This past summer my husband and I were excited to learn that Verizon's high-speed, fiber-optic, internet/phone/tv FiOS service had become available to our building and we were quick to sign up. Having suffered through many tedious cable and internet installations over the years, I was expecting pretty much the same rigamarole, but there were a few twists to the process you might want to know about if you're on the brink of making the switch yourself.
Here's what you can expect:
1. You're getting a BIG box. Technically, it's called an Optical Network Terminal (or ONT for those in the know, which excludes me). The biggest surprise was that this rather large terminal needed to be housed in our apartment. We are renters and felt like we should check with our landlord before having it drilled into our wall. Luckily, our off-site landlord happened to be around that day so we could ask, but you may want to check with yours beforehand. Our box measures 16.5" x almost 11".
2. Installation takes a LONG time. The (very friendly) technician was in and out of our apartment for over four hours. We became quite chummy over the course of the day. I considered inviting him for Thanksgiving dinner. Our upstairs neighbor reported a similar length of visit - about five hours in his case. So, prepare to hunker down. Have snacks around. Queue up an Inspector Morse marathon (you won't lose your current internet service until you're up and running with FiOS). Learn a new language. Call mom.
3. Your channels will change. This is maybe obvious in retrospect, but caught me off guard. Just when you thought you had a handle on the 1000+ channels you have and committed the four that you like to memory, you'll have to learn new channel numbers and, in fact, you may lose (or gain) some channels, particularly local ones. (Excuse me while I wipe a tear from my eye and wave my kerchief adieu to NY1's Pat Kiernan...)
4. Your phone won't work if your home loses power. If you choose to bundle your phone service into your FiOS deal, know that if you lose power to your home, your FiOS battery will only work for about 8 hours and then you will lose phone service, including calls to 911. Most of us have cell phones (and many have given up landlines altogether), but this is something to be aware of, especially if you live in areas susceptible to losing power due to hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards or other extreme weather.
5. Your upload and download rates really will improve. For the doubting Thomases out there, my husband tells me that our average rates with our previous provider were approximately 6 Mbps down and 650K up. With FIOS, they improved hugely. We pay for the "75/25" plan and my speed tests are typically around 50 Mbps down and 40 Mbps up (note that test results vary by your computer, browser, whether you're on wifi, time of day, etc.) You can test your speed on Verizon's site or others, like Speakeasy.net/speedtest/.
So, there you have it, my firsthand account of having FiOS installed. I should note that Verizon's website actually does a good job of explaining what to expect and how to prepare for installation, but I'm not the type of person to read that stuff (i.e. the fine print) and only stumbled on it when doing a little research for this post.
(Image credits: Carrie McBride)