Review by DHRacer
Good "Speeds within package spec"
- Location: Lake Arrowhead,San Bernardino,CA
- Cost: $20 per month (12 month contract)
- Install: about 30 days
Bad "Installation was a pain, various depts don't know what the other depts are doing, Customer Service sucks and a total run-around"
Overall "Once you go from potential customer to a paying customer, don't bother to expect individual service on issues"
|Pre Sales information:|
Value for money:
(ratings below consensus)
Original Review: (See below for updates)
This is a review of Verizon Online, (really Verizon West - ex GTE). I had a review of Verizon West but I didn't want to add to that review since it was for a totally different location I don't live in any more and I felt a clean slate review would be better.
Ok, so I was tired of Charter Pipeline's goofy pricing and price hikes so Verizon was offering a sweet bundling deal with the prices up front (unlike Charter who won't tell you anything up front). So I signed up with Verizon Online DSL (no FIOS here probably ever), Verizon Home Phone, and was able to bundle my pre-exisitng DirecTV into my Verizon Online bill, AND bundle my Verizon Wireless cell bill. This was sort of a quadruple-play even though DTV isn't really a Verizon service. But my bill overall for all services had gotten cheaper, which is the ultimate goal at this point. Yes I did have to sign up for a year contract, but only for a year. If at the end, I really miss Charter, or my finances improve, I might switch back, but who knows if Charter isn't going to get bought in a year by Time Warner or something.
Anyway, installation was a total nightmare, but only because my house had a drop previously but was cut down by the previous owner when they remodeled and didn't have it put back. So Verizon swore up and down that I already had the drop from the pole but it took me taking pictures of the cut wire hanging from the pole to convince them otherwise. So my start date came and went and I had to keep calling and try to convince the reps I needed a tech to install the drop and the demark, etc. Anyway, they eventually "credited" me for the time I'd had the start date but no service so that was nice.
As for service, the phone works (duh) but the Internet is also ok, though I have not had Verizon DSL up here before. The speeds are promised "between 4 and 7Mbps", and I get just over 5Mbps and my latency is in the 30s or just higher (still only double digits). Charter also had latency in the same range, so no improvement with DSL. Charter also had much higher speeds, but I found myself not using the speeds all that much as I really only play a MMORPG every once in awhile now instead of constantly using my computer like I had years ago.
To sum up, Verizon up here seems decent, but we haven't had a winter yet. That will reallly stress the copper infrastructure up here so I will give the review now, but I may have to update it if winter changes my service experience any.
Update, February 2011:
So I started line quality tests and speed tests in earnest shortly after I figured the initial line conditioning was done by Verizon.
I found that I have pretty severe packet loss, based on line quality tests on this site, and they've been this way since October of last year.
So I started a Verizon support ticket on this site, which was good initially. They are helpful here for first contact and getting past the inane tech troubleshooting. However, that's about the limit, as everything following that is handled by the rest of Verizon once it is handed off.
While my package was 4-7M down, I was getting 5M which I figured was good for my area, but I also found that I have a hard time streaming anything, or playing online games as the packets dropped make for a less than desired experience.
Anyway as part of the Verizon work, they switched my circuit which made no difference. This was followed by a Verizon Line Tech which came to my house and actually verified I should be getting closer to 7M than the 5M I was seeing as the signals at the NID were good enough for at least 6.5M. So the tech replaced the NID with a new one that included a fliter in the NID to clean up the modem connection. He ran some additional tests on my laptop and I noticed I was now getting 6.5M down and my up went from about .7 to .9M. However, he also told me the modem was using 85% of the line bandwidth just talking to the CO equipment. He told me to call Billing and get my package lowered to 5M as he felt that should allow the modem to lower its bandwidth to the 70-75% range which should improve the line quality issues.
So I called Billing, and was told that I couldn't just lower my plan to 5M. They had to select a speed range. Fair enough, so I told the lady that I wanted 4M-5M. She said she put the change order in and I had to wait until midnight, then reboot the modem and test again. The bad news was if this didn't fix it, then the only lower I could go in speed would be the 1M-3M package, but the good news the price wasn't going to change. I told the lady I'd rather cancel my service than get stuck with speeds from Year 2000, especially when, despite Charter's pricing hijinks, I could get over 8M for the base tier with them. As it is the VZ line quality issues are barely making this HSI worth the price and lowering my speeds that drastically to fix it would really suck.
So I wait past midnight to the next morning, reboot the modem and test again. No change in speed, no change in line quality issues.
So when I got home from work, I called VZ again, but hey, VZ's California billing department is only open from 8a-9p EST which doesn't do me any good if I called after 6pm PST. However, the tech support guy I talked to about the existing change order did note that the change order was done improperly (as it did not code it to include "HBI Affected" as this order would require a tech to actually make changes to the CO circuit. He also said I'd have to calling billing, the same department that had screwed this up the first time to have them try and do it right again.
So I'm stuck waiting another day to involve billing and hope they can get it right this time. And I'm really hoping that going down to 4M-5M solves this issue or I'm going to have to decide to quit VZ and go back to Charter, even if I have to break contract.
So, in all, this Verizon experience is a lot like the "grass is greener on the other side of the fence" pitfall where it only looks that way until you jump that fence and see that it is either the same or worse than where you were.
So to all of you up here looking to decide on Verizon or Charter, if you can afford Charter's roller coaster pricing and it doesn't bother you, go with Charter. They don't have the speed and line quality issues Verizon apparently is having with the old copper plant up here, and with FIOS nowhere in sight, and a possible sale of this area to some other company looming (Frontier, possibly according to VZ tech scuttlebutt), Verizon would be worth your dollars only if your home was a vacation home and that some cheap form of HSI is all you need, regardless of the speed.
I'll update again once I get this plan reduction straight with Verizon and can test and report back on the results.
So I updated the Tech support by dropping it down a notch for the fact that it takes so many different people, departments, phone calls etc to get something simple like a change order done. Probably the drawback of such a large and highly segmented company.
I am also dropping the Connection reliability way down due to the ongoing line quality issues and I lowered the Value for the money a notch since while $20 isn't a horrible price for 7M/1M, I'm not getting it, not likely to ever get better speeds in the future (something Charter does do as they bump their tiers fairly often even for up here) and who knows if Verizon sells us off to some other company (like Frontier) who is going to drive people to Charter like rats off a sinking ship...
Despite the Line Tech telling me I can call billing and get my modem re-provisioned to 4M-5M to solve my line qualitiy issues, billing said they were a two button operation and I was told by billing that I cannot do anything other than 4-7 or 1-3 speed ranges. And if I changed to 1-3M, that would be changing my bundle and therefore cause me to re-up my contract. Trying to explain that I wasn't changing because I wanted to but because I was trying to troubleshoot service issues didn't even make a dent in these robots.
In addition, I was told that according to billing, all the service I was supposed to get based on my line was 1M anyway, which was wierd because the Line Tech at my house checked signals at my NID and said I should see 6.5M. Now if I had to turn the speed down to 1M to get my line quality issues to go away? I'm not going to stick with Verizon for 1M service when I can get anything from Charter for maybe $10 more.
Since I didn't want to get dinged for a new contract by dropping my package and only to try and solve line quality issues that may or may not go away, I'm dropping Verizon instead. So, in a month, I'll be a Charter customer again and I'll be cutting that Verizon phone line off my house.
Oh well, I tried to make things work with Verizon, but I don't have the desire to troubleshoot my DSL line daily, spend hours on the phone on hold or fighting to get seperate departments to agree to anything, or putting up with sub-par service when Charter works (I had it before) and for the money, I'd rather have peace of mind that I can just use the internet and not manage it daily.
So I dropped the ratings again since this service is worthless.
Final Update, Feb 2011: Called Charter and set up porting my home phone back to them and setup install of 12/1 HSI service and phone. Install was offered 4 days after I called and they guy showed up on time. Install went smooth and HSI from charter works! As a result of the home phone port-back, Verizon auto-cancelled my phone service, leaving me with a dry-loop DSL service. Due to the loss of the bundle, VZ notified me my non-working 5/768 DSL was going to cost $64 a month... Haha, no thanks. so I cancelled that after I was satisfied my Charter service was stable (about 3 days later). See ya Verizon! I won't ever switch back unless FIOS shows up, and I think a sell of this area to some other provider is more likely...
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updated 2.7 years ago