Should I Switch to FiOS From Comcast?
April 22, 2009 | by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been excited at the idea of getting Verizon’s FiOS service. The fastest Internet possible at my fingertips, with no real competition. But do I need it?
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Posted by go4broke  on  04/22  at  09:24 AM

I actually have the same issues.  I have a friend next door who is on FIOS, one of the primary channels I watch is BBC America, he’s not been able to get that for over 4 months because according to him Verizon says that its a sattellite issue and they can’t resolve it.  (Comcast works fine)  In general he has many more issues watching TV than I do.  As for his internet speed, it’s not really all that noticeable in this area.  Quite a few people have made the switch but overall most can’t really tell the difference.

One thing working against Verizon for me is that you have to have a wireless router installed (I live in a high density area) and for security reasons I only run wired connections, wireless is just too easy to hack.  (in fact I’ve shown him how easy it is for me to hack into his network and yes its encrypted etc. 

For me, Comcast just works, if I was to switch I woldn’t really save any money either.  So I don’t see much of the point.  Reminds me more of the Ford vs. Chevy debates of the 60’s/70’s, in the end utterly pointless as they both work.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  04/22  at  10:32 AM

Junger, how’d you negotiate with Comcast?

Posted by Rabbit101  on  04/22  at  10:33 AM

Ok so Im an IT Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, I looked over FIOS and found it had great potential and just a better product.

Comcast Cable modems share the bandwidth from a neighborhood blade (Little green box on some street corner under ground) So when your neighbors are busy downloading your connection goes slower.

FIos has its own fiber cable from your house right to the local substation and onto the web. Verizon promised free this and free that but after the bill came the love was gone. They nickel and dime you and dont come through with the promises. So I went to order a Cablecard for my wifes new TiVo and it took 8 hours on the phone just get someone to come out and plug the thing in (Im not kidding 8 hours of on hold, drops, and just ignorant support) I was a little unhappy that my $300 gigabit router I just bought was sitting doing nothing so I went to plug it in. I called Verizon to ask a question and I was yelled at by the tech on the phone NOT TO TOUCH VERIZON EQUIPMENT. Whoa Nelly! I had a question on my bill and called to ask a question “They ask to anaylize your bill and put you on hold and never come back” 5 hours later I still had no answer so I went over to the local verizon store to be pointed to a hpne on the wall. These guys really suck.

Comcast on the other hand always treated me with respect, when they anaylized my bill they actually came back with a better package at a lower price. I could reach support in minutes not hours. Its not worth the headaches to change I will be switching back once my contract has run out.

Posted by John Nemesh  on  04/22  at  10:56 AM

I have had the good fortune to have had Fios for the past year.  I was paying $80/month for a symmetrical 20mbps connection (20 upstream AND down!).  Last month I decided to get cable TV through them as well.  They have an “Extreme” HD package bundled with 20mbps down 5mps up, for the same $80 I was paying!  I only had to pay for the DVR rental.
I can tell you all day about how the internet connection is better, but purely on price, Verizon seems to have better offers right now.  Add that to the fact that the TV picture quality FAR exceeds that of Comcast.  Lately, Comcast has been squeezing 3 HD channels into the same space formerly occupied by 2.  This recompression SEVERELY impacts picture quality, especially for sports.  Any movement on the screen renders a pixelated mess on Comcast (I watch it all the time at my friend’s place).  Verizon has stated that they NEVER recompress the TV signal!  They retransmit the exact same signal they receive.

All in all, fiber to the home is the future.  Coax and copper phone lines have been stretched to their limit with technologies designed to re-purpose an old technology to new uses.  On the other hand, Verizon has built a new network from the ground up, it DOES make a difference!

Posted by Alex  on  04/24  at  12:10 AM

I have had Comcast, RCN, Direct TV, and Dish, and FiOS is technically far beyond the competition. The TV (cable) service is out of this world. I get loads of HD channels (way more then Comcast), the dual tuner HD DVR is amazing, they have the very best and most intuitive menu controls, everything is logically laid out. Multi-room DVR works great. Internet is extremely fast, and has no monthly caps. You can also log in from a website and control your DVR and set recording or from any cell phone too.

The only complaint I have about FiOS is Verizon customer service could be better, however Comcast was never that good either.

If you can, get FiOS, I have turned all my friends and parents onto it, and everyone loves it.

Posted by Matt  on  04/24  at  10:25 AM

The picture quality and cost are (almost) irrelevant.  The reason I will never switch is because Verizon has, by far, the worst customer service of any company I have ever dealt with in any industry.  Nobody else even comes close to how bad they are.  They don’t care about you at all.  They lie, are nasty and come to fix your problem when they get around to it.  I cannot overstate how bad their customer service is for any service I’ve ever had in a few different places that I have lived.

Posted by John Nemesh  on  04/24  at  10:45 AM

Matt, the thing you fail to realize is that they ALL suck at customer service!  When was the last time you had a GOOD experience dealing with the billing department from Comcast, Sprint, Verizon, AT&T;, Qwest, Cox, Time Warner, CableVision, etc?  The ugly truth is that SOMETIMES company “A” will suck a tiny bit less than company “B” when it comes to customer service or billing.  They are all huge beaurocracies, they are all inefficient, slow to respond, and uncaring.

That being said, Verizon has a clear TECHNOLOGICAL advantage in their offerings right now.  Faster internet, no caps or throttling (!), better quality TV, more channels, newer DVR boxes with triple tuners (!).

Comcast could have the best customer service in the world, and I wouldn’t buy their capped, throttled internet, nor their over compressed garbage HD offering.  And don’t even get me started on Time Warner’s “education” campaign to get us to believe that caps are a good thing and we should pay by the GB!

In my mind, the only REALLY bad thing about Verizon’s Fios is its limited availability.  If you are lucky enough to have it available, get it!  NOW!  Your skepticism will end the moment your connection goes live.

Posted by Rich Fore  on  04/24  at  12:19 PM

All of the above may be correct , but I have nothing but Kudos for their Customer Support.  They used to have a program called “PAM”  Personal Account Manager. I called my PAM and got answers immediately they she knew how to correct my problem, or she would call a tech, and I got a return call within 10 minutes.
On the technology side, Verizon’s Fiber Optics are virtually unlimited bandwidth, so NOTHING is compressed.  You get a perfect picture all the time.  I had DirectTV since 1995, and it was “state of the art” for a while.  Then I started noticing video compression in the black levels of my high quality CRT monitor.  I got FIOS and the pixylization went away.  Give me FIOS ANY DAY !

Posted by Jayes  on  04/24  at  07:06 PM

A quick question: Do Verizon HD cable boxes have a HDMI Input? Or is it like comcast with the DVI input?

Posted by John Nemesh  on  04/27  at  12:41 PM

Verizon boxes have an HDMI OUTPUT, no HDMI or DVI input.

Posted by Oliver A. Masciarotte  on  04/28  at  01:56 PM

I have to disagree with Matt and side with Rich Fore. I have only good CS experience with Verizon so, I say go w/FIOS, you need more fibre in your diet!

Posted by Dave G  on  04/29  at  08:41 AM

The biggest problem I see is that a TV hooked up to Fios without the box only gets a few channels. With Comcast you get a lot plus local HD with TV’s that have the HD tuner built-in. With a lot of TV’s in my house I’d need a box at every set if I had Fios. In some cases the way the sets are mounted that wouldn’t be practical. It also wouldn’t be necessary since the bulk of HD premium channels watched is in the den home theater, not the other TV’s in the house.

Posted by John Nemesh  on  04/29  at  10:11 AM

I hate to break it to you Dave, but Comcast is in the process of switching over to a 100% digital system.  The current analog channels you are watching are going to completely dissapear this year, and you will be required to have a set top box, even for “expanded basic”.  The only exception would be if you just wanted local channels only (the $15/month plan).  Those will still be digital only, but broadcast “in the clear”, meaning you will be able to use your TVs built in QAM tuner (if you have a newer TV).

Fios as well is transitioning to 100% digital (yes, in some markets they broadcast ANALOG OVER FIBER…weird, but think about how laserdisc works, that was optical analog tech as well).  Get used to the idea of cable boxes for ALL systems until Tru2Way tech becomes commonplace.

Posted by Dave G  on  04/29  at  02:24 PM

Wow, major disappointment about Comcast going ALL digital and having the same box issue as Fios. I guess it was just wishful thinking on my part. Well, now I have a reason to look at Fios.

I appreciate the info, John. Let’s hope for Tru2Way soon and that it isn’t the failure that CableCard is/was.

Posted by Rich Fore  on  04/30  at  11:37 AM

Hey Dave G.
I have good news for you.  FIOS started going 100% digital back in November.  They asked me how many TVs I have in my house.  I have 4 TVs, but only 1 DVR box and 1 standard box.  They automatically sent me 2 VERY small boxes with no buttons (no Power, either), and remotes for both converter boxes.  I set them up, called them to activate the boxes, and there they were .... ALL the channels (except HD) can be watched in all my rooms.  I LOVE this company.

Posted by Dave G  on  04/30  at  01:10 PM

Hello Rich,

That is good news! Do you pay an extra fee for the additional boxes? If not it sounds like a win-win. Thanks for the info!!

Posted by Mike McAllister  on  04/30  at  04:12 PM

I switched from Comcast to Verizon FiOS last month after 6 years of having it available at the curb (underground).  What did it for me is a young salesman who came to the door.  Sorry to say I didn’t buy it from him (I wanted time to research it further).  Upon looking into it I found the $99/mo - two year - bundle deal irresistible. It includes free long distance and local calls, a huge no. of channels (I’ve since doubled the ISP connection speed, which increased the price by $10/mo and the crystal clear channels to 240+ so I can’t recall the original number of channels), and of course the FiOS Internet connection.  I had Verizon for phone and Comcast for TV and Internet before.  This is waay cheaper.  The modem/router included is high tech and we were told we won’t need to reset it vs. the cheap Comcast modem we had to reset so often.  So far, uptime is 100% for the first month :)  LOOK (OR WAIT) FOR “THE BUNDLE” DEAL.

Posted by Adam  on  04/30  at  09:45 PM

Dave, I am believer that FIOS Internet will one day rule! The speeds of up and down are unmatched by any cable/dsl provider currently. Even ATT’s uverse can’t hit anything higher than 2mb’s up. I cannot vouch for the TV service, even though I’ve heard nothing but good, I never used it. Sure! I know, you’re thinking to yourself, I’m happy with the speeds I have, why would I need more? Well if the future progresses to a more bandwidth driven home, example: Home Servers running the homes media storage, home automation, cloud/internet accessible files and controls…you will need more upload speeds without hurting even general internet use. Bandwidth is almost unlimited through the fiber, and the speeds are noticable.
I went from TWC/Comcast Cable 10 down 1 up, to Verizon FIOS 20 down and 20 up, NOW understand that the provided actiontec modem router/wireless is junk. I was initionally setup on COAX to the actiontec from the box. I did some research, found I could use my own router and cat5 from the box….called them, told them to turn on the cat5 at the box, went home, plugged it all in aaand man was I understanding the reason for fiber. It opens up bandwidth, no matter how much you have going, as long as you have a good QoS and router…if and when I buy a house, it will have FIOS.

Posted by Rich Fore  on  05/01  at  08:48 PM

Dave G.
They sent me the who converter boxes and remotes with their compliments.  AWESOME !!!

Posted by GES  on  05/12  at  07:39 AM

I currently used directv and comcast for online and as soon as FiOS is available later this summer I will switch the online.  Other posters are correct the up it the big difference and the fact it is not a peak based “up to” you get what you pay for. 

Besides the fact I am a FiOS authorized reseller I would have to say it is worth the money for certain over similar spend with comcast.  Easy choice to me but just do what everybody does get a neighbor to show you the quality before you switch over.

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