September 20, 2015 Jessica Sims
Verizon Fios vs Cablevision (Optimum): What’s Right for You?

Verizon Fios vs Cablevision (Optimum): What’s Right for You?

If you’re in the process of comparing Verizon Fios and Cablevision/Optimum Online then you’ve come to the right place.

Below you’ll find a detailed review of each provider. But before you read on it’s smart to check your availability with each provider before reading on, because if you can’t get service from both then you don’t need to read this. 🙂

Check your Verizon Fios Availability here:

Check your Cablevision (Optimum) Availability here:

Verizon Fios vs Optimum = Fiber Optic vs Cable

Fiber Optic

Fiber Optic Cable [1]

The main difference between Verizon Fios and Cablevision is the technology underlying the service.

Verizon Fios uses a fiber optic connection delivered directly to your home, where Cablevision uses old cable technology.

This allows Verizon Fios to offer some of the fastest internet speeds in the country. That said, connecting Fiber Optic cables directly to customers homes is pretty pricey, so you can expect to pay about $10 more a month with Fios than Cablevision.

With Cablevision you get an older coaxial internet connection which is slower than fiber optic, more prone to problems, and you are also more likely to get less speed than you pay for.[2] That said both companies essentially offer the same services, though Fios routinely gets better customer service reviews,[3] has faster speeds, and a clearer HDTV picture. Also Fios is one of the few providers that has the bandwidth to stream 4k TV content, so if you’re after TV quality then you should definitely look at Fios’ offerings.

If you’re confused about the difference between Cablevision and Optimum Online, don’t be, they are the same company just marketed differently.

Which is Right For You?

Based on the thorough comparison below, here are our recommendations.

Heavy Internet Users: Choose Fios

If you rely on your internet connection for your entertainment, then Fios is your best bet. This is especially true if you work from home, have family members who play video games online, or if you watch a lot of Netflix. Fios is superior because it’s speeds are MUCH much faster than what optimum can offer, but most importantly the internet “feels” faster because of the lower ping.

Check your Fios availability here:

Price Shoppers: It’s a Tie

If price is the most important factor when comparing these two providers, then you need to compare the current deals and specials.

You can see the latest Fios bundles and deals on this page:

You can see the latest Optimum deals and bundles on this page:

TV Watchers: It’s a Tie

Though Fios does have better picture quality than Optimum sometimes you can get access to more channels with Optimum depending on the package. If your family watched a TON of TV, you’ll also want to compare the total cost. Sometimes Optimum charges more than Fios for their DVRs and sometimes Fios costs more. In short, make sure you do a detailed comparison.

That said, Fios is one of the only providers who’s broadband connection will allow you to stream 4k TV reliably in the future, so before you sign up for a long term agreement with Optimum, this is something you may want to consider.

Because Fios deals change often we keep our Fios deals page up to-date every time they roll out new deals.

Key Statistics at a Glance

Verizon Fios Optimum (Cablevision)
Fastest Speeds Offered 500mbps 101mbps
Connection Type Fiber Optic Coaxial Cable
Average Latency by Technology [4] 24.28ms 30.92ms
Technology Available to Consumers 2006 1997
Netflix Ranking[5] 1 2

Overview of Verizon Fios

Verizon FIOS Logo with TV, laptop, and phone in background.Verizon Fios is the nations largest fiber optic provider. They delivery fiber optic connections directly to consumers homes instead of to the “node” or hub like most cable providers. This means you’ll experience a lower latency (resulting in the “feeling of speed” between page loads), faster download and upload speeds, and clearer HD television.

While many customers are upset because Fios has stopped it expansion into new areas due to the cost of laying fiber optics, the customers who can get access to Fios have an opportunity to have some of the fastest internet speeds in the USA.

You can check if you can get Fios on this page here.

Fios Services:

Verizon Fios offers 3 main services, along with bundles of each service type. They are fiber optic internet, TV, and phone service.

  • Fiber Optic Internet: Fios currently offers internet speeds raging from 50/50mbps to 500/500mbps (upload and download). Even the lowest tier of Fios is fast enough to stream online video to multiple devices, talk on the phone, and play video games at the same time.
  • Digital TV: Depending on the TV package you choose, you can get access up to 300 channels with many in HD. There are also plenty of “OnDemand” options along with premium channels such as HBO, Cinemax, Starz, and more.
  • Home Phone: As a general rule most internet providers offer similar packages of unlimited calling nationwide and to select countries. If this part of the plan is important to you, then it is often cheaper to get a bundled package.

Verizon Fios Availability and Map

If you still haven’t checked your availability, you can do so on Verizon’s site or see the map below for a rough idea of where it’s available.

Verizon Fios Availability

Overview of Cablevision (Optimum Online)

Which do You Prefer? Verizon Fios vs. Cablevision

Cablevision also marketed as Optimum Online is a broadband and digital TV provider that uses coaxial cable as it’s core technology. While this type of broadband connection has been around for more than 15 years, for some consumers “cable internet” may still be a good fit.

Optimum Services:

Like Verizon Fios, Cablevision offers 3 key services. They are digital TV, internet, and home phone.

  • Cable Internet: Optimum offers 4 main internet packages ranging from 15mbps download with 5mbps upload to 101mbps download with 35mbps upload.
  • Digital TV: Optimum offers digital TV packages with up to 165 channels in HD, movies on demand, and premium channels as well.
  • Home Phone: Optimum’s home phone plans start at 250 minutes and go up to unlimited for additional fees. If you are a heavy home phone user please compare plans on the optimum website.

Which Provider is Better: Optimum or Fios?

Verizon Fios TV, internet, and home phone deals updated 4 hours ago.
Having been reviewing broadband providers for years and having experienced both Fios and Optimum (Cablevision) I can say both offer really good services.

That said, I’d go with Fios every time, as long as you are OK paying $5-15 extra a month. Since I work from home and my family plays videos games, a reliable and fast internet connection is a must for me.

Feel free to share your experiences with each provider below.

(This article was last update on Jan 12th, 2015 but the comments below were left for reference.)

References and Footnotes

  1. Photo by Wikipedia
  2. FCC's 2011 report
  3. The ACSI compares customer service ratings across industries.
  4. Every year the FCC measures the US's broadband. In the 2014 report the FCC showed that all fiber connections have a lower average ping than other connection types. For more details visit the FCC's website.
  5. Based on December 2014 rankings.

13 comments on “Verizon Fios vs Cablevision (Optimum): What’s Right for You?”

  1. Rich says:

    Had Verizon Fios for four years, the last year was a nightmare. Internet went down twice a month. Fios replaced every piece of equipment and problem persisted. Customer service is a joke. They do not have a clue what they are doing. I use the internet for my employment and I can’t tell you how often I couldn’t work. Finally went back to Optimum. You can keep there lightening fast Internet because when it doesn’t work who cares about the speed!

  2. Fred says:

    Had FIOS double play (phone + 15/5 Internet) for 2 years stating at @ $70. Contract up Oct/2014 – Starting November price jump up to $106.
    Optimum wants $49 for same deal – will call Verizon and see if they can come close.

  3. John says:

    You mentioned Cablevision’s uploads not being disclosed. Standard Internet speeds (15/5). Ultra 50 (50/25) +$4.95. Ultra 101 (101/50)+(est. $50) /

  4. Slava says:

    I have just changed my service from Optimum to Verizon. I had 100M/s Optimum, and I should say Optimum was faster or about the same as Verizon Fios (75M/s – the fastest speed we have in our town). Therefore, ” they are able to deliver speeds and quality of services other providers just can’t compete with” is at least stretched statement.

  5. Ossining says:

    Had Verizon landline phone service for decades but when they increased cost of their “Freedom Package” to around $80/month dumped them. Year ago went to MagicJack Plus; costing around $2.25/month. Decent enough service, with a few problems here and there.

    Presently have Cablevision TV Basic Service @ $19.50/month. This is no longer offered by them and don’t want to lose it.
    Presently tape off my neighbor’s wifi (with consent!) so costs me $0/month.

    Just compared Verizon and Optimum INTERNET & PHONE services ONLY. Though Optimum advertises $49.90/month for both services they won’t refused me because I already have one account (TV) in my name and I live in a 1-family home. Told them a relative is moving in and wants Internet & Phone. Nope, won’t allow it in my home. For $39.95/month they’d let me have Internet only. Excuse me, what they’re doing is denying me service because I live in/own a 1-family home! What about if I want a housemate who wants other Cablevision services? Nope, one home, one bill. Oh, Cablevsions on-line advertisement fails to advise that you MUST rent from them for $7/month a modem, or whatever it’s called. False advertising, IMO.

    Now to Verizon. This old woman orders NOTHING on-line, and does NO on-line banking. The cheapest deals offered by Verizon MUST be placed on-line. But what their on-line ads fail to disclose is that there’s a $69.95 activation charge! Again, false advertising, IMO.

    So I’ll stay with my Magic Jack Plus and share my neighbor’s wi-fi.

  6. Keith Cordero says:

    I initially had optimum and moved to an area that had Fios available. Being intrigued by their claims and positive reviews we decided to try them for a year… It was by far the worst experience I have ever had with an internet provider.

    It started with at the very beginning with installation. Like most other companies they give you a window of time which they will be at your home- They did not arrive until almost 2 hours after the scheduled window of time. Thereafter installation took OVER 3 hours to complete! Everything was finally installed and functioning… until next morning where my wife and I heard a loud “pop”, which apparently was the sound of our Fios box blowing out.

    Sto we called Fios and thought that we would be in great hands because of theit great customer service- we thought wrong. After being connected to person after person we got “disconnected” while holding only to call back and not one person we spoke to placed any notes during multiple conversations! Ultimately they were apologetic and actually gave us $60 off/month for the entire year.

    The actual service itself once operational was good but not noticeably better on speed, TV quality, or phone service. Sufficed to say that immediately when our year was over we switched back to Optimum. I am sure that my experience was an exception and not the norm, however I warn anyone considering Fios to carefully consider with caution.

  7. Alex says:

    When Verizon made FIOS available on my block about five years ago, I decided to switch from Optimum and was a happy customer for years. Last year, I sold my house and moved a few blocks into another house. I just called Verizon to order a new service and they refused to offer FIOS internet stating it’s not available in my house. My neighbor has it, HAD it in my house since he sold it to me (the goddamned FIOS boxes are installed inside and outside my house). After about 5 minutes later, I called Cablevision and have installer coming over to my house tomorrow. Verizon USED to have that “fresh” look about 5 years ago, the techs were excited when they were coming over and raved how great their service was, etc. Today, it’s just a fat cat. Was planning to switch my wireless service to Verizon. No longer interested.

  8. gil vargas says:

    For me Cablevision was really slow no matter what speed package I upgraded to. HDTV was pixleated so much that some channels were unwatchable. I upgraded a couple of times but it just increased my theoretical speed limit but not my actual average speeds whenever I ran a speed test. Cablevision techs came out several times and finally one honest tech explained that because my condo building is 6 floors, we were sharing bandwidth with everyone below us. What good is 100 mbps top speed if you can only get that speed at 2 am but during peak times you’re stuck at DSL speeds? I switched to Fios 25/25 mbps with a mid tier TV package and it’s been flawless. My download speeds during primetime hours are roughly 3 times faster and my upload speeds are easily 10 times faster or better than I had with a higher speed Cablevision package. I’m also paying way less.

  9. Peter Tierno says:

    FIOS may have the bandwidth to stream 4k, but they do not. No one does. In fact. even with FIOS you don’t get full 1080p. You get regular interlaced 1080i. So please don’t bring 4k in the mix. we are a bit away from that. Maybe when google fiber is mainstream with 1G downstream we can hope to see some 4k content.

    • P Nitti says:

      thats funny
      I run a plex server and a roku 4 and have fios 75/75 I can stream 4K content everywhere in my home
      basement and outside on my deck with the fios extender.
      House of cards on netflix…
      so you seem to be one of those geeks who know just enough to be dangerous.

  10. Wen says:

    I have been switching back and forth every 2 years between these 2 providers. I think their performance and price are about the same. But, I would choose Optimal if the price is the same simply because it has FREE PUBLIC WI-FI all over the maps. Verizon has NONE! You didn’t mention this at all and I wonder why?

  11. Jess says:

    In 2001 we switched from dial-up internet service to Optimum Online internet service. Although there were a few problems with the modem (which I suspected was faulty), it was good for a while. However, where I worked we had Optimum Internet and phone from about 2007 to 2011. The internet service was awful. You could tell it was a shared connection because every day right at a certain time (usually around 3pm) our internet service would slow to a CRAWL. We could hardly get anything done! Our phone service got really bad around that time too, at most times there wouldn’t even be a dial tone. I can’t even count how often we had technicians over to fix the problem. It seemed to happen almost on a weekly basis. We wanted to get FIOS but it wasn’t available in that area. The ridiculous thing was that if our building was located just half a block east, we’d be able to get it. Meanwhile, our Optimum internet service at home from about 2007-2008 was having a lot of problems. Very slow, constant outages. They even had to replace our wire a few times. We had enough with their price increases and shoddy service, so we switched to Verizon FIOS in 2009 and still have it to this day. I have to say we haven’t had ANY problems at all with them. One of my cable boxes bit the dust about a year back, but I’d had it for over 5 years and it wasn’t a big deal to replace. Since we switched, Optimum keeps bugging us to switch back. A few years ago I even told them about the problems we had with them being a shared connection. The technician gave me a stupid excuse, like “Oh, but FIOS has shared connections, too!” Uh huh. Never going back to them.

  12. Feuerball says:

    I was with FIOS for more than one year with 25Mbs Internet and a basic Tv package as well as DVR and go charged $145/month. Mind you, this TV package did not even have ESPN or TBS. The other downside is that we really hated the DVR GUI and hardware. for one, thing, it is impossible to find a cheap universal remote that works do the DVR. The GUI for the DVR is badly designed, channels are not grouped together and it took s a long time to figure out how to only show the subscribed channels, avoid the pop ups. than you still have to deal with all that clutter about PPV and what not.

    I switched to Cablevision 60Mbs internet and basic TV channel for $118 , which now includes ESPN and TBS? despite my concerns, I found the Internet to be equivalent to FIOS (ping and speed) and the DVR is now much easier to operate. The channel guide is now simpler and does not look as pretty, but very functional. I am very happy that I quite FIOS for good.

    I probably could have worked down the price for the FIOS package to the same than the Cablevision package, but that still would have left me without a few channels that I’d like to have and the badly (Imo) designed DVR. I very much prefer Cablevision/Optimum.

    FWIW! I am in Suffolk county /Long Island

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