Optimum has competition in the Bronx now and I dropped them for Verizon FiOS

Does a NETGEAR AC5300 Nighthawk X8 work with Verizon FiOS?

Short answer: yes, on the 300/300 plan, it works perfectly and gets max DL/UL speeds over WiFi. After the Verizon modem was activated by the service technician, I plugged in the Netgear router, and it picked up a new IP address and DNS settings after about 30 seconds. It’s been running without issue for ~4 days now.

Moving from Optimum to Verizon FiOS

When I moved into my current apartment in the Bronx, the only provider available was Optimum. Anyone that has used Optimum knows it’s not exactly a top tier service provider. I’ve had to talk to them on the phone about my billing repeatedly and with two exceptions, every person I’ve talked to has been rude, unhelpful, and sounded uneducated. It’s the McDonald’s of ISPs, but like most parts of the country, there was only one ISP available in my area and it was them.

Thankfully, that’s no longer the case. Shortly after moving into my apartment, I registered my interest in having FiOS installed on Verizon’s website. I didn’t think it was going to take 5 years, but earlier this month Verizon technicians finally came and installed fiber optic lines in my building.

Not a moment too soon, either, because a few days later Optimum doubled my bill. Sometimes, a retail store will inflate the price of an item to three times what it should be and then (supposedly) mark it down to double its actual value and say it’s on sale. It’s a real scumbag practice and it’s illegal. Optimum is just like that; except they get away with it because people don’t have a choice. Or at least they didn’t. Competition means better prices for consumers, so I called up Optimum to see what they would offer to keep me as a customer.

I was expecting a deal of some sort and I would have been happy to pay a few dollars more than the $39.99 per month that Verizon was asking just to save the headache of having to switch providers and set up an installation appointment. Instead, I was badgered, insulted, and called a liar.

The Optimum retention employee that I spoke to told me that I was lying about Verizon being available in my building, lying about the plan speed Verizon was offering, and lying about the pricing. I really had to push back on him and tell him that he could verify what I’m saying himself through Verizon’s website if he wanted to. It was frustrating because he could have easily double-checked what I was saying without calling me a liar and making me question my own memory of what I had just done and looked at.

He then asked me to look at my bill so he could point out the supposedly amazing promotional credit I was getting that brought their inflated price down by $50. Then he asked me to look at the Optimum website where a $35.99 per month offer for 300/30 internet was being advertised. I asked him if he was planning to offer me the $35.99 per month to keep me as a customer and he said no, so I wasn’t sure what the point of showing that to me was other than to insult me. I ended the call.

The next day I called Verizon and completed the sign up through the web browser on my phone. The day after that Verizon came out and completed their installation in my apartment. The installation crew was fast, professional, and courteous. They were even on time and, prior to showing up, kept me updated via SMS so I would know when to expect them.

The service itself is great. I haven’t had any issues with buffering or high ping even during peak hours. The difference in page load speeds and gaming responsiveness is noticeable even though the plan’s download speed is the same. I think a lot of that has to do with the improved ping, which is half to a third of what I was getting with Optimum.

Verizon FiOS 300/300 speed test results from around 8 PM on a Monday night.

Keeping the Verizon plan cost down by using my own router

Verizon doesn’t charge a rental fee for their modems, but they do charge a router fee. Since I’m using my own router, a NETGEAR AC5300 Nighthawk X8 that I bought 5 years ago, I get around that extra fee and our first bill came out to exactly $39.99 with autopay and paperless billing enabled. I was a little concerned about whether my router would work because there seems to be a lot of contrary content posted online, but I had absolutely no issues. After the Verizon modem was activated, I plugged in our router and within 2 minutes I had completed a speed test confirming that the service was working.

The NETGEAR AC5300 Nighthawk X8 is a high-end router and I’m quite sure it could handle their Gigabit plan, though I’ll never need that kind of bandwidth. I almost got the higher plan just to have it, but we wouldn’t ever need it, so I figured there’s no reason to throw that money into the wind.

I feel pretty good about the value to cost ratio given what we use the internet for in our apartment. Plus, we have a stand-alone, no contract internet plan and, unless they have it hidden really well (I read through the billing and agreement), I’m not going to have to renegotiate the price with them every year like I had to do with Optimum. Fingers crossed.

Optimum offered the farm to keep me as a customer

I canceled our Optimum service yesterday after sitting with Verizon FiOS for a few days to make sure it’s stable and the retention rep and retention supervisor I spoke to offered me quite a bit to keep me as a customer. Their tone changed entirely when I said that I already had Verizon FiOS installed.

It makes me think that the first retention rep I spoke to really believed that I was lying, that I had no choice, and that he could talk to me any way he liked because I would have no recourse. Thinking about that made me even more upset about the situation and happier that FiOS is now available to us.

The retention supervisor offered me three months of free service as an apology for the way I was treated by the first retention rep and three additional months of free service to keep me as a customer (six months total), but it was already too late for that. Would you let someone talk to you like you are garbage and then roll over and accept it for a few months of free service? I have self-respect and dignity. And Optimum has competition now.

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