Optimum’s business internet plans are similar to Spectrum’s in speed and pricing—in fact, they offer speeds up to 500 Mbps, just higher than Spectrum. Right now, we recommend Spectrum over Optimum as a cable provider because of availability. Optimum is only available in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, while Spectrum is available in 46 states.
However, Spectrum’s parent company, Charter, has been going through some legal troubles—particularly in New York. As of February 2019, the government still hasn’t determined whether it will require Charter Spectrum to remove service from the state.
We think the legal and customer service issues are troubling enough to include an alternate cable recommendation for businesses in the New York area. If you’re out of state, we still recommend Spectrum, but we’ll keep our eye on its customer service ratings and update our ranking accordingly.
Fiber-optic internet is the newest entrant in the broadband race. It’s a technology that can provide some seriously stunning speeds and solid reliability for small businesses.
Fiber internet connection gets its name from the glass or plastic fiber cables that substitute copper DSL or coaxial cables. Your fiber ISP will provide you with a modem or a gateway router to connect your office and devices.
Tiny fibers the size of a width of hair transmit data with beams of light (that’s the “optic” part), which means the cables can carry higher bandwidth at higher speeds and with higher reliability than DSL or cable. And many fiber internet plans are “symmetrical,” which means your upload speeds match or nearly meet download speeds.
Fiber-optic internet isn’t as prone to problems from distance, frequency interference, and heat damage because glass and plastic don’t easily conduct electricity. But note that the actual speeds and reliability you get from your ISP can depend on things like the exact type of fiber network you’re connected to and the plan you purchase.
The biggest disadvantage of business fiber internet is that it’s only available in limited areas throughout the US. Because fiber is a new technology, ISPs are still working to build fiber-optic networks. As of 2015, only about one quarter of the US population had fiber broadband internet access.4