Internet Speed: A Quick Read

A year ago, alert “06880” reader — and Westport MakerFaire mastermind Mark Mathias — emailed us about Altice/Optimum’s latest offer: fiber for the home, with 1 GB internet access.

Mathias had it installed. He dropped all other services — including broadcast and cable TV channels — to buy only internet service.

He got 1 GB symmetric (the same upload and download speeds) for $79 a month. That introductory pricing included equipment, taxes and more.

His speeds are “generally very fast.” here’s a test from the other morning:

Typical cable speeds are 300 Mbps down and 50 Mbps up, Mathias says.

“Why does this matter?” he asks.

He answers his own question: “Most people use Netflix, Disney+ or similar services. Higher resolutions, such as 4K, require more bits to make an image. If multiple people in a home or office are consuming this high-bandwidth digital content, fast Internet speeds are needed.

“But what I like is the increased upload speeds. Whereas it used to take hours to backup to a cloud service like Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive, they now take minutes. Posting video content to YouTube, Vimeo or something similar is also much faster.”

Yet Mathias thinks $79 a month is too high. He’s found 2 other companies “claiming to offer fiber internet service to the home.”

GoNetSpeed is new to the area, and deploying fiber in neighboring towns.

Frontier also advertises fiber internet speeds up to 2 Gbps. However, Mathias says, they can’t give him dates for when it will be available.

“The good news is that truly high-speed internet is currently available in Westport,” he says.

“Hopefully, competition for our business won’t be far behind.”

6 responses to “Internet Speed: A Quick Read

  1. Ernie Lorimer

    No question the speed of fiber is nice, and Mathias has a good price. My cable bill is going up $40 this month, over 20%, and I keep thinking of what I will have do to bring it down from over $3,000 a year. I agree at the moment with download speeds over 100, upload is more critical than download. If I touch the Optimum account at all, my upload speed will drop from my legacy 200/40 to 200/20 or 100/5.

    One downside is the unbelievably sloppy and ugly fiber all around town. We might have a contest for the worst stretch. At the moment my pick is Kings Highway N at Canal. The town did such a nice job on the bridge but the area is now an eyesore. Another downside is that these great loops hanging down are an effort to have at least some resilience. Next Isaias, good luck getting service back.

    Another downside is that if you switch to fiber, you are also stuck with their boxes for TV–no more Tivos.

    And, while I’ve had fiber at my pole for a year, I’m not really expecting Optimum to get around to us anytime soon. It will be a race between the speed of Optimum and the resilience of TMobile Home.

    • Ernie, there are lots of options for television services without using cable provider boxes. The one I’ve heard many people use is YouTube TV (https://tv.youtube.com/) for $54.99/mo.

      It’s clear to me that by unbundling cable packages and then buying them a la carte (TV, Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc), people will generally pay more than when they were bundled. But at least they have options and can buy as little or as much as they want. This unbundling also lets you watch whatever you want wherever you want from your TVs at home or your laptop computers, your phones, tablets, etc.

  2. Larry Perlstein

    1. Beware of introductory pricing. Once it ends, your rates go up dramatically.
    2. Beware of Optimum’s service and hardware, both have a horrible track record.
    3. Very few households need gig speeds. My very active streaming household does fine on 200 Mbps service. Unless you’re hosting web servers or uploading huge files, you probably don’t need it.
    4. I’m in the northernmost point in Westport and I don’t expect to get fiber here for quite a while.

    Conclusion: caveat emptor

    • Larry, as I am an early adopter, when I ordered Altice Fiber, I was able to get the price “for life.” They’ve done this with a couple of their services, such as their mobile phone service which initially offered mobile phone service for $20/month for life. But even without that, I was spending well over $200/mo for cable and tv. After switching to Altice Fiber and no tv, my monthly bill dropped to about $75. I do now pay for some monthly services such as Netflix, but I’m well under the $200/mo I used to pay.

      Regarding Altice’s hardware, I’ve had good luck with it. There have been few outages and when there have, they’ve been fixed quickly. And when hurricane Sandy hit, my cable service stayed up the whole time.

      As far as uploads, if you’re streaming, which includes Zoom, Teams, Google Meet or similar, having good upload speeds allows you to send higher resolution video to people. The cable service upload speed of 50 Mbps is fine for a few people in your home or office, but much more than that and higher upload speeds are better. Remember, residential speeds quoted are “up to.” I usually find that the speeds I receive run between 50% and 90% of the “up to” speed, so achieving desirable speeds requires me to plan on not receiving the highest speed.

  3. I’ve had Verizon FiOS in the Boston area and now in Westchester. It’s still nowhere in CT.
    I pay $70 but with discounts, including because I have Verizon wireless.

    https://imgur.com/a/za4rUxI

    https://www.verizon.com/home/fiosavailability/

  4. you can get 1gbps over cable internet but yes the upload speed is not 1gbps

    1gbps is unnecessary for pretty much all households

    even altice’s 300/300 service is overkill for most and that was $29.99 last i checked.

    save your money!

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