Pros: always "on", fast downloads, easy to set up, hook up in about 2 hours
Cons: you call that customer service??? no free web-site space, need a firewall
I've been on the Internet a long time. Back when it was just bbs and a lot of college computers. No graphics to speak of, just green text scrolling on my monochrome monitor.
I've seen a lot come and go. I've also usually been dragged kicking and screaming into the latest innovations. Took me until 1996 to finally go over to Windows from DOS (and I'm still not a big fan).
But last year I had finally given up with the dial-up connections. Not only did downloads take forever, but I kept getting disconnected. I had seen Optimum Online at my PTA co-President's house, but I hate Cablevision, so I wasn't really interested.
Cablevision is the company that has supplied Cable-TV service to Long Island for more than two decades. I have had nothing but trouble with them. One time when they switched off my service after a check was lost in the mail (no, really) I told them to just forget it and cancel the account and I'd get a dish. It was only then that they somehow managed to get my service restored before the next day (*magic*)!
After my debacle with Verizon trying to get DSL for more than two months (see review Verizon Online DSL ) I got fed up one day and went over to my local Nobody Beats The Wiz store. They are also owned by Cablevision and have all the equipment to get online with the Optimum Online service.
In short order, I was given a free 3Com cable modem, a splitter switch, and a length of coaxial cable. Since there is also a Cablevision Customer Service Desk in the store, the order was put through there as well. Normally, the service is $39.95 per month. If you are a customer of the Cablevision Cable TV Service, you will get a $10 per month discount. In exchange, I am indentured to them for the next two years.
I was advised to put the splitter as the first one in the line rather than after one or more other splitters if we had more than one television hooked up. That meant a trip up to the attic. My husband took care of this later on, but when I got home, I merely hooked it up from the cable that went into my television. Since I already had installed a Network Card and had the wire from my unsuccessful attempt at DSL, I didn't have to do anything to my computer.
In just two short hours, the technician came out and removed a filter from the pole which enabled me to get online with Optimum Online.
There were also two software discs that installed the Instant Access software. Once done, I opened up my browsers and registered my email.
I am glad I got this before Napster was shut down. Trying to grab music files over a dial-up connection was way too slow. I get all my email and newsgroups updated in a flash. Web pages I do for people upload with speed I had never seen before in a dial-up connection. Even my software updates such as Internet Explorer and Netscape browsers download in a few minutes rather than two hours or more.
I love being able to watch video on my computer and the connection is great for that. Some people complain that a problem with Optimum Online, and cable modems in general, is that when many users are on they slow down. That may be true, but so far I have not seen it.
One thing that you need with Optimum Online is a good firewall since your computer is connected to the Internet as soon as you turn it on - even if you do not have a browser window opened. I use BlackIce Defender and haven't had any problems with hacking.
When there's no problems Optimum Online is great. Their customer service is still Cablevision's, so it stinks. At one point I was getting a lot of error messages, especially on my emails. It turned out they were going through a server upgrade, but instead of just telling me that, I had to spend more than an hour going through shutdowns and a whole host of other things over the telephone before I found out about the servers. To be fair, I don't know if the technician on the phone initially had this information to give me, but you'd think they would know since there would probably be quite a few calls about this.
One night all of Long Island was down for about 3 hours and all I would get is "the technicians are working on it". I know the routine when I call them and always unplug my modem and re-boot the computer before I call them since that's the first thing they always ask me to do.
When our Cable-TV goes out, I know my Internet will be out as well. So there's nothing to do!!! That's when I have to hit my bookcase again.
Unlike many dial-up ISP's, Optimum Online does not give you free web-site hosting. I had to move everything over to Geocities and Homestead.
When my two year contract is over, I will re-evaluate then and decide what I m going to do. In the meantime, I am very satisfied with Optimum Online.
© 2001 Patti Aliventi