2007‎ > ‎10‎ > ‎26‎ > ‎

Why NOT to Get Verizon FiOS

I live in Northern Virginia. I could get Verizon FiOS. I could get 5Mbps/2Mbps for $39.99/month when I'm currently sucking bits through a 768Kbps/128Kbps DSL straw at $14.99/month. I could get about six times the bandwidth for little more than two times the price, but I won't be getting FiOS.

Get to the point!

Here's why I won't be getting Verizon FiOS:
  • It's still too expensive. Call me cheap, but I'm not going to spend $40/month on an Internet connection. Other than the occasional download of the latest Ubuntu ISO, I have no need for 5Mbps. Incidentally, the highest tier is 30Mpbs at $179.95/month. Who in their right mind is going to pay nearly $200/month for an Internet connection? The difference between 5Mbps and 30Mbps is like the difference between $1 billion and $10 billion. I'm not sure you'd even get such a fast connection at the other end.
  • Verizon won't tell you how much they're going to charge you. If you read the fine print it says that the first month is free, months 2-7 are $29.99/month, months 8-12 are $39.99/month, and "rate increases after term plans expire." This is a standard practice of Verizon. They like to ratchet up the price hoping you'll look at the bill and figure the price difference is a result of all of those confusing universal access fees and taxes that are different every month.
  • You have no guarantee that you'll actually get 5Mbps. Granted, Verizon doesn't control the pipes from your computer all the way to the server you're accessing. They could guarantee the speed of your connection to the Verizon central office, but I think that is too fine a distinction for the average computer user when their YouTube video is choppy. However, the fact is that ISPs can and do use this reality as a cover for nefarious deeds. In their explanation about service speeds, Verizon says that service speeds can be effected by the "configuration of your computer" (alright, I'm with you), "network or Internet congestion" (of course), and "other factors" (huh?!). That's code for "if we don't like what you're doing." Making VoIP calls? Criticizing Verizon? Using Bit Torrent to download netcasts instead of buying Verizon FiOS digital TV? Those are all reasons for disconnecting and/or throttling your account. Don't think it's realistic. Check this out. Pretty much every ISP doesn't guarantee speed, so I'm screwed no matter where I go, but it still peeves me off.
  • They put your voice line on the Verizon FiOS network. During installation they move your existing phone service to the Verizon FiOS network. They say this will not effect the price for your voice service, but it will have consequences. For one, the fiber optic drop has to be located next to a power outlet so that Verizon can install a battery backup. The battery backup will provide eight hours of phone service in an emergency, after that you're on your own. Second, the reason Verizon wants you to get your phone moved to the fiber network (and I've heard that in some cases they'll actually cut your copper connection) is because since they've built out the fiber optic network they aren't forced by law to open up that network to competitors, like they are with copper. So once they've got you switched you're stuck with Verizon.
  • Many people are upset with Verizon for destroying their yards and neighborhoods. My homeowner's association newsletter had notice after notice about how to contact Verzion if they screwed up your yard while burying the FiOS cables. You'd think that it was just a bad contractor, but I've heard from at least two other people in separate subdivisions 20-30 miles from my neighborhood that Verizon has done a crappy job repaving and fixing the mess they made while burying their cable.

OK, so maybe Verizon chose a bad contractor to run their cables. Perhaps I won't get a better guarantee from any other ISP. Maybe FiOS is actually a better value per dollar than any other option I have (it actually is). It's possible that if there's an emergency that lasts so long that an eight hour batter back up dies, then I probably have bigger problems.

Well, I may change my mind in the future, but for now I'm saying no to Verizon FiOS.

Originally published on October 26, 2007 at 10:56 pm


  1. Ryan Says:
    May 21, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    I simply couldn’t agree with you more AND everywhere I have looked the contractors HAVE done a VERY POOR job of repair on the mess they made.

    While I could actually use more bandwidth (I do download a lot, P2P, etc and play online games) the thought of them throttling me (which I have noticed lately from Comcast) just pisses me off to the point where why should I get screwed by some new guy when I know what the guy has who is screwing me now and how he operates.