Optimum Offline

Optimum boasts: “#1 in customer satisfaction.”

In neighborhoods all around Westport, customers beg to differ.

Social media was filled this week with complaints about the long-time cable provider.

Randi Nazem came directly to “06880.” Describing the situation off North Avenue, she writes:

We have WiFi sometimes, but it drops intermittently throughout the day. On Tuesday, for example, we had it all morning. Around 1 it dropped, and didn’t come back up until after 6 p.m.

This past weekend it dropped every few hours, for 10 to 15 minute intervals. It’s bizarre, and very frustrating.

This has been going on for 10 days. I’ve had Optimum on the phone 10 times. I’ve spoken to managers and the supervisor. They came to check and said everything ‘looks’ fine, yet my home (and many others) have no or only intermittent service.

Meanwhile, my $300 bill is due this week. I have to pay it, right?

Randi’s husband works from home. Without WiFi, that’s impossible, she says.

Randi reached out to “06880” because nothing else has helped. They need senior-level attention.

I received another email, this one from a woman in the Old Hill area. She said:

We have not had regular/consistent internet for the past 10 days. It sounds like this is pervasive in Old Hill, from an informal neighborhood poll — often out for more than an hour at a time).

I missed an important job interview due to the outage, and then had to reschedule and do it at the library.

My husband and I both work remotely full time, and have 2 children under 2. I monitor my newborn’s breathing through internet while she sleeps.

Our alarm system doesn’t work without internet, and we receive very little cell reception here so we need Wifi to make calls.

Optimum has a monopoly. They are content to do nothing and provide nothing to customers that have no choice.

This is fundamentally impactful to all of our lives. This affects the entire Old Hill neighborhood. The town needs to intervene with Optimum. This puts safety as well as ability to work at risk.

Randi sent screenshots of social media posts from other areas in Westport.

A plea — from 2020. (Photo/Aurea de Souza)

A second Old Hill neighbor reported: “Optimum gave us a new modem, and fixed most of it. Still some issues connecting our devices to Wi-Fi though.”

A woman on Imperial Avenue added: “I’ve had this issue for the last 2-3 weeks. We have all the best equipment on every floor of our house, yet we have full-on blackout periods every single day for hours. I’m losing my mind.”

Another person said: “We’ve had similar issues with daily outages this week. Optmum is the worst company I’ve ever dealt with, and our only option for high speed internet. I can’t wait for the day when there is another reliable, and likely cheaper, option.”

Some commenters suggest it may be an issue related to line work Optimum is doing. Others discussed the pros and cons of the Eero Mesh wifi system.

Bottom line: Optimum has some very unsatisfied customers, all over town.

They’re looking for answers.

Or at least for someone in a position of authority to care.

(Here’s one thing you can rely on: “06880.” Please click here to support this blog!)

 

29 responses to “Optimum Offline

  1. Sorry for all of the households with these issues! We live off No Compo and have never been off line for the most part. I’m wondering if calling the president of the company would help. You’d probably get a very efficient admin person and if enough people call it might get their attention.

  2. https://www.fiercevideo.com/cable/altice-usa-chief-dexter-goei-puts-down-31m-greenwich-amid-cablevision-austerity .

    This is what I could find but can’t verify it’s accurate:

    Chief Executive
    Dexter Goei
    1 Court Square
    Long Island City, NY 11101
    Dexter.Goei@alticeusa.com

    • Dear Ed, Thank you so much for giving us the name and address. I contacted them and they immediately took care of my problem. Totally amazing. You helped us a lot by sharing this info. Thanks again.

  3. Like Susan Iseman above, we haven’t experienced the same issues with Altice/Optimum as others who chime in here. We have had Optimum since we moved here 20 years ago and put in the Altice Fiber a year ago last January. Even after hurricane Sandy, we were without power for 7 days, but our Internet service stayed on.

    As an IT professional, debugging Internet outages is not always as simple as one might think. There are numerous points of failure that can cause a loss of Internet service. Specific to your Internet provider, I recommend people know what the lights on the cable (or fiber) box SHOULD look like. Typically, it’s five or so green lights. When you have an Internet outage, see if all the lights are properly illuminated. If they are, odds are your Internet service is working.

    Assuming all the lights are properly working, I suggest connecting a device with an Ethernet cable to the cable (or fiber) box and seeing if you can reach the Internet. If you can’t, definitely contact your Internet provider.

    Assuming that you can get Internet access from the provider’s box, the issue may lie with your home network. Many (most?) people put in their own router(s) and very frequently, mesh networks to provide WiFi or wired Internet throughout the home.

    While convenient, WiFi is not as secure, reliable or fast as wired connections. WiFi’s strength is convenience. If you want reliability, security, and/or speed, run Ethernet cables.

    Most routers have the ability to check to see if THEY can see the Internet. Like the cable/fiber box, many routers have a set of lights on them that can give you a quick visual check on how things are working. Others, such as Google WiFi, require you to use an app on your phone to check on its status.

    My point is that having a network at home is a new complexity that most homes now find as essential as other utilities such as electricity and water. Having some basic skills to identify where problems exist can be quite helpful in keeping this utility in your home working smoothly.

    Let me also add that I empathize with anyone who loses their Internet at their home or office. Luckily, most cell phones provide an alternate path to the Internet and can frequently be “tethered” to a computer to provide backup Internet service. And our local Westport Library also provides free and reliable Internet service.

    Many homes in our area have backup generators to handle power outages that we experience from time-to-time. Having backup for your Internet service should be part of everyone’s emergency preparedness.

    • Bruce Schneider

      Mark, I definitely agree, however, of late the issue for me (I live in Old Hill) has definitely been Optimum. There are three blue lights usually on my modem and when I have had an outage, usually one or two are out or blinking. There is definitely a problem with Optimum. BTW, around here due to a weakening AT&T cell signal (one or no bars), our cell phones often rely on wifi to do calls. Hotspots often don’t work due to poor signals.

  4. Dan,
    I am a local computer consultant (as you know) and help many of my clients with wifi issues and internet issues. There is a difference so just a clarification here. Optimum’s service is internet access. They provide internet (as well as other services TV and phone) service into our homes. If you hard wire a computer into the Optimum equipment and there is a failure then yes Optimum is at fault but if it’s actually the “wifi” component then a better router and generally an extended plan (mesh sytem in many cases) should help. The wifi portion that comes along with Optimum’s routers and modem/router combos is usually sub par and not adequate for most local homes.There are also many obstacles that can block wifi signals plus settings on devices that may be incorrect. Fireplaces, ovens etc can block wifi signals. I am not defending Optimum. If a house is having issues that appear to be Optimum issues I have my clients check with their neighbors as some are problems are on the utility pole and recommend they have optimum swap out the modem. Hope this helps and does not add to the confusion.

  5. Bruce Schneider

    Years ago, Westport had very frequent power outages that sometimes lasted for hours. The First Selectwoman at the time, Diane Farrell, pulled in execs from the power company and she insisted that they take action to remediate the issue. They did and now our power is reliable.

    We need our current First Selectwoman to take similar action. The issues have been going on for years and of late have gotten ridiculous. Altice needs to be held accountable by the town and our State Reps (running for election/re-election). This is a time for leadership! Will they act on our behalf?

  6. We are in the Coleytown area and constantly have issues with Optimum that it are magnified when we have everyone home working and/or going to school. We pay for the high end service (Optimum 400), I am attached to the ethernet and we have a business level internet network throughout the house. Still issues. We have had to learn to adjust on the fly knowing we will have issues eg power down and reboot and hope that fixes everything, or go to a school parking lot and tether to our phone or head to the library. Not to pile on providers but we have been having worse issues with Verizon lately for our mobile phones often seeing no bars on the display. Very frustrating working out of home with these issues.

  7. I along with my family have been experiencing very spotty wifi service for the last few weeks. I am aware that there are certain areas that are “dead zones” but this is far beyond those areas.

  8. Sooo-z Mastropietro

    We have this problem intermittently (center of Westport) but it amped 2 weeks ago when we had no internet at all. I had to teach a class remotely and begged the library for extra time to accommodate my 3+ hour session. (The library delivered and was fabulous). My husband was on the phone nonstop with optimum and was getting the run around. We switched out our modem twice but that wasn’t the problem. Optimum finally sent a helpful tech over who suggested we *reboot our mesh router system to allow for updates and this helped tremendously (I put a * there because it might be worth trying -we never knew it was something that needed to be done regularly) but we still have dropped service from time to time. This is definitely a problem in our modern world as we depend on internet for basic functions, pleasure, and work – so we can pay our optimum bills!

  9. Larry Perlstein

    This is not new news. Optimum’s Internet access is actually fine but their equipment sucks. Replace their modem and router with your own equipment and you will see a significant improvement. My Eeros rarely need to be rebooted.

    Call this number to get to the executive assistance support (631) 846-5317 but don’t expect quick results. Optimum/Altice just doesn’t care despite what their commercials say.

  10. One more note that may help people. Two new fiber Internet providers are in town: GoNetSpeed and Frontier (yes, they’re the old SBC). Both offer fiber to the home. The challenge is that Altice, GoNetSpeed and Frontier are still hanging fiber on utility poles here in Westport, so their services are not all available to everyone yet. However, it’s good to see that there is and will be more competition for our Internet service dollars.

  11. Ernie Lorimer

    I wish folks would distinguish between four separate situations: optimum internet service to the house; optimum wifi within the house; non-optimum wifi within the house; and wifi outside of the house through optimum and its fellow cable kludges.

    I see Old Hill is within the footprint of Optimum fiber availability, so I expect there is a lot of re-networking going on with the shift. I’ve got optimum fiber availability a half mile to the west of me, and Frontier a half mile to the east, and for the last year fiber on my pole. Neither Optimum nor Frontier is making any promises, but the first to light me up gets my business. No tears about shedding Dexter’s $300/month bill.

  12. I also have trouble with wifi. It goes in/out. Also my landline with Optimum sometimes isn’t working either. I’ve complained but no help. It sad that you pay such high prices for poor service.

    • Barbara, if you’re having difficulties with your WiFi and your “land line” is through your Internet provider, they’re both on the same wire. The way to truly have a backup phone line that’s not affected by an Internet outage is to use a POTS (plain old telephone system [yes that’s really what it’s called]) line that is a pair of copper wires connected to a phone like all phones were until the Internet came along. Frontier/SBC still provides this service, but the number of POTS lines in service is decreasing every year.

  13. Update: ceo emailed my husband – senior tech called right away and a truck is on my block right now- we have a senior tech testing all the equipment and I will keep you updated. We already have an eero mesh system in place for the last 3 years with no issues- the dropped WiFi started about 2 weeks ago and has become increasingly worse.

  14. As another IT professional, I’ll add my two cents. We have Optimum and run a small online home-based business. We get high-speed and reliable service from Optimum. We experience occasional outings of about 5 minutes, but nothing ever serious. Everyone should be sure to read Mark Mathias’s comments above; he makes some excellent points.

    I’ve learned over the years that the home’s equipment is essential to a good internet experience. Some people never upgrade their computer or network equipment, a recipe for spotty wifi service in the home. Computer technology is constantly changing for the better, and upgrading equipment is a must. The new home Mesh Networks are excellent, reliable, and provide great wifi coverage. Microsoft’s and Apple’s Operating Systems are constantly improving the user experience and network interface.

    With something as essential to modern life as the internet, you should be willing to invest in periodic upgrades to computers, operating systems, and network equipment.

  15. I have repeat issues with Optimum, particularly working from home. What is egregious is the price they charge. I could sign up for $50/month if I were a new business customer, but I’m stuck paying double that. There is no alternate for me, because Frontier cannot deliver to me the bandwidth for zoom calls. The Town should do something about how much Optimum charges and invite more competition.

    • Flavien Freedman

      Every year I call Optimum and ask for the new customer discounted rate. It’s a pain but I only do it once a year to get a discounted rate. Could be worth a shot.

  16. They’re horrid down here in Stamford near the Merritt too. We finally switched to Frontier for Wifi and Hulu for TV. They barely answered the phone then did NOTHING for an entire area of northern Stamford. Pretty dumb of them.

  17. Hmmm….seems that the northern part of Westport could use a new cell tower…

  18. These types of problems have been going on for years. The State of CT decided that the phone and cable industries didn’t need to be regulated. unlike the electric companies. We ended up with a system that in effect polices itself and answers to no one especially its customers.

  19. Spanky Giddings, FP, '82

    Optimum sucks. Wished I had stayed with DirecTV.

  20. Sharon Paulsen

    I have Spectrum/Charter and Verizon (I currently live in Southbury, CT, but most of my life was in Westport and Fairfield county areas). Anyway, similar issues across the board where I live, so this isn’t unique.

    Maybe it’s related to the “Infrastructure Week” that never happened, way back when? (Because these days, roads and bridges are only a smidgen of the problem … if the electrical grid and communications systems fail … well, there goes your bridge of “reliable WIFI”).

  21. “ Optimum has a monopoly. “. From an early comment
    Is not true. I replaced our Optimum internet service
    Months ago with GoNetSpeed optical fiber to the
    House and both reduced our bill and increased our speed
    And reliability. I strongly suggest contacting them to
    Find out if they already have their optical fiber
    Strung to your neighborhood.

  22. I, too, am a dissatisfied Optimum customer but I’m in Orange, one of three towns in New Haven county that is “served” by Optimum. My complaint is that they dropped channels 5 and 11 from our package since we are not in the NYC TV market (even though we get the NYC affiliates of the other networks). You may ask why that matters since Fox 61 carries the same programs as Ch. 5, but it matters if you are a fan of the Giants or Jets. If Fox carries both the Patriots and the Giants or Jets, Fox in Hartford will ALWAYS choose to carry the Patriots.

    Optimum claims that the fault lies with the Hartford Fox/CW affiliates who insist that Optimum drop Ch. 5 / 11 for the three New Haven county towns, but, skeptic that I am, I suspect it’s due to $$. I’m curious – does Optimum carry Fox 61 in Hartford and CW 20 for its Fairfield County customers?

  23. I too have had problems with Optimum. Here is a letter I received that has the name of someone who may be able to help.

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  24. I don’t know how to down load a photo of the letter

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