FIOS is here and there is no looking back

September 16, 2010

My FIOS install was successfully completed.  As other folks have chronicled, the install takes a long time.   It took over six hours for all three services: Internet, TV and phone.   I’ve had FIOS for a couple of weeks now and I am very happy with the results.

The actual install process was as follows:

Site Survey:  The tech arrived and surveyed where the fiber would come into the house and where all of the different TV, telephone and computer hookups were.  The existing cable and phone wiring could be reused.  The tech had to do a long run from the basement to connect my desktop which is located in the attic (it’s the HQ of the “Hub”).  Once I showed him that the wiring could be run up through the chimney in the center of the house, it was all good.  I’m glad that Verizon is offering its premium install at no additional charge.

Next part:  Install the ONT (Optical Network Terminal).  The ONT is where the fiber optic cable pulled in from the street terminates in the house (sometimes it’s put outside).  This box then breaks out the fiber into cable, network and telephone hookups.  I thought they would run cat 5 ethernet up to the attic but instead everything is run over coax (last time I used “thinnet” was in college). Apparently, their TV set top boxes need to be able to communicate with the router to get guide information.  The next hour or so was devoted to fishing wire up the chimney and to the attic.
ONT installed in the basement

Soon after, the bucket truck arrived and the fiber was run from the telephone pole across the street into the house.  Once the fiber connection was made, it only took five minutes to cut over the phone.  Impressive considering they were porting my number from Comcast.

 Installer running fiber from street to the house

The next step of the installation was to install the router in the attic.  It’s nice that all of the computers in the Hub are now connected to a hard line (and they are off the wireless network).  After getting the other computers in the house on the wireless network, the rest of the installation was devoted to installing the new cable card into TiVo as well as setting up the home media DVR for the kitchen TV. 

Here are my initial impressions of the service:
TV:  Picture quality is better than Comcast but not perfect.  I saw the first instance of pixelization and audio drop out the other day.  It happens a lot less often than on Comcast.  The audio quality is also better.  When watching Mad Men, you could distinctly hear the bass notes at the end of the opening theme (never heard them on Comcast).
DVR:  I have the Verizon DVR in the kitchen.  I have set up some shows to record which was fairly intuitive.  The fast foward and rewind functions are similar to TiVo.  The one exception is that it does not back up a couple of seconds after fast forwarding.  Looking forward to Verizon’s UI overall coming before year end.  My Series 3 TiVo is hooked up to the main TV in the living room and I still prefer it.  I’ve boiled it down to one thing:  I like the beeps and booms that TiVo makes as well as the simple interface.  Unfortunately, they only brought one m-card for the Tivo and since I own the original series 3, it treats it as a single stream card.  I thought I could live without dual tuners but I was wrong.  I’ll have to call them tomorrow.

Internet:  The $89 package is advertised as 15/5 Internet and it does consistently hit or exceed the advertised speeds.  Given it’s fiber to the home, there is no sharing of bandwidth with other folks in the neighborhood.  One pleasant surprise is that Verizon now installs a router that supports 802.11n (as well as b and g).  In my case, the Actiontec MI424WR router has had solid performance.  I see the same 15 to 20 Mbps of download speed from a computer directly connected to the router over ethernet as I do with a wireless laptop two floors down.
Telephone:  No difference

At the end of the day, I called Comcast to disconnect my service.  I spoke with a very nice woman on the line who informed me they would have reduced my price to $99 ( I had been paying $165). When I inquired several weeks ago if Comcast could meet the price, I spoke to a rep who said the best they could do was $129 vesus the $89 from Comcast and showed little interest in retaining me as a customer.  I guess the memo about customer retention finally went out.

Well, there’s still lots to check out with the new set up.  I haven’t had time to check out on-demand yet or convert the router to use WPA encryption.  So far, no regrets!!

Tags: comcast, FIOS, TiVo, Verizon

One Response to FIOS is here and there is no looking back

  1. Verizon on September 17, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Thanks so much for your very thorough overview of the Verizon FiOS installation process. We're happy you gave it a try and trust you will continue to be pleased. Let me know if you ever need help. You can reach me on Twitter @VzNana or join the Friend of FiOS on Facebook.

    We'd love to hear your input often!!

    Have an awesome weekend, enjoy FiOS, and thanks again for your thoughtful overview.


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