Optimum Internet Plans for Seniors

AT&T Internet Plans Tested and Reviewed by Our Tech Experts in 2024

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SeniorLiving.org Rating:
3.5 of 5
21 States
$30 per month starting price
2 Gbps speeds
No contracts

SeniorLiving.org is compensated when you click on the provider links listed on this page. This compensation does not impact our ratings or reviews. Read our Editorial Guidelines here to learn more about our review process and to learn more about how we are compensated.

SeniorLiving.org Rating:
3.5 of 5
taylor shuman Corey Whelan Headshot
Taylor Shuman, Senior Tech Expert & Editor Corey Whelan, Health Writer and Patient Advocate

You already know that older adults are a force to be reckoned with, but it may surprise you to learn that 88 percent of Americans aged 65 and up use the internet on a regular basis. That’s only 9 percent less than the highest-use age group, 18 to 29-year-olds.2 Whether you’re totally addicted or you only dip a toe online occasionally, you’re going to want fast, reliable, and affordable internet.

Optimum is a well-established internet company that offers plans in 21 states.2 I’ve been an Optimum internet user for eight years, and some of SeniorLiving.org’s staffers are Optimum customers as well. We’ve gotten to know this provider pretty well through our collective experience, and can sum up the pros and cons of their internet plans and other services. So, let’s dig into the plans Optimum offers.

Pros

  • Accessibility adjustments for multiple disabilities are available
  • Plans start at $30 monthly
  • Customer service has improved in recent years

Cons

  • Prices skyrocket when promos end
  • Senior discounts are complicated to apply for
  • Coverage area is only 21 states
  • Fiber internet (the fastest option) isn’t always available

Optimum Internet Plans at a Glance

Plan 300 Mbps 500 Mbps 1 Gig 2 Gig
Price per month without discounts $40 $60 $80 $120
Discounted price per month with unlimited mobile plan, autopay, and paperless billing discounts $30 $30 $45 $55
Download speeds Up to 300 Mbps Up to 500 Mbps Up to 940 Mbps Up to 2 Gbps
Activation and installation fees $100 for professional installation, $0 for self installation or for online purchase $100 for professional installation, $0 for self installation or for online purchase $100 for professional installation, $0 for self installation or for online purchase $100 for professional installation, $0 for self installation or for online purchase
Included equipment and extras Modem: $12 – $13 per month Modem: $12 – $13 per month 1 free gateway and 1 Wi-Fi extender if needed 1 free Gateway and 1 Wi-Fi extender if needed
Price guarantee 1 year 1 year 1 year 1 year
Data Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Installation type Self or professional installation Self or professional installation Self or professional installation Self or professional installation
Contract required No No No No

Which Optimum Internet Plan Is Best for Me?

Optimum is an internet service provider owned by Altice USA, an American cable television provider. Optimum currently offers four internet plans. Each plan is powered by either fiber optic or coaxial cable, based on your location. Of the two connection types, fiber is faster and more reliable.

None of Optimum’s plans require you to sign an annual contract. They also offer a 60-day money-back guarantee if you’re not happy with your service, and installation is free when you order online. None of Optimum’s plans have data caps, so you can eat up data to your heart’s content!

Pro Tip:

Pro Tip: Check out SeniorLiving.org’s picks for the best internet for seniors to compare your options.

Unlike AT&T, which only offers accessibility plans for hearing and speech disabilities, Optimum lets you set up accessibility profiles for many situations that might make internet use challenging. These include epilepsy, low vision, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), cognitive disability, and more.

Below is a breakdown of Optimum’s plans and who they’re best for.

300 Mbps

This is Optimum’s least expensive package. If you order online or self-install, you can save yourself the $100 installation fee. We’ve found that installation is simple. When one of our contributor’s first ordered Optimum, they had a technician come out to their home to check that their wiring was up to date. Then, when they moved to a new apartment, all they had to do was update their address with Optimum, set up their router in the new location, and they were good to go!

The 300 Mbps package doesn’t come with any added “gifts” or perks with purchase. It’s a fairly standard internet deal designed for lower-use customers.

Speed

The 300 Mbps plan is the slowest one Optimum offers. Like all Optimum plans, this speed level is based on a wired connection and not guaranteed. During a speed test with this plan, I clocked download speeds of 188.12 Mbps on a computer connected to the internet.

The 300 Mbps plan may be a good choice for smaller households. It should provide plenty of speed for streaming, surfing the web, and downloading files on multiple devices. However, it probably won’t provide enough speed for heavy gamers or lots of HD streamers.

I live in Brooklyn, New York, and have had the 300 Mbps plan for around eight years. I’m on the internet nonstop and am a heavy user for work, but not for playing games or streaming video. During work hours I find the 300 Mbps plan to be fast enough, but with some annoying lag times. I live in a one-floor apartment with two other people (and a small dog who likes to watch animal videos, but can’t turn the computer on herself — at least not yet!). At night when everyone is home, this plan pretty much fills our needs.

Price

Optimum’s 300 Mbps internet package costs $40 per month, plus the cost of a modem at $12 to $13 per month, based on your location.

Optimum locks this price in for one year only. That means you’ll need to prepare for price hikes after a year, and I’ve found that these increases can be pretty substantial. This is pretty typical for large internet providers, which I’m not a big fan of. You can get discounts for autopay and paperless billing, as well as for adding on unlimited mobile service.

Enrolling in paperless billing through the Optimum mobile app

Enrolling in paperless billing through the Optimum mobile app

If you’re currently enrolled in the Federal Government’s Affordable Connectivity Program, this plan will be fully covered if you switch to Optimum.3 However, it’s important to note that the program stopped accepting new applicants in early 2024, and it’s only fully funded through April of 2024. We are unsure what will happen to the program after this date.

I currently pay $61.09 for the 300 Mbps plan as part of a bundled package that includes TV and a landline. Recently, I was pretty surprised when my bill jumped up by $42 unexpectedly. After calling customer service, I found out this was due to the expiration of promotional internet and TV prices, plus a surprise price spike for my landline service.

Around 75 percent of older adults rely on landlines as well as mobile phones.4 Optimum offers both options. I’m a die-hard New Yorker who lived through 9/11 when cell phone service was nonexistent for days, but landlines consistently worked. I also made it through Superstorm Sandy, when flooded streets crashed landline service for a week, but cell phones worked just fine. For those reasons, I keep both lines of communication open, just like many savvy older adults. I’m glad that Optimum still offers landline services. But enough about landlines, let’s get back to talking about Optimum internet!

 

500 Mbps

The 500 Mbps plan may be a good choice for spread-out, multi-floor households that contain many working devices and internet users. If you have grandkids who visit and love to play games and stream videos, this plan may be a good choice for you.

It may also be a good choice if you run smart appliances like a touch-screen refrigerator or depend upon a medical alert system that uses Wi-Fi.

Speed

One of our staffers has a 500 Mbps Optimum internet plan. For the longest time, she didn’t get the speed she was paying for. Finally, she called the company. A representative told her that she had a modem that was a few years out of date. After upgrading her modem and purchasing a new router (rather than renting it monthly from Optimum), she typically gets close to the speed she pays for. Impressively, during one speed test, she actually had download speeds of around 540 Mbps. That’s 40 Mbps faster than what she pays for!

Taking a speed test with Optiumum

Taking a speed test with Optiumum.

Price

The Optimum 500 Mbps plan is $60 a month. You can cut that in half by adding mobile service (for an additional fee), plus autopay and paperless billing. This plan comes with a $50 gift card to Home Depot or Best Buy. That’s a nice little new customer perk!

Optimum prices are fairly competitive until their promos expire. That has definitely been the experience of our staffer who has this plan. Up until about a month ago, she was paying for the 500 Mbps plan and TV through a two-year Optimum promotion. Since she didn’t use the TV portion, she dropped that part of the service when her promo expired and her bill went up.

If your bill does increase after a promo ends, I always recommend giving them a call to see if there are any new deals going on. You can also change your plan straight from the mobile app.

Upgrading your plan

Upgrading your plan

1 Gig

The 1 Gig plan is significantly faster than the 300 or 500 Mbps plans. If you have a large household with multiple users who stream lots of media, play online games, or use smart home devices, this may be a great choice for you. However, in my experience, most older adults won’t need this much speed.

Speed

Optimum’s 1 Gig plan provides download and upload speeds up to 940 Mbps. Just remember that these maximum speeds are through a wired connection, and the actual speeds aren’t guaranteed by the company, including those over Wi-Fi. Even so, I’ve found that this plan lives up to expectations. If you have a need for speed, this plan will fit the bill.

Price

Optimum’s 1 Gig plan starts at $80 per month. You can knock that down to just $45 per month if you opt into autopay, paperless billing, and unlimited mobile service. You’ll just have to pay an additional fee for mobile service. But hey, that’s two birds with one stone!

This plan comes with one free gateway (a device that acts as a combined modem and router). It also comes with one free Wi-Fi extender if your installer recommends it for your home’s layout. Some internet providers charge extra for extenders, so I’m a big fan of this free equipment.

The 1 Gig plan will also score you a $200 gift card to Best Buy, Home Depot, or Snappy Gift.

Like all of Optimum’s plans, this cost is locked in for one year only. Optimum states on its website that rates are subject to increases at any time, so you can expect a price hike once you hit your anniversary month.

2 Gig

This is Optimum’s fastest plan. It may be a good choice for heavy internet users who do lots of streaming and gaming. If you’re looking for speed and near-zero lag, this plan is your best bet from Optimum.

If you have a highly connected smart house with lots of internet-powered devices (think Alexa, Ring doorbell, etc.), the 2 Gig plan may also be a good choice. But similar to the 1 Gig plan, we think these speeds are overkill for the average user. Still, if you want the fastest option out there, it’s available!

Speed

Optimum doesn’t ensure its speeds up to the maximum 2 Gbps. They do state that this plan provides download and upload speeds up to 2 Gigs through a wired connection. So, if you’re a gamer who uses a wired connection, you should experience significantly fast speeds. If Optimum doesn’t offer fiber internet where you live, your speeds may be lower through Optimum’s cable connection; cable internet is typically slower and less consistent than fiber, so that’s something to note when you shop for a plan.

Price

This plan costs $120 a month without discounts. With discounts for unlimited mobile service, autopay, and paperless billing, that price comes down pretty significantly to $55 per month.

The 2 Gig plan comes with one free gateway and one free Wi-Fi extender, if recommended by your service installer. It also comes with a $300 gift card to Best Buy, Home Depot, or Snappy Gift. I have to say, these new customer perks are pretty enticing. Just remember that your prices will likely increase after the first year.

Reliability

Optimum service is fairly reliable, but outages aren’t unheard of. When they do occur, I’ve found that they can last for up to two days and typically cover a wide service area.

I remember two instances when I — along with several of my neighbors and a slew of local businesses — lost internet for several days without explanation from Optimum. Several stores and supermarkets within a three-mile radius had to use dial-up to process transactions because Optimum was down. Talk about old school!

One of our staffers also wakes up some mornings to outages. But she’s glad that the Optimum app sends an alert when service goes down, as well as when it goes back up again. Luckily, these occurrences aren’t the norm.

Optimum Equipment

300 Mbps and 500 Mbps Plans

Optimum’s 300 Mbps and 500 Mbps plans require the use of a modem/router. You can rent Optimum’s modem for $12 to $13 a month, or buy a compatible one to use. If you want to save on your monthly bill, purchasing your own equipment is an easy way to save. But if you rent your modem from Optimum, it comes with 24/7 tech support, which is handy for less tech-savvy users.

If you choose to purchase your modem, Optimum recommends getting a DOCSIS-certified DOCSIS 3.1 modem for all internet speed plans.5

1 Gig and 2 Gig Plans

Optimum will give you one free gateway with either of these high-speed plans. If your home is large, multi-floored, or has an unusual layout, you may need a Wi-Fi extender. If your installer recommends an extender, you’ll get it free of charge. Additional extenders cost $4.95 monthly. You’ll most likely need an extender if you have a large outdoor space where you’d like coverage.

Does Optimum Have a Senior Discount for Internet?

Optimum offers senior discounts in some areas, but determining your eligibility and applying for one can be complicated.

When speaking with Optimum’s billing department, I was told that senior discounts are negotiated within communities, based on Optimum’s franchising agreements. Your age, income level, and the internet or bundled package you choose will all be taken into account when you apply for a discount.

Since not every service area within the Optimum network offers senior discounts, you’ll have to go in person to the Optimum store located nearest your home to find out if you can get one.

Some local principalities, such as Hawthorne, New Jersey, advertise access to Optimum discounts for seniors. You can try reaching out to your local representatives to see if they have information about senior discounts through Optimum, or through other internet providers.

For some seniors, the Lifeline program may be a better bet for discounted service. Lifeline is a federal program that offers low-income households a discount on phone or internet service. Lifeline is available in every state, territory, and commonwealth of the U.S. It’s also available on Tribal  lands.6

Optimum Internet Bundles

Viewing the channels in an Optimum TV and internet bundle

Viewing the channels in an Optimum TV and internet bundle

You can bundle TV into your Optimum internet package with any of these four add-ons:

Program Basic TV Core TV Select TV Premier TV
Number of channels 50 channels, includes all major networks 220 channels, includes ESPN, TNT, CNN, Fox, and more 340 channels, includes kid’s channels like Nick Jr., Hallmark, and TV Land 420 channels, includes HBO, HBO Family, and Starz
Monthly cost $40 $95 $115 $135

 

Optimum Customer Service

We’ve found that Optimum’s customer service is unpredictable. Optimum has had a monopoly in many locations along the East Coast for a long time, which may be a factor in customer dissatisfaction over the years.

Optimum has logged in over 9,000 customer complaints on the Better Business Bureau’s website over the last three years. Here, they get a 1-star F rating.7

As glum as that sounds, internet providers don’t generally receive stellar online reviews. I’ve also noticed that Optimum’s customer service has improved recently. This may be in reaction to the addition of new internet providers, such as Verizon, in their local service areas.

Pro Tip:

Pro Tip: Want to compare your options? Check out our 2024 Verizon internet review.

We’ve found that Optimum’s customer service is currently pretty good. They’ve become more helpful and patient. They also engage in just the right amount of small talk on the phone.

Wait times to speak to representatives are also much shorter than they were in the not-so-distant past. This alone can reduce frustration when you’re waiting to talk to an agent.

To reach a live agent at Optimum, call their toll-free number at 1-888-467-8468. You can also use their online chat feature to get basic information from a bot. Or, you can explore different ways to connect through Optimum’s mobile app.

Getting customer support through the Optimum mobile app

Getting customer support through the Optimum mobile app.

How Does Optimum Compare to Other Internet Providers?

If Optimum isn’t for you or isn’t available in your area, there are other internet providers that may be a better fit. Let’s compare some popular options below:

  • Xfinity is available in 41 states, compared to Optimum’s 21. At $19.95 per month, Xfinity’s internet plans start at a lower price point for those who qualify. Optimum’s money-back guarantee is longer, however, at 60 days to Xfinity’s 30. You can read our full Xfinity internet review to learn more.
  • AT&T is one of the largest and most popular internet providers around. Plans start at $55, compared to Optimum’s $30 (with discounts). AT&T and Optimum don’t have data caps on any of their plans. AT&T offers a very fast 5 Gbps plan, which is probably overkill for most people. Not to be outdone, Optimum is currently rolling out a vanity 8 Gbps plan that’s sparsely available as of this writing. Since it’s only available in a tiny handful of spots, we didn’t include it in our roundup. But, if spaceship-level speed is your thing, you can get on Optimum’s list for this service here. To get the inside scoop on AT&T, check out our 2024 AT&T internet review.
  • Like Xfinity, Spectrum is available in 41 states. They offer three plans that start at $49.99, so they’re a bit more expensive than Optimum. But they do give you a free modem, which Optimum doesn’t do. So their overall costs may balance out in the long run. Head to our Spectrum internet review for all the details.
Did You Know?

Did You Know? Granfluencers have become a phenomenon on social media. You don’t have to be a teen to get a following. All you need is a larger-than-life persona and a story to tell.8

The Bottom Line

Optimum is a leading internet provider that offers plans in 21 stats. The provider’s plans have download speeds ranging from 300 Mbps to 2 Gbps, with an ultrafast 8 Gbps plan on the way in some areas. You can get Optimum internet starting at $30 a month with discounts.

From our experience, we’ve found that Optimum’s less-than-stellar reputation has improved in recent years. Even if you’ve had a bad experience with them in the past, it may be worth taking another look. They offer fast speeds, great introductory deals, and options to bundle. Just remember to leave some wiggle room in your budget for price increases down the line.

Frequently Asked Questions About Optimum Internet

  • Is Optimum expensive?

    Optimum’s internet plans start at $30 a month, but costs creep up once their promotional periods end. Even so, they’re relatively comparable to other internet leaders like Spectrum.

  • Is Optimum good for gaming?

    Optimum’s higher-speed plans are fast enough to accommodate gaming and video streaming. If you or your loved ones can’t get enough of “Fortnite” or “The Last of Us” (our favorite), you’ll find Optimum to be a good choice.

  • Is Optimum internet safe?

    Optimum has built-in security features to help keep you protected online. However, scammers are everywhere and they often prey on seniors. Make sure to put safeguards in place for you and your family, such as antivirus protectors, parental controls, and strong passwords.

  • Can I self-install Optimum?

    Optimum offers a self-installation option on most of its plans. If you’re buying a high-speed plan, it may make sense to have a technician do the heavy lifting, especially if you think you might need a Wi-Fi extender. If you live in an older building, you should also have your wiring professionally checked to avoid connectivity issues.

  • What are AT&T’s bill payment options?

    AT&T has several options to pay your bill. You can pay online and even set up automatic payments through their website. You can also pay your bill by phone, mail, or in person.

Citations
  1. Statista. (2023). Share of adults in the United States who use the internet as of September 2023, by age group.
    .

  2. Optimum. (2024). Coverage Map.

  3. Optimum. (2024). FAQs.

  4. News-Press Now. (2022). Landlines still hanging on with some populations.

  5. Optimum. (2024). Optimum Internet Compatible Modem/Gateways.

  6. Federal Communications Commission. (2024). Lifeline Program for Low-Income Consumers.

  7. Better Business Bureau. (2024). Optimum.

  8. Social Standard. (2023). The Rise of the Granfluencer.

Written By:
Corey Whelan
Health Writer and Patient Advocate
Corey has been writing about Medicare, senior living, and health for over 10 years. Her career spans 20+ years in the nonprofit sector, where she served as an educator and patient advocate for organizations including The American Fertility Association and… Learn More About Corey Whelan
Reviewed By:
Taylor Shuman
Senior Tech Expert & Editor
As SeniorLiving.org’s tech expert and editor, Taylor has years of experience reviewing products and services for seniors. She is passionate about breaking down stigmas related to seniors and technology. She loves finding innovative ways to teach seniors about products and… Learn More About Taylor Shuman