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Altice USA Slowing Upload Speeds By as Much as 86%

Altice USA flag
(Image credit: Altice USA)

Altice USA has confirmed plans to reduce the uplink speeds of its cable broadband tiers by as much as 86%, a baffling move the cable operator explains is intended to put its high-speed internet service more in line with its competitors. 

Starting July 12, new customers who sign up for Altice USA’s least expensive tier, Optimum 100, which currently offers 100 megabit-per-second downstream and 35 Mbps upstream speeds, will see upstream bandwidth reduced to 5 Mbps, with no reduction in the price of the service. The company’s 200 Mbps downstream service will see its 35 Mbps upstream speed cut to 10 Mbps. The 300 Mbps will have its current 35 Mbps speeds trimmed to just 20 Mbps. And the Optimum 400 plan will go from a 40 Mbps uplink speed to 20 Mbps. 

The cable operator’s most premium 1-gig tier will see uplink speeds drop from 50 Mbps to 35 Mbps. 

Download speeds will remain the same. The change will only apply to new customers, but existing Altice USA subscribers will be exposed if they change their tiers. 

Altice USA reps insist the higher upstream speeds, relied on so much during a pandemic year of home office and home schooling, are not over-taxing its networks. 

Rather, a rep told Ars Technica that the reductions put Altice USA "in line with other ISPs and aligned with the industry.”

Company reps also reminded Fierce Telecom that Altice USA’s fiber-to-the-home network, which currently serves 1 million customers, does offer symmetrical internet speeds. The speed changes only affect users of Altice USA’s hybrid-fiber/coaxial network. The company had about 4.3 million total broadband customers at the end of Q1 2021. 

Jeff Heynen, VP of Broadband Access and Home Networking at Dell’Oro Group, told Fierce Telecom that “the only reason to do this is to push customers who absolutely need the higher upload speeds into more expensive bandwidth tiers."

“This is exactly what other cable operators have done—limit upload speeds and then push customers who need 20 Mbps-plus uploads to their more expensive tiers,” he said.