Optimum’s Purpose for Slashing Add Speeds Would not Make Any Sense

Optical fibers at a data center's network infrastructure

Picture: Damien Meyer/AFP (Getty Photographs)

Beginning July 12, Altice will scale back add speeds on all its Optimum On-line cable web plans. Whereas there’s no indication up to now that may influence costs, some plans will see add speeds lower by as a lot as 86%. At a time when individuals are nonetheless working and studying remotely, you’d suppose Altice would have a superb motive for this. Nope!

An Altice spokesperson instructed Ars Technica that congested networks don’t have anything to do with the choice to decrease add speeds, saying the community “continues to carry out very nicely regardless of the numerous knowledge utilization will increase in the course of the pandemic and the velocity tiers we provide.” An Altice spokesperson despatched the identical assertion to Gizmodo. Quite, Altice stated its new, slower add speeds are “in-line with different ISPs and aligned with the trade.” As in, nobody else is providing cable add speeds this quick, in order that they shouldn’t both.

Prospects with Optimum On-line can have add speeds lower 86% from 35 Mbps to five Mbps. The Optimum 200 plan will likely be lower from 35 Mbps to 10 Mbps. In the meantime, the Optimum 300, 400, and 500 plans may also be diminished to twenty Mbps. These with gigabit cable plans will see their add speeds slashed from 50 Mbps to 35 Mbps—which means after July 12, the highest-priced plan will provide the identical add speeds as what the most affordable plan presently does. You possibly can see a chart of all of the adjustments here.

The one shiny facet is Altice instructed Gizmodo current Optimum clients will likely be grandfathered into their present add speeds—as long as they don’t downgrade or improve their plans. New clients and current Optimum clients who change providers will obtain the brand new, slower add speeds. So, if you happen to had been excited about switching to Optimum from one other ISP or wish to change the plan you’re presently on, you’d finest do it earlier than July 12.

Altice emphasised to Gizmodo that Optimum’s fiber community will provide symmetrical add and obtain speeds. “Over the previous couple of years, now we have been investing in constructing a 100% fiber community,” Altice stated in an electronic mail. “We’re hyper-focused on our fiber enlargement, which is presently obtainable to over 1 million properties–and rising rapidly—and gives symmetrical speeds as much as 1 Gig.”

The issue is that Optimum’s fiber community isn’t obtainable to everybody but. As Ars Technica factors out, the ISP’s 100% fiber community presently solely accounts for about 20% of its footprint. Altogether, as of Q1 2021, Altice’s cable and fiber networks serve 21 states and nearly 4.4 million customers.

To be honest, even Optimum’s least expensive cable plan gives speeds above the FCC’s beneficial 25 Mbps obtain/3 Mbps add speeds. Nonetheless, that’s an extremely low bar. An enormous swath of the U.S. doesn’t have access to the FCC’s recommended speeds—although it’s considered by many to be outdated for a way we presently use the web.

It’s baffling, then, that Altice is nerfing Optimum’s add speeds like this when it may as a substitute deal with it as a bonus over its rivals. Often, you see corporations boasting how they’re higher and provide extra—not shoot themself within the foot to supply much less for a similar value. It’d be one factor if, given the pandemic, Optimum’s community was unable to deal with the load, however Altice claims this isn’t true. You would interpret this as an try and make its 100% fiber networks extra interesting, however once more, that feels untimely as fiber accounts for less than a fifth of Altice’s footprint. One thing doesn’t fairly add up.

Pay attention, I’m no enterprise genius, however America’s web infrastructure is unhealthy sufficient already. Can we at the least not do that throughout a time when everybody deeply relies on good web to perform?

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