with internet service providers

Verizon Fios definitely has the upper hand when it comes to customer satisfaction.


Verizon Fios vs. Optimum on customer satisfaction

There's no other way to put this -- Optimum has a long way to go to match the customer satisfaction track record of Verizon Fios. Let's start with the 2022 American Customer Satisfaction Index for ISPs. Verizon Fios landed at the top of the chart with 72 out of 100. Verizon landed at the top of this benchmark survey for the seventh straight year. 

Unfortunately for Optimum, the ACSI survey had much harsher news. Optimum scored 59 out of 100, five points below the industry average. Even more distressing, it was lower than the previous year's rating.

Over at the 2022 J.D. Power US Residential Internet Service Provider Satisfaction Study, Optimum's news wasn't much better. The company earned a disappointing score of 642 on a 1,000-point scale, which was well below the East region average of 707 and a drop from the previous year. To add insult to injury, it landed at the bottom of the list, just below Frontier Communications.

Meanwhile, Verizon Fios also ranked high in this satisfaction survey, earning 758 out of 1,000. This was tops in the East region and was the second-highest score across all ISPs in the survey. 

What's the final verdict? Verizon Fios wins most metrics

If you have a choice between Verizon Fios and Optimum, it's tough not to go with Verizon Fios. First, a 100% fiber network will beat cable internet every time, from reliability to symmetrical download and upload speeds. And, despite the compelling savings you'll get with Optimum, Verizon's consistently strong customer satisfaction ratings are enough to put it over the top.

Optimum vs. Verizon Fios FAQs

Is Optimum cheaper than Verizon Fios?

Yes. Optimum is initially cheaper than Verizon Fios. Optimum plans run about $10 per month cheaper than a similar speed tier with Verizon Fios. However, Verizon Fios plans may be less expensive in the long run, as new customers get a price-lock guarantee of two to four years, depending on which speed tier you choose. Optimum does not have a similar policy, so its cheaper prices might increase in the long term.

Which provider offers the fastest plan, Optimum or Verizon Fios?

If you only consider the plans available to all customers across the country, it's a tie. Optimum and Verizon Fios each offer 1 gigabit tiers to all customers within their footprints. But if you take into account the fastest plan that either provider offers to any portion of its customer base, the winner is Optimum. It boasts a 5Gbps tier available in parts of Long Island and Connecticut. Verizon Fios, on the other hand, tops out at 2Gbps, which you can get throughout the New York City market.

Do Optimum and Verizon Fios offer fiber internet?

Yes. Both providers offer their customers fiber internet plans featuring symmetrical download and upload speeds. That said, 100% of all Verizon Fios plans are fiber internet, whereas a decent percentage of Optimum offerings are cable internet, which features equivalent download speeds, but much lower upload speeds. 

Updated April 5, 2023 2:00 p.m. PT

Written by  Trey Paul
CNET staff -- not advertisers, partners or business interests -- determine how we review the products and services we cover. If you buy through our links, we may get paid. Reviews ethics statement
Trey Paul Senior Editor
Trey Paul is a CNET senior editor covering broadband. His 20+ years of experience as a writer and editor include time at CNET's sister site, Allconnect, and working with clients like Yahoo!, Google, The New York Times and Choice Hotels. An avid movie fan, Trey's career also includes being a film and TV critic while pursuing a degree in New York.
Expertise Home internet and broadband, including plans, providers, internet speeds and connection types. Movies and film studies. Credentials
  • Master's degree in Cinema Studies from NYU and interviews with Conan O'Brien, Stan Lee and some of his biggest Star Trek childhood idols
CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET
Sq. Feet of Lab Space

Our expert staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and evaluates our top picks. The order in which our top picks are presented may be impacted by partnerships, and we may get a commission if you buy through our links. How we test ISPs

Enter your address to view internet providers available near you
Why do we ask for your address?
We ask for your address to help pinpoint which providers and plans are available in your area.
Moving or just moved?
Prefer to speak with an expert live? Call (855) 277-9918 for availability in your area.
Enter your address to view what's available near you
Why do we ask for your address?
We ask for your address to help pinpoint which providers and plans are available in your area.
Prefer to speak with an expert live? Call (855) 277-9918 for availability in your area.