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Six Month Rating

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Review by MikeRivers See Profile

  • Location: Falls Church,Fairfax,VA
  • Cost: $16 per month (12 month contract)
  • Telco party Verizon
Good "Very inexpenisve"
Bad "Tech support knows too little"
Overall "Great bargain now that it works well"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

I initially signed up for the $29.95/month service in December of 2004 after being an AOL dial-up user for too many years. Since I am no longer traveling regularly, the benefit of AOL's dial-up access just about anywhere was no longer really important, and Verizon offered a "turn it on when you need it" dial-up extension for $8.95/month. I've not yet found that I needed it since these days most hotels have wireless or RJ45 Ethernet connections.

Anyway, things got up and running pretty quickly and I was pleased with the service for about six months. I was gettting throughput commensurate with 784 kbs service and that was fine for what I do on the net. They advertised "we doubled the speed and didn't raise the price" but I never saw a speed increase. Then my connection started dropping out several times a week, sometimes for just a few minutes, sometimes for several hours. Numerous calls to Verizon Tech Support and service, including three house calls and a replacement modem found nothing wrong. I was about to give up and try a different provider when my year was up.

Verizon Support's last suggestion was that I was close to the distance limit and that they drop the sending speed. That didn't help. Right about the time that I was due for renewal, Verizon started advertising the $14.95/month rate for the speed I was getting, so I asked if they could change me to that rate when I renewed since that was all the speed I was getting anyway. They cheerfully did so, and I continued to put up with the occasional drops in service. It might not be great, but it sure was cheap. My phone + service fee more than dropped in half from when I had AOL and a second phone line.

I persisted with the service calls whenever I had an interruption if for no other reason than to put them on record. When someone said "You've called about this more than thirty times. We haven't fixed it yet?" they sent out another technician who made the same measurements in my house as the others who had been here before, but this gentleman recognized that there really was a problem and started working his way back from the house.

He found a stray piece of cable attached to my feed and disconnected it. (I'm a real engineer and I understood why this was a problem when he explained what he found and what his measurements showed) The "margin" and signal strength immediately went up and I haven't lost service once since December, so I'm a happy boy.

So the service, at least at "low speed" is solid, and as long as I don't need support, I'm satisfied. I suppose that my tech support experience is pretty typical of everyone's when they have a problem that isn't a simple in-house connection or setup issue. You just gotta keep at 'em.

March 2013

Wow! It's been a long time. Service went from good to bad to good again several times over the years. This past summer was particularly bad, and after about 2 months of very low speeds or failure to connect to the DSL host at all (which they didn't charge me for) they finally figured out that the problems were on their end, and after switching me to a succession of different ports, the last one being in a different building, it was finally working as well as ever.

During this period when technicians were coming to my house weekly and not finding any problems at this end, I was told by a couple of them that the copper in this area was in very bad shape and that the company refused to update it, hoping to get everyone on fiber. I apparently was one of a few holdouts. They said they were making deals with legacy customers, which I asked about and they best they could come up with was a $10 discount off the $60/month Internet + voice service. I told them where they could put it.

However, the rate, which was $15/month for several years crept up to $20 and they were about to raise it to $25. I complained that my income (I'm a retired bum) hasn't gone up 20% this year. They offered me the same "deal" and I told them again where to put it. Eventually, the guy from customer service came up with a $40/month discount off the 1.3 mbps Internet and 5 cents per minute anywhere in US and Canada voice service. The total, allowing for about 2 hours of phone per month (I really don't use the phone very much) was actually about $5 less than what I was currently paying for the DSL + message unit phone (a dime for a local call plus long distance rates outside the local area). So I took the plunge.

FiOS has been here for a week now. Download speed is measurably faster, about double what I had before but not noticeably faster for what I do. Upload speed is about 4x what I had, and that's enough to notice. The phone sounds good, and everything's been stable so far.

Like most FiOS users, I'm concerned about extended power outages since it's powered by AC with a backup battery good for up to 8 hours. At the moment, I'm trying to find out (so I can get the right part the first time) the actual size of the coaxial power connector for an external battery that's on the power supply. Verizon doesn't know. CyberPower who made the power unit says "we made that for Verizon and they support it, not us." - in other words, they know, but they won't tell me due to their contract with Verizon.

I've had similar responses trying to get more in depth information about the routers that they've sent me over the years for DSL.

But what can I say? It's cheap. I've updated the worst/best ratings at the top of the page based on the switch to FiOS. It's too new to assess reliability yet.

member for 9.6 years, 237 visits, last login: 30 days ago
updated 2 years ago