Musings of an anonymous geek

December 15, 2005

Verizon Fios: You must be joking

Filed under: Me stuff,Technology — m0j0 @ 2:29 pm

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.



  1. 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” =

    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 =

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

    Comment by Brokerblogger — February 27, 2006 @ 7:30 am | Reply

  2. 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.

    Comment by Crackpot — January 18, 2007 @ 6:19 pm | Reply

  3. I’ve had FiOS for about three years, and to be totally honest, I’m really happy with it. Aside from having to redirect my personal web site to port 10011 (they block 80 on dynamic IP connections), I haven’t had any problems.

    I understand the issues with removing copper, but it seems like in my area, at least, the only options for phone service are Verizon (now moving to fiber) and Cablevision, which is running over coax (I love how their commercials claim they have a fiber network and leave out the last few thousand feet that’s shared with your neighbors).

    As to reliability – I rarely us the landline anyway. But when I first got FiOS, I set aside $200 for incidental expenses. I ended up spending it on a refurb’ed 1000VA UPS, which should hold the little ONT for a good day or two.

    My one slight complaint is that it consistently preforms well under the advertised speed, and even below what friends’ cable runs at. Perhaps part of that is a ploy to get people to upgrade to the 20/5 plan?

    On one other note – if you’ve been to lately, you’ll know that the SFLC is suing Verizon on behalf of the Busybox developers. Apparently they’ve been distributing Actiontek routers to *all* FiOS customers without any GPL notice or source code, though the router runs Bosybox. Apparently I got FiOS a *very* long time ago, as they gave me a new-in-the-box off-the-shelf Dlink.

    Comment by jantman — January 24, 2008 @ 11:05 pm | Reply

  4. I have a question. I currently have comcast cable and comcast internet. i want to make the switch to FIOS internet and FIOS TV. I have read all this information about Verizon cutting the copper line. We don’t have a home phone service and we just use our cell phones. when they say “cut the copper” are they referring to the copper for old landline phone? or are they talking about the Comcast Coaxible cable currently running from the telephone pole to my house? Basically, i am wondering if i get fios and then i don’t like it can i go back to comcast without any promlems? I don’t really care if they cut the copper phone wire since we don’t use it but what happens when i go to sell the house? The new residents will have to get FIOS? Will i have to disclose this? Which makes me want to keep my copper. Any thoughts? Thank you.

    Comment by baconstribs — January 26, 2008 @ 4:07 pm | Reply

  5. I was able to keep every bit of copper that I have when FiOS was recently installed at my home (Jan 29th). I ordered the 20/20 Internet, Movie and HBO & Cinemax package, for TV, and had one of my three existing telephones switched to fiber.

    The original copper that ran to my home, is still where it was, nothing was touched or removed.

    My reviews are on my blog. I will be posting more photographs later today.


    Comment by fragzem — February 3, 2008 @ 10:21 am | Reply

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