Verizon Joins the Cord Cutting Revolution
Can I Get FiOS? What are the Drawbacks?
Diversification is the key to any business model, and the telecommunications giant Verizon takes that to heart. In 2005, Verizon launched the service FiOS, which offers HD television and high speed internet. Although it is not available to most of the United States, FiOS has received high praise from both consumers and critics alike; but has also received some serious criticism.
So what’s the deal with FiOS? Why isn’t it widely available and what makes it so great? Today I’m going to walk you through what FiOS is, how much is costs, and whether or not it’s a good fit for you. Without further ado, let’s get started.
What makes Verizon’s FiOS television and internet so special is the information delivery system. For the most part, your standard internet/cable provider will have something called “Fiber Optic Nodes,” these nodes essential act like hubs that distribute the internet/television signal. Most providers are using copper cable wires to deliver the signal; but unfortunately those signals are unreliable and inconsistent.
What makes FiOS different is that instead of being hundreds or thousands of feet away from the node, the node is essentially attached to your house and there are no copper wires. This drastically improves the reliability and clarity of your television and internet signal.
Verizon FiOS Costs
FiOS offers both internet and television services; and both come with multi tiered plans. Here are the different service plans:
- 25Mbps Download / Upload: $54.99 monthly
- 50Mbps Download / Upload: $64.99 monthly
- 75 Mbps Download / Upload: $74.99 monthly
Each internet plan also comes with one year subscription to Netflix
- FiOS TV Local – 17 TV Channels (5 HD): $10 monthly
- Select HD – 155 TV Channels (30 HD): $49.99 monthly
- Preferred HD – 230 TV Channels (60 HD): $64.99 monthly
- Extreme HD – 305 TV Channels (80 HD): $79.99 monthly
- Ultimate HD – 405 TV Channels (125 HD): $89.99 monthly
For an extra fee every month, you also get DVR access so you can record your favorite show. There are three different DVR plans, which are as followed
- FiOS ($11 monthly) – Pause/Rewind 1 live show, record 2 shows at a time, and store up to 50 hours of HD video
- FiOS Quantum Enhanced Service ($22 monthly)- Pause/Rewind up to 5 live shows, record 6 shows at a time, and store up to 100 hours of HD video
- FiOS Quantum Premium Service ($32 monthly) – Pause/Rewind up to 10 live shows, record 12 shows at a time, and store up to 200 hours of HD video
The downside to FiOS TV is the fact that you also have to rent Verizon equipment in order for it to work, and that will be rather expensive. For one television to receive FiOS, it is an additional $11.99 a month. Although the cable plans are comparatively cheaper than competitors, that savings more or less vanishes when you figure in equipment rental fees.
Can I Get FiOS?
Only 16 states have Verizon FiOS and even then it’s only available in select cities. You can click here to see if you qualify for Verizon FiOS.
Getting started with FiOS is easy. All you have to do is go to Verizon’s FiOS website, and if you are eligible, sign up. You will have two installation methods. If your home is already wired for FiOS you can do it yourself or have a technician come out. If your home isn’t wired for FiOS, you’ll have to have a tech come out anyway.
The installation fee is usually $50, which might be a bummer to some; but it’s a small price to pay for reliability. Ask any Comcast customer who pays for “50Mbs Download” and they’ll tell you it’s more like 15 or 20. Which would you rather have; a cheaper start up cost or to actually get what you pay for?
For those wanting television services, outside of Google Fiber you will be hard pressed to find any internet service provider that will offer you what FiOS can at the same price.
The Down Side
Here are some thoughts from a few cord cutting friends who have tried out, and abandoned Verizon FiOS TV:
- “I consider it another form of cable. Expensive, overpriced channels, paying for everything, even if you don’t watch it”
- “Poor Customer Service. I’ve been online with them for an hour trying to fix slow internet. Just going thru the same steps as last time”
- “Had it for TV. The up charges for equipment take away any savings and there were billing issues with Verizon every month”
- “Verizon just sold Fios to Frontier in California, Texas and I believe Florida”
- “it is a vicious expensive nonalternative. Opposes net neutrality“
- “Verizon FiOS *is* Cable TV. The shape of the cable doesn’t change that
All in all, you will need to make the decision yourself. Verizon’s FiOS service seems to be moderately priced, but with additional hardware charges, bad customer service, and constant billing issues – I am not sure it is worth it. If you are lucky enough to have Verizon’s FiOS in your area, it is definitely worth a look. Not saying it’s the solution, but it is at least worth looking into.
Are you using FiOS TV? If so, what do you like and not like about it?