Review by Kylemaul
Good "Fast, solid service."
- Location: North Port,Sarasota,FL
- Cost: $60 per month (24 month contract)
- Install: about 15 days
Bad "Post install account issues."
Overall "Billing needs to get their act straight."
|Pre Sales Information:|
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)
I had 786K Verizon dry-loop DSL. Fiber came into my area, and I was visited by a door-to-door salesperson. He was knowledgeable and hammered out a package that was just what I liked. The package I ordered included 10M/2M internet and phone service with unlimited long distance in the continental US, all for $59.95/month. The pre-installation information was easy to get to and follow. I had a couple of 'special needs' questions due to the way utilities enter my home (opposite the garage), but as of install day, had no answer to, however.
Part of the install was burying a line to my house from the box (flush-mount) by the street. A knock at the door, and 15 minutes later, done and gone. The cut in the lawn was barely noticeable. The cut can be seen with close inspection a month and a half later, but I suspect that once the lawn starts growing season again that it will completely disappear.
Because the utilities enter on the opposite side of the house, I had some deliberation to do over where to put the Battery Backup and the Router. The Battery Backup I decided to put into a closet as close to the Optical Network Terminal as possible, not knowing exactly how far the lines to connect the two could go. The Router I decided to put on the other side of that wall, because it is a fairly central location for the house, and the supplied Router has wireless capability. To utilize these locations required me to wire two 110V outlets. I also prewired ethernet (Cat-5) cable from the Router location to the ONT location, and from the Router location to my primary computer's location. On top of that, I ran my fish tape from the ONT to where the Battery Backup Unit would be, so the technician that came to hook it all up would be all set.
Enter the tech. I show him what I have set up for him, and tell him where I want the BBU and the Router to go. He balks, even with all outlets and wiring in place, saying that he wants to put the BBU on the same wall as the ONT, so he can do a straight drill through my concrete block. This would mean that the BBU (actually 2 separate boxes with wires running to power and to the ONT) would be located in the middle of my bedroom/office wall. I let him know that this is completely unacceptable, and explain the lengths I have gone to to put the appliances in the locations that I want. He grumblingly agrees, and proceeds. One of his big complaints is that I have chosen Cat-5 to connect the ONT to the Router, and the Router to the main computer. So, I punched down the Cat-5 (into the wallplates he provided) for him. About 90 minutes later, I'm surfing away, and he's back on the road. The nitpicks I have for the install are: the installer's attitude, that the Battery Backup Unit is mounted so (unnecessarily) high that I can't reach the controls for it, and that the wallplate that he installed is not level to the outlet that is 6" away.
So far so good...
Until I receive a bill for the old dry-loop DSL account for the first month I've had FIOS. I call, and about an hour later (par for the course I've found) get to talk with someone at Verizon to find out why. After all, the door-to-door salesman said that the account switching was "all figured out" and "seamless". I discover that Verizon needs me to pay for that month for both services, and that the next month all will be pro-rated, credited, and normal. So, the next month, I get my FIOS bill, which isn't at the rate I was quoted. I call again, wait the obligatory hour, and get things straightened out. Verizon even lowered my rate for my trouble. It was an hour well spent. Later in the month, I get another bill for the old dry-loop DSL. So I call, wait another hour, get to talk to not one but two very confused people who attempt to cancel my old DSL account, get transferred, wait another half hour, and get to talk to a tech support person, because the first two confused people managed to kill my e-mail account. The tech resolves my e-mail by resetting my password, and all is well...
Until I try to change my password later in the evening as necessitated by the tech. The message I get online? "Account Suspended" This really sucks because Verizon tech support is only 9-5, M-F and of course all of this took place on Friday. So I've been without e-mail all weekend. Ah well, Monday will undoubtedly see me waiting the obligatory hour on hold with Verizon to get this sorted out...
To be continued....
I called on Monday, only spent 30 minutes this time, talked to a tech who re-reset my e-mail/login account, and all seems to be well. I was also contacted by an IT guy and a billing guy from Verizon to get some info from me on "what went wrong". They contacted me in hopes that they could track down where my account "fell through the cracks." I'm guessing it has something to do with my old account having been a "dry-loop" account vs. a "phone+DSL" type account. I hope that I was of enough assistance to these gentlemen to prevent similar future occurrences.
Let me say that I was very impressed that they recognized the difficulties my scenario presented to me as a customer, and that they contacted me, even though my troubles were technically already resolved. Good to see that Verizon is being proactive!
One last note: the Router that was included in the install, an Actiontech, tries very hard to be user friendly, but is not. I have a fairly simple static IP LAN, that for the time being (due to the unfamiliar/quirky Actiontech interface) I have abandoned. This translates to a slower and slightly less secure system for me. Theoretically, the Actiontech should blow away my old router + software firewall, but in practicality this is not the case. I'm sure there are arguments that will certainly, beyond the shadow of a doubt, prove me wrong, but simply won't be true in the end, all things considered. I suspect that I'm a rare case in this instance, as my hardware is a bit dated for top-end nitpicking such as this.
I must say that I am very impressed with whoever in Verizon is managing customer support. I now have a local (same city) person that I can call for any issues with their service. I have used this support option, and greatly prefer it to their old system for both account and technical assistance. At times, this person will act as an intermediary to the regular support personnel to the extent that, if there will be a long hold time involved, they will call me back when ready!
Verizon's billing still makes absolutely no sense to me, but the bottom line makes some amount of sense.
Service and connectivity have been solid throughout the life of this service, with one small hiccup. That hiccup I will pass the buck mostly onto the local power company, and a bit to Verizon's selection of battery backups. I had, over the course of a year, constant power interruptions and finally an outage which lasted for a couple of days. After all this electrical abuse, the backup battery and/or its charging system failed, leading to downtime even though everything had power. 2 days later, a tech came out and replaced the battery and charger. Rock solid service ever since.
Billing on the other hand, has been an absolute nightmare. My "locked in" rate expired, and I negotiated to keep that same rate on a month to month basis. To Verizon's point of view, this apparently means that they can attempt to adjust the rate from month to month. Never less expensive, even though their base package of today offers better bandwidth than mine has. With the time spent ironing out their overcharging, this service is a tough choice at best. The only thing that kept me putting up with their billing shenanigans is that the service itself is very solid. As I'm moving out from this location, leaving Verizon will not be a hard choice. What will be a hard choice will be to go back to their terrible billing wherever I move to.
Service-wise, FiOS is rock solid, par none. The only real trouble I've had is with their ActionTech router, which seems to be suffering from bad interface coding. When typing in the access password, I get a random number of characters typed per key press. Thankfully, I was able go back to my 'good ole blue box' tried and true router.
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updated 2.3 years ago