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Clearwave Fiber vs. Optimum Internet plan comparison


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Rebecca Palmer smiles for the camera
Researched by
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Reviewed by
Updated 6/18/24

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Clearwave Logo
Staff rating
3.8

  • Plans starting at $65.00
  • Download speeds up to 1000 Mbps
Optimum brand
Staff rating
4.1
Customer rating
3.8
(70)

  • Plans starting at $15.00
  • Download speeds up to 940 Mbps
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Clearwave Logo
Staff rating
3.8

Strong value and performance from a smaller brand

Overall, we like Clearwave Fiber. It’s a speedy fiber provider with decent pricing and good customer service. Our main complaint is that it’s just not as competitive on the pricing as it could be. In general, though, we think people will be happy with Clearwave Fiber.

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What we like

  • Symmetrical speeds
  • Unlimited data
  • No contracts
What we dislike

  • Price hikes after 12 months
  • Relatively new, unproven company
Savings tip: Clearwave Fiber often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
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Optimum brand
Staff rating
4.1

Fast speeds and reasonable pricing

If you can get fiber internet from Optimum , you'll get great all-around service with fast speeds and reasonable pricing. If you can get only cable internet, you'll get slower max speeds and may see different pricing. Both options are decent, but watch out for third-year price hikes and potential customer service hassles.

What we like

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

  • Very limited availability
  • Average customer service
  • No true budget plan
Savings tip: Optimum often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
Clearwave Logo
Value
3.5
Solid value and transparent pricing

Clearwave Fiber fares decently overall in the value department, in large part because fiber just tends to be a good value. With faster plans, like Fiber 1 Gig, Clearwave is competitive and the performance is excellent. This package offers 11.75 Mbps per dollar spent, compared to the Fiber 500 plan at 6.67 Mbps per dollar. Although the latter is cheaper per month, you can clearly see how you get more for each dollar spent with the top-tier plan.

However, compared to competitors like AT&T, Clearwave is definitely more expensive. This difference is more pronounced with the lower-tier packages, where you get a lot more for your money with other providers.

It’s not all bad news, however. You do get unlimited data on all the plans by default—some providers, notably Xfinity, charge quite a lot for this. The equipment costs are also low, at $10 per month.

Additionally, while the price does increase after 12 months, the bump is relatively small at just $15 per month. Clearwave is very up front about this, which is a refreshing change—normally we have to dig to find out how much a plan’s price will increase after promotional periods end.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
Clearwave Fiber's website
or call to speak with a rep.
See pricing
Optimum brand
Value
4.0
A lot of internet for a little money

Optimum offers a lot for the money. Both fiber and cable internet plans start at 300–500 Mbps, with a very competitive price that beats the entry-level plan for competitor Spectrum and is way less than national benchmarks (1). That's plenty fast for most online gaming and work from home needs, but you can pay for even higher speeds if you have a big household.

Compared to the competition, the two lower-tier plans almost always offer more speed for the money. And while you can technically find cheaper gig plans, Optimum still tends to be the most affordable in its markets.

If you qualify only for cable internet with Optimum, your speeds will be slower but you'll pay about the same every month. Prices are higher than other cable internet providers at these speeds, but you may not have a choice. Most areas that don't have fiber internet won't have multiple cable internet options.

We love the low starting prices, 2-year price lock, and 60-day money back guarantee, but you can expect prices to jump $35–$85 in your third year of service.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
Optimum's website
or call 1-844-719-8066 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
Clearwave Logo
Performance
5.0
Fast fiber speeds and unlimited data

Clearwave Fiber does better in the performance department. Speeds are fast—up to 1 Gbps—and all the fiber plans offer symmetrical speeds. This means the download and upload speeds are the same.

With something like cable your upload is normally about 10% of your download speed, if that. This helps a lot with live streaming, video calls, and sharing large files like videos.

As for reliability, fiber is generally pretty solid. However, Clearwave is a newer company, so it’s hard to say how well the service will hold up. Here’s what we can say: in some markets, Clearwave has taken over Hargray’s fiber services, which we have found to be somewhat unreliable in the past. Hopefully Clearwave makes improvements for customers going forward.

Available speeds vary by location. Call to speak with a Clearwave Fiber rep or
go to its website.
Optimum brand
Performance
5.0
Optimum internet is both fast and reliable—what’s not to love?

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)

Additionally, 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.
Clearwave Logo
Equipment and installation
3.5
No surprises here

Clearwave Fiber offers what it calls the Clearwave Fiber Router. Combined with a whole-home Wi-Fi system and a smartphone app, customers are promised wall-to-wall coverage and a slew of features to help make the experience better. These include individual profiles for people and rooms, bandwidth tests, guest networks, and parental controls. That’s a pretty solid package for $10 per month.

Installation is the typical fiber deal—you’ll need a tech to come out and install the Optical Network Terminal (ONT), which is basically the modem for your fiber network. After that, you can either use Clearwave’s router or bring your own. There’s a $99 installation fee, which is pretty standard.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
Clearwave Fiber plans
available in your area.
View plans
Optimum brand
Equipment and installation
4.5
Free pro and self-installs, or you can pay for extra device setup

Optimum offers a fairly standard wireless gateway with both its fiber and cable plans. The combined modem and router are usually free, but may cost you $10 per month on top of your bill 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 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
Clearwave Logo
Customer experience
3.5
Quick and helpful service

Since Clearwave is fairly new, the customer experience is a bit of a question mark. We’ve not seen a ton of user comments about the provider, but the few we have seen have been generally positive, citing good reliability, lack of data caps, and local customer support. This includes both former Hargray customers as well as new Clearwave customers.

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Additionally, while the company’s website lacks self-help options, we chatted with customer service reps several times and were able to consistently get a response within a minute or two. The reps were direct, helpful, and friendly, and we appreciated the speed of the responses.

Visit Clearwave Fiber's website
or call for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
Optimum brand
Customer experience
3.0
Great internet brought down by customer service complaints

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

However, the company’s customer service is less than stellar, 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
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Made up your mind?
Find out what providers are available near you.
Clearwave Fiber
0.0
(0)
5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
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
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Endnotes and sources
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.
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