Almost every company in the telecommunication industry markets its internet services by highlighting the best features of its deals and hiding the less attractive aspects. These advertisements might tempt you into signing up for the first provider you come across. But how can you really tell which is the best internet provider for your home?

Therefore, internet service comparisons are necessary to make better decisions. But not everyone has the time to sit and sift through the internet to figure out every detail. If your choice comes down to Spectrum vs Optimum, this guide will provide you with a detailed comparison of their services, including prices, plans, speeds, and much more.

Spectrum

Charter Communications uses its brand, Spectrum, to offer various telecommunication services to approximately 32 million people across 41 states. This makes Spectrum the second largest cable internet and the third largest internet provider in the country.

Spectrum’s award-winning hybrid fiber-coaxial cable network delivers high-speed internet, cable TV, and home phone services to consumers. The company has also recently dived into a new market and now offers mobile service, Spectrum Mobile. This leading cable internet provider has a strong presence in urban areas but is rarely available in rural locations due to infrastructure limitations.

Get Spectrum Internet Plans at Promotional Pricing

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Optimum

Optimum is a brand of Altice, an American cable provider based in Long Island, New York. Altice also owns several other companies, and its recent acquisition of Suddenlink has expanded Optimum’s coverage, making it the fourth largest cable internet provider in the country.

In addition to cable internet, Optimum also uses fiber technology to service 1.6 million people. This internet provider has decent coverage and is primarily accessible in large metro areas of Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. Overall, optimum is a reasonable option for budget-conscious people.

Pros & Cons – Spectrum vs Optimum

Pros
Spectrum Optimum
Wide coverage Fiber plans available
Straightforward pricing No data caps
No data caps No contracts
No contracts 2-year price guarantee
Free access to Wi-Fi hotspots
Cons
Spectrum Optimum
Below-average customer service Low score for customer service
Limited coverage
High post promotional pricing

Internet Service Comparison – Spectrum vs Optimum

FeaturesSpectrumOptimum
Internet Plans38
Price Range$49.99/month – $89.99/month$40.00/month – $180.00/month
Speed Range300 Mbps – 1000 Mbps300 Mbps – 5000 Mbps
Internet TypeCableFiber, Cable
Data CapsNoneNone
Bundle DealsYesYes
ContractsNoneNone
Wide Coverage AreaYesNo
Additional FeeYesYes

Spectrum is primarily a cable internet provider, but Optimum also offers fiber internet service along with cable internet. This is why you get more internet plans with Optimum. Both providers deliver contract-free internet plans with unlimited data and similar speeds to 1000 Mbps, but their promotional rates differ significantly. Optimum’s starting prices may be lower, but its post-promotional costs are considerably higher than Spectrum.

We usually measure the reliability of an internet service by its availability, affordability, and accessibility. Optimum falls short in terms of coverage as it only operates in 21 states. They also have different markets as Spectrum usually caters to urban populations in 41 states, and Optimum also panders to underserved areas. However, their services overlap in the Northeast. Let’s analyze Spectrum vs Optimum in detail.

Internet Plans

Optimum’s coverage mainly comprises cable internet with a smaller fiber footprint. This is why it has more internet plans than Spectrum. Additionally, Spectrum’s internet plans may have a higher starting point than Optimum, but they provide more value for money in the long run. Here is an overview of the pricing and plans of both providers.

Spectrum

Spectrum does not give you more options, but it provides simplicity by offering three plans with varying speeds and introductory rates. Spectrum’s starting prices are $10 higher than Optimum’s, but the best thing about this provider is the transparency about pricing. Unlike other providers, Spectrum straightforwardly provides all the details about the expected price hikes and additional fees.

Spectrum’s cable internet plans are sufficient for most people, with high speeds, unlimited data, and a free modem. Additionally, Spectrum gives a 30-day money-back guarantee to all new customers, which further adds to this provider’s reliability.

PlanPriceDownload Speed / Upload SpeedContact Spectrum
Spectrum Internet$49.99/month300 Mbps / 10 MbpsCall Now
Spectrum Internet Ultra$69.99/month500 Mbps / 20 MbpsCall Now
Spectrum Internet Gig$89.99/month1000 Mbps / 35 MbpsCall Now

Optimum

Optimum gives you a wide range of internet plans with more affordable introductory rates. Its internet plans and speeds vary with location, and some areas get 100 Mbps, 200 Mbps, and 400 Mbps instead of the 300 and 500 Mbps plans. Its gig plan is also not available at every address.

High price hikes have always been the issue with Optimum, but this provider now provides a 2-year price lock, exempting you from the fear of unprecedented hikes for two years. However, Spectrum Optimum is not very clear about the expected price hikes after the end of this period. Here is an overview of the Optimum cable internet plans.

Optimum Cable Internet Plans
PlanMonthly Promotional PriceDownload Speed / Upload SpeedContact Provider
Optimum 300$40.00/month300 Mbps / 35 MbpsCall Now
Optimum 500$60.00/month500 Mbps / 35 MbpsCall Now
Optimum 1 Gig$80.00/month1000 Mbps / 50 MbpsCall Now
*with Auto Pay & Paperless Bill *Prices will decrease by $10 if paired with unlimited mobile plans
Optimum Fiber Internet Plans

About 1.6 million customers in Optimum’s coverage area can access its fiber internet service. The first three fiber internet plans are similar to its cable internet plans, in terms of download speeds and pricing. But upload speeds are where they differ. Optimum has also recently introduced multi-gig plans at affordable promotional rates in select areas.

PlanMonthly Promotional PriceDownload Speed / Upload SpeedContact Provider
Optimum Fiber 300$40.00/month300 Mbps / 300 MbpsCall Now
Optimum Fiber 500$60.00/month500 Mbps / 500 MbpsCall Now
Optimum Fiber 1 Gig$80.00/month1000 Mbps / 1000 MbpsCall Now
Optimum Fiber 2 Gig$120.00/month2000 Mbps / 2000 MbpsCall Now
Optimum Fiber 5 Gig$180.00/month5000 Mbps / 5000 MbpsCall Now
with Auto Pay & Paperless Bill Prices will decrease by $10 if paired with unlimited mobile plans 

Internet Speed

Spectrum and Optimum offer similar download speeds of up to 1000 Mbps if we only compare the cable internet service. Their upload speeds are what makes them different. Optimum offers a slightly higher range from 35 Mbps to 50 Mbps, while Spectrum’s upload speeds max out at 35 Mbps. However, Optimum’s actual speeds depend on your location, as some addresses get plans with lower internet speeds than 300 Mbps.

Optimum also offers fiber internet to a tenth of its customers, which provides symmetrical speeds up to 5000 Mbps. These blazingly fast speeds can support any internet activity, including the devices of your smart homes. In terms of reliable internet speeds, Spectrum is a clear winner if Optimum fiber internet service is unavailable in your area.

Type of Internet

Spectrum predominantly provides cable internet, but Optimum also uses fiber-optic technology to deliver broadband access. However, its fiber footprint is limited to very few areas. Both Spectrum and Optimum rely on the existing cable TV infrastructure to provide cable internet. Hence, you get the asymmetrical speed and experience slow internet during rush hours.

In contrast, Optimum uses the latest fiber-optic technology to service a tenth of its customers. Since the data travels in the form of light, you get symmetrical and more reliable speeds. Since fiber internet is relatively new, it is not as widespread as cable internet, and its installation is also comparatively difficult. 

Bundle Deals

Bundling provides a convenient way to perform your daily internet activities, enjoy your favorite shows, and stay connected with your loved ones through one provider. So, if you are searching for internet, TV, and home phone services, both providers offer them in one package with some additional perks.

Spectrum

Spectrum does not provide discounts with its Spectrum TV and internet bundles. But it allows you to customize them according to your preferences. You can combine any Spectrum internet plan with Spectrum TV Select and enjoy the traditional TV experience. For premium channels, Spectrum offers various add-ons which you can add to your package. Additionally, Spectrum Voice gives you a high-quality calling experience with me than 28 features. Here are some of the top Spectrum bundles.

PackageStarting PriceInternet SpeedTV ChannelsHome PhoneContact Spectrum
Spectrum Internet + TV Select + Voice$114.97/monthUp to 1 Gbps125+Unlimited calling with 28 featuresCall Now
Spectrum Internet Ultra + TV Select$99.98/monthUp to 1 Gbps125+Call Now

Optimum:

Unlike Spectrum, Optimum offers various TV packages and allows you to choose bundles according to your entertainment requirements. This provider also offers premium channels as add-ons and also allows you to add International content to your package at some additional cost. You can also reduce the cost of your monthly internet package by combining it with any unlimited mobile plan for the family. Here are the best Optimum bundles.

PackageStarting PriceInternet SpeedTV ChannelsHome PhoneContact Provider
Optimum 1 Gig + Core TV + Digital Phone$169.99/month1000 Mbps220+Unlimited calling in the unlimited dataCall Now
Optimum 300 + Premier TV$145.99/month300 Mbps420+Call Now

Customer Service

Good customer service is inherently important for retaining customers. Unfortunately, internet providers are not known for their customer service. Nevertheless, Spectrum has significantly better customer service than Optimum. Spectrum maintained its last year’s score of 63 in this year’s report by the American Customer Satisfaction Index as well.

In contrast, Optimum is constantly seeing a decline in its customer service. Its ACSI score of 59 shows a 1-point decrease from last year. Moreover, this score is six points below the industry average, which is concerning for this ISP. It also did not show promising results in J.D. Power’s latest study, scoring 655 and ranking below Spectrum.

Coverage Area

In terms of coverage, although Optimum has recently expanded to 21 states after merging with Suddenlink, it still falls way below Spectrum. Except for these states, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Iowa, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, and Washington, DC, you can find Spectrum everywhere. Remember that although Spectrum is available in 41 states, it does not cover every area. Spectrum mainly operates in areas where a cable network exists, which is why you rarely find this provider in rural locations.

On the other hand, Optimum’s coverage spans 21 states but only in patches. You can mainly find this provider in the Bronx and Brooklyn, two boroughs of New York City. It also covers parts of Arkansas, California, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, Texas, Kentucky, West Virginia, and more. 

Additional Fee

Both providers’ services include additional costs, but Spectrum is very upfront about them. Since both providers offer contract-free plans, you don’t have to worry about early termination fees. Here is an overview of all the additional costs included in your internet service. 

Equipment Fee

Optimum no longer charges an equipment rental fee. On the other hand, you have to pay $5 every month for Spectrum’s router and $3 for every unit of its Wi-Fi Pod (in case you want to use it). You can avoid this fee by purchasing your own equipment.

ProviderEquipment Fee
SpectrumModem – FreeWi-Fi router – $5/monthWi-Fi Pod – $3/unit per month
OptimumFree

Installation Fee

Similarly, both providers offer a free installation option, but Spectrum requires a one-time service activation fee of $19.99. The professional installation of Optimum gives you two options – standard and premium, depending on the number of devices. Both of these options are more expensive than Spectrum’s professional installation.

ProviderInstallation Fee
SpectrumSelf-installation – Free but requires a $19.99 service activation fee professional Installation – $49.99Wi-Fi Pod Installation – $49.99
OptimumSelf-installation – FreeStandard Installation – $99.99Premium Installation – $149.99

Other Fees

SpectrumOptimum
Late payment fee (after 21 days) – $8.95Late payment fee – $10.00
Reconnection fee – $9.99Returned check fee – $20.00
Equipment upgrade to Gig plan – $19.99Restore service fee ( 1 – 2 products) – $10.00Restore service fee ( 3 products) -$15.00

Internet for Gaming 

Online games are efficient for unwinding, and many gamers rely on them to escape reality. However, they require reliable internet with high speed and low latency to minimize disruptions. 

Optimum can be an excellent internet for gaming if its fiber service is available in your area. But since it has limited availability and its cable internet speeds fluctuate with locations, we recommend Spectrum. With high internet speeds up to 1000 Mbps, unlimited data, and low latency, Spectrum caters to every gamer’s requirements and provides a smooth gaming experience. Therefore, Spectrum is one of the best internet providers for gaming.

Conclusion

You can get your home internet through many ways, but a reliable internet provider can help you get the best-uninterrupted service for all your daily activities. The discourse between Spectrum vs Optimum comes down to speed, affordability, and availability. Hence, Spectrum is a clear winner as this provider offers you the internet speeds you require, is honest about the pricing and has a wide coverage area. 

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