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Why we dropped Cable and switched to FIOS

submitted by Bob C. on 01/12/2008

I wrote this for those people thinking of switching from Cable to FIOS.

The reasons that made me switch to Verizon FIOS.

At this time for basically the same package, Cable is $159.95 - FIOS is $94.95 both are less extras with a two year signup. That's an amazing $65. a month savings and includes a much faster internet. Our FIOS speed tests usually show 20400kbps Down and 4200kbps up. This is very fast... Also, we find our VOIP is much clearer than with cable. It may be because the speed is almost triple than what it was with cable. More surprises below, see updates.

Verizon charged us a $19.00 service charge to cover what, I don't remember... We live in New Jersey so prices and installation times may vary.

Cancel Cable Service day

The day I brought back all the hardware to the cable company, I couldn't wait to tell them about the price savings between Cable and FIOS but they didn't even ask why I cancelled their service. They should keep track of the reason people drop their service so they can improve their business. They didn't seem to care. Personally I think their attitude will change sooner than later.

Our FIOS Install

Three days after we placed the FIOS order they came for the install. Two trucks showed up. One with the equipment and a bucket truck to run the fiber down to the corner fiber junction box up on the pole. As soon as the cable was finished being hung and tested, the truck left. The installer was left to do the rest by himself. He told me he was fairly new and new little about computers. Seems they push the installers though school because they need them so badly. Whatever the case, he did a excellent clean job.

Verizon FiOS Internet
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Verizon FiOS TV
100% digital TV powered by fiber optics. 235+ Digital Channels plus HD. FiOS TV Preferred HD.
Verizon High Speed Internet
Get Verizon High Speed Internet. High Speed Internet provides the reliability of a dedicated line from our central office to your home.

>From what I understand the fiber cable to the house has one strand of glass covered with Teflon or something like it. Over that was a Kevlar wrap and a plastic outer covering. The fiber can not be bent too sharply or it can break but a new type should be coming soon that can bend much more with no damage. The fiber cables are pre-terminated on both ends and come in different lengths. This is so they don't have to place a terminating connection in the field. Any extra fiber is coiled at the ends but never cut. An ONT box goes outside of the house. This accepts one end of the fiber and converts the light to electric to be used by the Coax/CAT5 for TV and Internet. It also has four telephone plugs for up to 4 landlines. Inside the ONT is where the magic occurs. It converts the light to electrical signals and it has a small Laser to convert electrical back to light for outbound Internet data and TV requests. Here is one thing I could not understand. The ONT can accept either a Coax or a CAT5/5e/6 to run to the new Verizon router. I heard that using a CAT5/6 is better so I ran one before they came. They want their routers to be used but you can use another if you know what you are doing. You can also use your old router behind theirs. One of the reasons they want their router used is because the set-top TV boxes each have their own IP address on your network. They update them with fixes and time / weather settings and much more. They also can repair many problems without sending a serviceman out.

A couple small holes are needed to run the wires from the outside ONT, into the basement. Inside the basement they install a power supply and battery backup for the phone service, and a TV coax splitter. This must have a wall outlet near by for the power supply. It can not be a power strip or an extension cord. Get this installed before you order your service.

Also run new cables if required, such as a CAT5/5e/6 from your router location to the outside ONT location. They will use your old cable coax if new no new cable has been installed. Coax or CAT5 can both be used so either is OK.

Your installation will vary depending on what service you get and how it is wired. Our install took six hours. He did a near perfect job with everything. They also seem to go out of their way to be helpful and answer all the questions before they leave.

After the install was complete, the serviceman did an equipment check. We experienced two small problems. The internet was dead so he called his people and found the ONT was programmed by default for coax between the ONT and router instead of the CAT6 I ran. They fixed this from the office in a minute. The only other problem was with the telephone. We had a local radio station blasting in. He said "No problem" and it wasn't. A tiny filter was put in the box outside and the connection was very clear.

As soon as he left, I started to setup my network on the new router. They gave us a Verizon Actiontec MI424WR Rev.C router. This was the only thing that gave me problems. If you need to make any changes to this router such as port forwarding etc. you better download the full manual from Verizons website. Be sure you get the correct manual for your router. You will need it. Trying to make a simple setting change was confusing. I never had such trouble doing something that should have been a simple task. After I read the manual and struggled through the changes it worked perfectly. My wireless reached another building where we backup our files each night without a problem. We have 11 devices connected to our network, including a network camera, 5 computers and more. Some use a small Netgear 4 port switch after the router giving us the extra ports. Using Network Magic, I check the logs. Never has any device dropped from the network nor have we lost internet connectivity. I find this interesting after reading about the older routers having problems. One thing I wish the router had was higher wireless speed (n) but it works well.

I heard from a Verizon line worker that new electronics will be available soon that can run at 100Mbs or 1000kbps as they have now in Japan and South Korea. I wonder what they will charge for this service. When this speed is available for a reasonable price, the cable companies will go the way dialup is going now. Imagine that...

A good feature that they don't tell you about.

We have an old 25" RCA TV but we didn't want to spend more money for another set top box. After looking at the back of the set top box in another room I saw that the TV was using HDMI connection form the box. I also noticed it had a coax connection so I connected the coax to the other old TV and because it was close enough to use the remote, I now have all channels on both TV's from one box. No HD on the old set but very clear reception on all channels. The box output sends a signal from all outputs. This is a nice feature that they don't tell you about. Of course I could have just plugged this old TV into the splitter and received just the basic channels but this way we get all channels we pay for on this old TV also.

So far everything is just fine. If we have problems they will be posted here.

Verizon FiOS Internet
Get the fastest Verizon FiOS internet plan with FiOS Quantum Internet.
Verizon FiOS TV
100% digital TV powered by fiber optics. 235+ Digital Channels plus HD. FiOS TV Preferred HD.
Verizon High Speed Internet
Get Verizon High Speed Internet. High Speed Internet provides the reliability of a dedicated line from our central office to your home.

Update: One month after install

We received a letter from verizon telling us that anyone getting the triple play and did not receive any promos will receive a free 19" Sharp LCD High Def. TV if install date is before 1/15/08. We are waiting for delivery. (See below update)

More information:
I did learn something interesting from their tech support. They had told me to shut off the power to the router for 10 sec. while I was on the phone to reset it. I said if I do that the landline telephone will go down. They said no it won't. Amazing, I shut off the power and it still worked fine. The reason was the FIOS phone service is a "Landline" service as before and not VOIP. They said it just uses fiber from the house to the switching center as opposed to copper. So far it's great. We do use another VOIP (Voice Wing) line with FIOS and this line would shut down if router is off, but it is less expensive than getting another FIOS number.

A word to the wise. You don't need any of the software that Verizon will want to install on your system such as Custom browser's, anti virus and backup software etc. Everything you need to connect is supplied with Windows. We did not choose to use any of their software. Much cleaner computer this way. Also, the Actiontec MI424WR router has a built in business class hardware firewall. With this we felt we don't need firewall software which allows our computers run better and happier.

Landline phone - If your power goes out you will still be able to use your phone (Not a VOIP phone) for a couple hrs. It uses the installed battery backup they install. This backup also has an emergency button to press that will give you even more time to call 911 in an emergency.

Update: We received a letter today from Verizon.

Our new Sharp 19" HD LCD TV is on the way. A gift for getting the package deal installed before 1/15/08.

Verizon FiOS TV
100% digital TV powered by fiber optics. 235+ Digital Channels plus HD. FiOS TV Preferred HD.
Verizon FiOS Internet
Get the fastest Verizon FiOS internet plan with FiOS Quantum Internet.

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