Verizon Fios: You must be joking

About two hours ago, I signed up online for Verizon’s new Fiber Optic internet service. About 10 minutes ago, I canceled the order.

As it turns out, FIOS is just a really cool shiny thing they hold in front of you so they can get your permission to pull out any trace of copper from your property.

That’s right, folks! You sign up for FIOS *INTERNET* service, and your phone service is cut over to fiber as well! Not only that, but the copper is *permanently* removed! Why should you care? Glad you asked.

First, you should care because power can’t traverse fiber optic lines, so the good old days of having phone service even when the power is out are gone forever. Verizon does give you a UPS power back up for your phone, but this is hardly comforting being that they only advertise 4 hours of backup time, and that’s assuming the battery in the UPS is in good shape. Batteries age, by the way.

Second, even though there’s a 30-day trial for the FIOS service, if you cancel in the 30-day period, you don’t get your copper back – YOU have to pay to have the copper run back to your house from the pole. This also means that if you want to move from FIOS back to a DSL provider, you can’t, because DSL runs over copper. Also, if you want to use someone else for local phone service, it’s not likely that you can do that either without running the copper back to the house.

This information was confirmed by the person I called at Verizon to cancel my order, though after a short wait on hold, she did say that I could keep my copper if I was willing to put the order on a major credit card (!?!?!). This sounded overly fishy to me. It also seemed fishy that they were, at best, overly vague about the whole phone cutover and the *complete* removal of copper, which I would never have known about unless I dug it up myself. At that point, it’s a trust issue. I don’t trust Verizon to do the right thing in this instance. Period.

Buyer beware.

  • Brokerblogger

    Brian,

    I got FiOS in 10/05 and while I agree totally with your “trust” point, I believe I’m getting faster speeeds at my 5/2 package deal vs. my minimum DSL package deal. Also, I’m using my cell phone for “back-up” and all long distance calls.

    However, I feel Verizon is not disclosing key buying info upfront on their web site to the point where they are possibly breaking the FTC rules on “deceptive advertising” = http://ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/ruleroad.htm

    On “taking the copper out”, that is not exactly right as it is the “NID” that is removed or made inactive. I think you’ll find my last post (especially the updates at the end) interesting = http://www.brokerblogger.com/brokerblogger/2005/11/f_stands_for_fi.html

    I may use your blog post as proof of consumer “lack of trust”, so thanks for your post.

  • Crackpot

    Wise move, my friend. I just cancelled my FIOS account this afternoon after a mere 4 weeks of service. Installation was a real pain, even though the installer was cool. Since that day my internet service has been flaky at best. Though it routinely hit advertised speeds in bandwidth tests, the overall reliability sucked. I’m kinda bummed and will be crawling back to Comcast in the morning.

    BTW, you’re absolutely correct about the changeover. Once you opt for fiber there’s no going back. I’ll stick with cable & Vonage for now.