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Bend Broadband vs. Optimum vs. Smithville Internet plan comparison


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Researched by
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Reviewed by
Bri FieldAssigning Editor
Updated 6/26/24

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Bend Broadband brand
Staff rating
3.8
Customer rating
4.0
(2)

  • Plans starting at $54.99
  • Download speeds up to 1Gbps
Optimum brand
Staff rating
4.1
Customer rating
3.8
(70)

  • Plans starting at $15.00
  • Download speeds up to 940 Mbps
Smithville brand
Staff rating
3.8

  • Plans starting at $29.05
  • Download speeds up to 1 Gbps
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See what providers service your area.
Bend Broadband brand
Staff rating
3.8

Big speeds and big value from a small-town provider

BendBroadband offers a surprisingly strong internet service to the towns around Bend, Oregon. Despite the occasional customer service issue, we think it’s one of the most compelling options in the area.

What we like

  • Competitive pricing
  • No contracts
  • Unlimited data options
What we dislike

  • Regular price increases
  • No true budget plan
Savings tip: Bend Broadband often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
Optimum brand
Staff rating
4.1

Optimum offers fast internet speeds at reasonable prices

If you can get fiber internet from Optimum, you'll get great all-around service, amazing introductory prices, and fast, reliable internet. If you order online, you'll get free installation and equipment included when you sign up for a new internet plan. If Optimum's fiber internet isn't available in your area, you may be able to sign up for one of its cable plans instead. The best part is Optimum offers a 60-day, money-back guarantee.

What we like

  • Affordable prices
  • No data caps or contracts
  • Cable and fiber offerings
What we dislike

  • Limited availability
Savings tip: Optimum often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
Smithville brand
Staff rating
3.8

Fast, inexpensive internet for rural Hoosiers

Rural south and central Indianans can get this company’s affordable, high-speed, reliable fiber internet with no contract and no data cap. And if you don’t have access to Smithville yet, you might soon. It’s expanding fast!

What we like

  • High-speed, reliable rural internet
  • Low cost
  • No contract
What we dislike

  • No self-setup option
  • Costly customer support
  • Possible legacy DSL speeds
Savings tip: Smithville often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
Bend Broadband brand
Value
4.0
Surprisingly strong value for a local provider

BendBroadband looks like a local brand, but it's actually owned by TDS, which services over 1,000 communities across the country(1). Still, it offers a surprisingly strong value proposition. BendBroadband's plans are competitively priced, there are no contracts required, and the installation and equipment fees are reasonable. Taken together, it feels like you get your money’s worth, which is ultimately the most important thing when assessing value.

Our one knock here is that there’s no true budget plan available for those who don’t need 300+ Mbps internet. For single-person households, 100 Mbps is often plenty fast, so this could be a drawback if you live alone—or with a couple of people who don't stream a lot or work from home.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
Bend Broadband's website
or call 1-844-733-6485 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
Optimum brand
Value
4.0
Great value for your money

Optimum offers quality internet and great value for your money. Optimum's fiber and cable internet plans start at 300–500 Mbps, with very competitive prices that tends to beat competitors and be way less than national benchmarks (1).

For most households, 300–500 Mbps is enough for online gaming and work-from-home needs. But you can also get internet as fast as 1 gig (or 1,000 Mbps) if your household is comprised of several heavy internet users. In some areas, Optimum even offers up to 8 gig fiber internet.

If you bundle with a mobile plan, you can get even cheaper internet prices from Optimum. Here are the starting prices for Optimum's most popular internet plans, without a mobile plan:

  • 300 Mbps Fiber: $40 a month
  • 500 Mbps Fiber: $60 a month
  • 1 Gig Fiber: $80 a month

Compared to the competition, the two lower-tier plans almost always offer more speed for the money. And while you can sometimes find cheaper gig plans, Optimum still tends to be the most affordable in its markets. If you qualify only for cable internet with Optimum, you'll still get reliable, fast internet, but your speeds will be slower than the fiber offerings.

We love Optimum's low starting prices, 2-year price lock, and 60-day money back guarantee. You get free installation when you order online with equipment included. Plus, Optimum regularly offers bonus perks with its more premium plans, such as a $50 or $200 Optimum Prepaid Mastercard with qualifying orders in certain areas.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
Optimum's website
or call 1-844-719-8066 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
Smithville brand
Value
4.0
Uncommonly high speeds and low costs for rural internet

Smithville Communications offers just one fiber internet plan, serving up 1 Gbps and unlimited data for less than about $0.70 per Mbps. Compared to the US benchmark plan for similar service ($134.62) (1), Smithville is a pretty sweet deal. And you won’t have to sign a contract to get it.

This low price is particularly impressive for fiber in rural areas since building infrastructure outside of urban centers can be incredibly costly. Smithville could easily charge higher rates for bringing fiber to rural Indiana, but it doesn’t. And we applaud that.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
Smithville's website
or call 1-844-719-8071 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
Bend Broadband brand
Performance
4.5
BendBroadband delivers with excellent performance

Performance-wise, BendBroadband holds its own against competing internet service providers. There are plans available ranging from 300 Mbps to 1 Gbps, and reports indicate that the service is reliable. If we had to knock BendBroadband for anything performance-wise, it would be a lack of speeds above 1 Gbps—some cable competitors are offering up to 2 Gbps speeds, and we’d like to see the same from BendBroadband. These faster speeds can be useful for customers who download a large number of media files or frequently watch multiple concurrent 4K streams, for example. There are also data caps to be aware of, with overage charges up to $30 per month.

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-844-733-6485 to speak with a Bend Broadband rep or
go to its website.
Optimum brand
Performance
5.0
Optimum internet is fast and reliable

Optimum performance is solid. With speeds up to 2 Gbps (12000 Mbps) in some states, there’s enough bandwidth available for even the heaviest of streaming households. Even the lowest-tier plans offer plenty of speed for most use cases. The cable service is generally very reliable, as well, and usually even faster than advertised, with better latency than any cable competitor. (2)

Optimum offers fiber internet service in some of its coverage areas, which offers extra reliability and symmetrical speeds. That’s an excellent feature for content creators and anyone who shares a lot of large media files. Recently, it started offering home internet plans up to 5 Gbps, a speed that’s nearly impossible to beat.

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-844-719-8066 to speak with a Optimum rep or
go to its website.
Smithville brand
Performance
5.0
Get 1 Gbps speeds and unlimited data—unless you’re in a legacy DSL area

Fiber is the fastest and most reliable type of internet available, and download speeds max out around 5 Gbps. Smithville fiber reaches only 1 Gbps, but for most people frustrated by slow or unreliable rural internet, it’ll feel like your browser just got a turbo boost. You’ll also see 1 Gbps upload speeds, which is less common among non-fiber internet types like DSL and cable. Everyone—from heavy streamers and online gamers to remote workers and avid YouTube creators—will have plenty of juice (and unlimited data) when they need it.

Unfortunately, there’s one caveat: In some areas, Smithville is still using legacy DSL infrastructure, so you might not be able to sign up for fiber just yet. Smithville is phasing out this infrastructure as it lays more fiber lines, and it was named one of the Top 100 Fiber-to-the-Home organizations by Broadband Communities magazine for its efforts in helping bring fiber internet to rural communities (2). Luckily, Smithville won’t lock you into a contract, so if you’re not happy with your DSL, you can cancel any time and come back later when you have access to fiber.

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-844-719-8071 to speak with a Smithville rep or
go to its website.
Bend Broadband brand
Equipment and installation
4.0
A fantastic mesh Wi-Fi system and affordable installation

BendBroadband has jumped on the mesh network bandwagon and offers what it calls TDS Wi-Fi+. For those unfamiliar with the term, a mesh network is a system of multiple wireless routers that help spread your network over a larger area without losing signal strength. The result is fuller coverage of your entire home, with no weird dead spots or dropped connections. It’s often a big improvement on traditional single-router setups.

The TDS Wi-Fi+ set up is about $15 per month, plus $5 per month for each additional extender you need (most homes should be fine with the default). Customers can opt for a cheaper, standard equipment setup for $10 per month. However, many customers report problems with this router and opt to get their own(2).

BendBroadband also offers options for installation. You can opt for a free self-install kit. Or you can choose professional installation for around $50, which is one of the lower installation fees we’ve seen. In areas that aren’t eligible for self-install, the professional fee is waived, so it won’t cost you anything to get set up.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
Bend Broadband plans
available in your area.
View plans
Optimum brand
Equipment and installation
4.5
Free professional and self-installation

Optimum offers a fairly standard wireless gateway with most of its fiber and cable plans. The combined modem and router are usually free, but may cost you $10 per month in some areas. You can also add Wi-Fi extenders for $3 each per month, which is handy for larger homes and offices (and not a bad price, either).

If you sign up for 1 gig fiber internet, you'll get a free WiFi 6E included to help ensure you get the fastest WiFi speeds. This WiFi technology will help your entire household get great WiFi coverage. This technology is perfect for busy households and provides amazing internet performance and minimal lag. In fact, you can connect over 100 devices to your WiFi!

If you want to use your own equipment instead of Optimum's free gear, you may run into difficulties. Optimum doesn't list compatible equipment and requires at least some third-party modems to be purchased from its stores.

With Optimum installation, you can do it yourself or have a pro help, and either way is free. If you order online, you can opt for a free standard professional installation or pay $59 for a premium installation, where the tech will configure Wi-Fi on up to six devices for you. While other providers may offer to set up your main device during installation, we haven’t seen such an extensive guarantee elsewhere. This could be a selling point for less tech-savvy customers.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
Optimum plans
available in your area.
View plans
Smithville brand
Equipment and installation
3.5
Free equipment, but you’ll have to pay for activation and possibly installation

Smithville provides a wireless router to all customers with no additional rental fees, which is a good deal. You will pay an activation fee of $25, and if you need any lines run or jacks installed, you’ll pay for those too.

You do have the option of using your own equipment, but you’ll have to contact customer service to find out if your gear is compatible because this info isn’t available on the Smithville website. And if you need help troubleshooting your equipment, you’re on your own.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
Smithville plans
available in your area.
View plans
Bend Broadband brand
Customer experience
3.0
Occasional customer service hiccups hamper an otherwise excellent ISP

Living with BendBroadband has its ups and downs. The day-to-day experience is solid for most customers, and the speeds seem to be consistent with what’s advertised. However, a few customers complain about regular price hikes and unreliable service that drops occasionally. Some customers also report poor customer service over the phone.

Because BendBroad is now owned by TDS, we would expect some changes in customer service moving forward. However, TDS rates about the same for customer service as Bend, so you may experience different issues and still feel the overall level of satisfaction.

Visit Bend Broadband's website
or call 1-844-733-6485 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
Optimum brand
Customer experience
3.0
Good customer experience overall

Optimum provides a good customer experience overall. Both types—cable and fiber—are fast and stable. We haven’t seen any major complaints about Optimum's reliability, which is impressive. We think the day-to-day experience with Optimum is pretty great.

Optimum does have some customer service complaints, with one of the lowest ratings of all providers, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) (3). Most of the complaints we’ve seen involve a poor experience dealing with customer service reps. Optimum does offer solid online support options, so you may be able to get around these issues. And, of course, not everyone has a poor experience.

Visit Optimum's website
or call 1-844-719-8066 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
Smithville brand
Customer experience
3.0
Around-the-clock tech support—at a cost

Smithville offers 24/7 tech support to all customers, which is helpful if you have trouble with its router, need wiring repairs or a jack replacement, or your service is otherwise interrupted and it’s the company's fault.

If a visiting technician discovers the problem was out of Smithville’s control, you’ll have to pay a $35 service fee and $90 technician fee for help. Most companies charge you only one of these fees. Smithville will waive these charges if you buy its Connection Protection plan for at least one year, at a cost of $3.95 per month. But technicians still won’t help you with your own equipment.

Visit Smithville's website
or call 1-844-719-8071 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
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Bend Broadband
4.0
(2)
5 Star
50%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
50%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
B
Brittany from West Chester , OH
Bend Broadband Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 8-29-2022
Okay okay I’ll be there in about a minute. I don’t have a phone number on my account so I’m just. Okay okay I’ll let you know when I get home from the.
M
Maryfrom Bend, OR
Bend Broadband Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 6-22-2022
The internet speed has improved,as has connectivity. They need to lower their prices and improve their customer service.
Optimum
3.8
(70)
5 Star
26%
4 Star
46%
3 Star
16%
2 Star
8%
1 Star
4%
D
Debbiefrom Cullowhee, NC
Optimum Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
Reliable with few issues. Just wish the cost wasn’t so much.
B
Bobbifrom Bridgeport, CT
Optimum Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
I am very satisfy with my service .I been a customer for years.They are a good value and very reliable.
L
Lyndafrom Sod, WV
Optimum Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
Optimum currently provides a fast and mostly reliable internet connection. However, the price is not a value at all.
J
Janetfrom Bronx, NY
Optimum Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
very good service. always available in my area. a sure deal
Smithville
0.0
(0)
5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
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Endnotes and sources
1. "About Us," TDS. Accessed 15 December 2022.2. "How is BendBroadband?" Reddit. Accessed 15 December 2022.
Endnotes and sources
1. “2022 Urban Rate Survey – Fixed Broadband Service,” FCC. Accessed 20 October 2022.2. "Measuring Broadband America," FCC. Retreieved Dec. 10, 2022.3. “Internet Service Providers,” American Customer Satisfaction Index. Accessed 15 June 2022.
Endnotes and sources
1. “2022 Urban Rate Survey – Fixed Broadband Service,” FCC. Accessed 9 December 2022.2. “2022 Fiber-To-The-Home Top 100.” Broadband Communities Magazine. Accessed 9 December 2022.