Your All Inclusive Guide to Cincinnati Bell Fioptics Hello all, I would like to welcome you to my all inclusive guide for Fioptics.
After a long struggle to get things installed properly at my location I learned quite a lot about the deployment of fioptics and the way the services are installed by the techs versus the way it could(and should) be installed. So my intent is to put would be customers as well as current customers in the know about what they have installed (or will have installed) in their homes and how also they can avoid the common issues and also how to resolve some of their current standing issues.
To Begin there are terms that I am going to use that might confuse you but the remedy to that is to explain them here so that we are on the same page once you start reading through this.
Different types of fiber Deployments and their Environment uses:
FTTN(Fiber to the Node/Neighborhood) -Residential-(Most Common)
FTTC(Fiber to the Curb) -Might be used Residentially-
FTTP(Fiber to the pole/Premise)-Business-
FTTH(Fiber to the Home)-Residential-(common)
there are others but i have decided to leave them off as they are out of scope for this guide.
ONT (Optical Network Terminal)-On the side of your home- +Your Modem+
STB (Set Top Box)-The box you use to watch TV-
IPTV (Internet Protocol TV)
MOCA (Converts Ethernet Cable to Coaxial Cable)
List of Complaints that will be discussed:
Freeze Frames on Video
Not getting advertised speeds
Customer Service Issues
Fioptics router is not supported for bridge mode.
Common Sense Section:
There are some things that you should know in this world of technology and Telecom networking that you may have not been told and probably wont be told as a subscriber. First, You will not in most cases ever get your full advertised speeds and its not because companies are gouging you or lying to you, its because there are a lot of factors that define a person bandwidth such as distance(Attenuation) from the server/Node, Line quality, Network Design, and Equipment Quality and Configuration. Those are the main variables that determine a customers network speed and to be honest Distance is leader of those variables.
Things to consider Section during use or before use:
Cincinnati Bell is a SMALL FRY in a Pond full of BIG fish (TWC,Comcast,Etc), with that being said Money becomes a big factor in how things are organized and what decisions are made. So, you have to consider a couple of things A: Deployment of services to your area most likely is going to be slow. B Mistakes will be made in regards to the implementation of said neighborhood services. The reason for this is that any time a company jumps into a new environment/Market (granted C-bell has been doing DSL-broadband for a while) there is going to be some learning involved from the mistakes they make. C-bell Started Deployment of Fioptics residentially a Little over 5 years ago so compared to TWC who has been in the advanced broadband game for 20 years expect things to not go as smooth for C-bell. The upside to this is that the cost of service Vs the competition for me at least is like night and day (50 Bucks). 50/10(more upload)w/TV
Another Topic to consider is the Equipment used because again money plays a big factor in this sink or swim market. I have firsthand knowledge (from a good friend inside) that C-bell has a big contract with ZTE (Chinese Company) to use their equipment for C-Bell's Residential services. The equipment includes the router and the STB box and if you check the Model Number you will find that it is indeed a ZTE product. As you all know, mostly all products that are made in china are crap. If you cant trust simple household item such as a blow dryer to work right, you are most certainly are not going to trust a router or STB to work correctly and to remind you, this is the equipment that you are paying a rental fee for on a monthly basis.
Standard installation of this service from an FTTH Perspective:
If you are FTTH:
[Fiber Segment] Telephone Pole>ONT> [Ethernet Segment] Ethernet Cable> ZTE Router>[From Router]Computer(wireless/Wired)>[From Router]MOCA>STB for TV Viewing.
If you are FTTH (without MOCA):
[Fiber Segment] Pole>ONT> [Ethernet Segment] Ethernet Cable> ZTE Router>[From Router]Computer(wireless/Wired)>[From Router]Ethernet to LAN port Directly on STB
If you have existing Time Warner Cable installation coax cables then the C-Bell techs will in some case use the coaxial cables already at the home to install service.
As you can see your service hinges upon the ZTE router doing its job effectively
Ideal installation design for this service:
When i had my service installed the install-tech did not understand how i wanted to have the equipment installed although at the time I did not know some of the essential important information as I do now.
So this is the best practice for installation of this service for optimal quality/performance from both video and internet.
-Router that does IPTV: I use/cherish my RT-AC66U which is a $200 router. Now you don't have to spend that much but you are going to need a router that can handle the IPTV protocol
-A long Ethernet cable if not supplied by the Cincinnati Bell rep.
What you are shooting for with your install is to have the ONT box Ethernet cable go directly to your own router(that you bought). That router should supports IPTV and your router will connect directly to your STB and provide your TV service. That method is how the freezing and halting of TV channels stop completely because again your not using their equipment that is made in china. Provided your router configurations are correct you should not see any speed drops outside of the norm. If you do see speed issues with this setup then its a good chance that fi-optics is to blame.
Re: Your All Inclusive Guide to Cincinnati Bell Fioptics I don't really have a problem with their service (I've been pretty happy with it so far).
It's when I have to talk to a person there that things go sideways... Even with simple requests, they end up messing up my account, canceling service, changing my bill, etc, when they shouldn't. The installers always seem to be friendly and relatively knowledgeable. My two complaints are:
1) The routers they 'rent' to you are not very good. I previously had 50mbps Fioptics, and was given a 54mbps wireless g router that wouldn't work at the speeds I payed for via wireless, and crashed when making simple configuration changes.
2) Customer service is poor. The problem isn't with getting routed to overseas call centers, etc. I honestly don't care who I talk to, as long as I can hold a coherent conversation with me, and they can actually help. No one seems to be cross-trained, so simple requests result in multiple transfers, and me explaining the situation to each person.
Re: Cincinnati Bell or Time Warner for internet service?
said by JimMcCoy:So high profit margins are a legitimate excuse for offering crappy pricing? The customer base is what keeps these companies alive. The promotional pricing is attractive, which is why they offer it to get new users on board. However, their customer acquisition and retention rates would increase if they had these promotional prices as the "everyday low price". If companies can't stay afloat without nickel and diming their customers there is a serious problem.
"Attractive" price = less revenue (i.e. net profit). Equipment, maintainance, employee costs are not permanantly "attractive" so why should the cost to the consumer be?
Lack of real competition has been evident over the years. We're probably lucky to see the pricing we do here (there's been at least a modicum of competition between CBT and TWC thankfully, even more so now that CBT has fiber). The pricing could and should be much better though. It's unfortunate there isn't a third player here to help shake things up. With only two players it always results in both of them falling into the comfy bed of screwing their customer bases over in lockstep.
Photos By Greg Strong
Re: Cincinnati Bell or Time Warner for internet service?
said by TBBroadband:People use "Fios" as a general term for fiber. It's just one of those things. CBT's fiber here is called Fioptics. They've lumped both the FTTH and FTTN ("last mile" DSL) products under the same name (unfortunately).
CB doesn't have FiOS to them. No state in the Midwest has FiOS Ft. Wayne has fiber but its not by VZ.
Photos By Greg Strong
Re: Cincinnati Bell or Time Warner for internet service? It's become a colloquial term a lot of people use to describe fiber service. I never said it was right (and I like how you lay it out like I don't know what the FiOS brand is... :facepalm:). It happens all the time though. Big brand names become general terms to describe similar or identical products (like saying Q-tips instead of cotton swabs). Don't delude yourself into thinking Americans are the only people who do that.
Photos By Greg Strong
·Time Warner Cable
Made the switch and so far so good So I gave up on Time warner. Was having issues with them and their services were constantly going out for me lately. My rates have gone up and the quality has gone down. Was paying for 20meg but was only consistently getting about 9-10meg. They pulled new RG-11 to the house and still no help.
As for the fioptics, it was a longer than expected install but I will say the technician was the best I have had in my home for this kind of service. I have had dish, direct and time warner and this guy by far was the best. He explained things to me as well as allowed me to set things up a bit as I am an IT Professional and have some special setups at the house. I opted for 4 tvs, whole home dvr, and 20 meg internet. That is all I can get given that we have FTTN. May consider getting a second stream to get more services but that will be determined later.
The internet has been rock solid at just at 19.5-20meg down which is great. Latency on the wired connections is around 20ms, again excellent. TV has been good as well. I have not had any real issues with the signal or picture. The HD quality is the best I have seen due to the technology.
So for me, saving money and getting what I am paying for is worth the switch. I will update as time goes and I get a better feel for the services.
Also, the sales process was exceptional. If you are considering fioptics, PM me and I can provide you with the reps name and number and if you use me as a referral it will save us both some money for 10 months on top of any promo's, etc. She was honest with me and didn't let me get more than they can provide me. I originally wanted 30meg internet but she told me based on the information in the system what my max bandwidth would be and what services I could then get and actually use them. Top notch in my book.
Re: new dsl modem fee The same notice ("Effective February 3, 2014, a monthly modem fee of $1.99 will be billed to your account") is on my latest Cincinnati Bell bill. I, too, am on their (grandfathered) 'Priced for Life' program. Today (1/24/14) I called the indicated contact number and was told that despite my being 'Priced for Life', the new monthly modem fee WILL apply to me. The rep said that the 'Priced for Life' program applies to services, but not to equipment. I replied that I knew that, but I also told the rep that I would have no functioning ZoomTown SERVICE without a modem. Thus, the new modem fee is a fraudulent and deceptive way to raise the price of the ZoomTown service, despite the fact that no service increases are permitted under the terms of Cincinnati Bell's 'Price for Life' program.
The rep said she understood why I felt that way. Despite that, though, the monthly $1.99 modem charge will begin with my next bill.
My Experience with Cincinnati Bell (New Service) NOTE: I apologize for the length of this message, but I figured some of the details might be useful to some people (and it's a great way to vent).
I could write a book with all of my previous bad experiences with Cincinnati Bell, but I'll focus on my most recent experience in this post. In my experience, getting service and repairs is a nightmare, but their service is pretty solid once it's working.
-- Purchasing Service --
Moved into an apartment and decided to go with Cincinnati Bell Fioptics (dsl version) since it was the cheapest, and I've typically received pretty solid speeds from them. Used online chat to talk to someone, mentioned the price from Time Warner, and they beat it (by $2). Said I needed a few days to think about it, and I'd call back in a week or two. I was reassured that the offer would still be available, and was given a direct number (+1 for Cincinnati Bell).
A few days later, I decided to go with Cincinnati Bell for sure, and called the person up. Left a message, and never heard back until about 5 days later (after I successfully signed up for service). I decided to call the main number, and use them to sign up for service so I could get it in the system and activated sooner. Talked to someone who said they could offer the same deal, and quickly verified the details (free installation, $32.98 / month including the modem), etc. I called after work, so it was nearing the end of the day, so I could tell the person wanted to get finished up (no hard feelings though, I'd feel the same).
We went through the process of establishing an account, I gave my ssn, she said it could be installed on Saturday, everything was fine until she got to the last step of the process. Gave me the total charge ($32.98/month), and then said their would be a one time activation fee (apparently I should have specifically asked about the activation cost, not just installation...) of $30. I pushed back, and tried to get her to remove the charge. She claimed she couldn't, and it was a standard charge of their's. I mentioned that I've setup service both at my apartment and at my parent's house, and was NEVER charge and activation or installation fee. She refused to give in, I asked to be transferred to her manager, but they apparently had all left, so I asked her to call me back the next day (and leave a message if I didn't answer since I'd be at work) after talking to her supervisor, and I'd be ready to purchase if they'd waive the activation fee.
I saw a missed call the next day from Cincinnati Bell's main number, and figured it was the previous agent I spoke to calling me back, so I called her back after work. She still insisted that they couldn't offer free activation, so I asked to be transferred to her supervisor, who might be able to waive it. I was transferred to her supervisor who insisted on re-entering the order into the system (since the previous agent apparently cancelled the order for some reason...), so I went through the process again, and then she informed me that the offer I was previously offered wasn't in their system, and shouldn't have been offered to me. I finally gave up.
Because I apparently enjoy this, I decided to give it one more try, and requested the $32.98 pricing using the online chat. The person was able to offer me the quoted price, and shipped out a self installation kit (which brings me to the next part of the story).
-- Installation --
I called and requested Cincinnati Bell move up my installation date since I had an old dsl router that might work. I got home from work, and noticed a package in front of my door from Cincinnati Bell. Since the router arrived, I decided to use it instead of my old one. The box contained a cd with an installation guide, and a modem. I followed the guide (which required me to find my old Windows machine, since that was the only OS supported), and plugged the modem into the wall, and my computer. Unfortunately the dsl light never came on, so I called up customer service, where I was transferred to 'Fioptics support'. The agent assures me that it doesn't show up as activated yet on his end, so I check my online account that confirms my order was completed at 6:05pm. He says he's not sure what I'm seeing, but he can't do anything since it shows up as not activated on his end. I ask if there's anything else he can do, to which he replies 'no'. I ask him if it'll start working at some point, and I don't get a straight answer, so I ask what I should do, to which I'm told "it's up to you".
I really wish I could say this was an atypical experience with Cincinnati Bell, but it honestly seems to be the norm.
- NO one seems to be cross trained, so being transferred is a very typical experience (I'm pretty sure I was transferred at least once for almost every call I made).
- Customer service is vague about pricing until the very end (oh, by the way, there is a one time charge to setup service, which isn't the installation charge).
- Customer service seems to be unable to do anything outside of the ordinary, and is unable to help if anything goes wrong.
I could go on and on with my previous bad experiences, including one where Cincinnati Bell disconnected our service inadvertently, and wasn't able to fix it for over a week (until we resorted to contacting the CEO).
Cincinnati Bell's network has never really given me issues other than 1 or 2 expected outages due to bad weather, and they are starting to build out a GREAT fiber to the home network, that will pay dividends in the future, but they really need to get their act together in the customer service department.
Cinci Bell Fioptics Rant.....Looser and I'm being very polite When we signed up we were promised no promotion pricing with the quote we got, and the caller ID on TV feature was just around the corner from being activated.......BS !
Over time the cable boxes were getting slower and slower to switch from TV to cable guide menus, not to mention all the cable box reboots every week. I really think they rolled this system out and used the public as guinea pigs to test run the system as it's surely full of problems. Screen freeze and large momentary pixals was another issue allot.
The final straw..............Got my cable bill today, said promotions ending, it went up $30 a month.....BS again. Called several times after we signed up asking about caller ID on the TV, reply was, it's not even on our radar screen to implement into our system. Now you figure why a phone company can't implement caller ID.....BS again !
After I got my bill today I pulled the plug on Fioptics and moving onto Direct TV to what I was paying when I first signed up with Cinci Bell. I might add while I'm on my rant, their customer service sucks as well. Does anybody other than me think there hiding their contact phone numbers, they sure don't make then easy to find and when you do find the one you need, you call and get a busy signal....."REALLY".....LMAO.....and all this is from a "PHONE COMPANY", what a freak'n joke. I feel sorry for my neighbors who switched shortly after I did because I did, they probably won't talk to me any more.........
Word to the wise, shop else where as it's not a bargain like you may think. TWC wasn't any better, matter of fact they were $8 higher than the new inflated bill I had gotten and there cable outage percentage was even worse.
(FTTN) I want to throw this ZTE modem out the window (port forwarding) Hello all. I'm not sure why Cincinnati Bell decided that this dreadful modem was the one they were going to deploy, but it is what it is.
My main problem is port forwarding for my security cameras. With TWC, we had a customer owned cable modem + Apple Airport Extreme (wireless N). The airport handled all the DHCP, DNS, routing, wireless, and port forwarding flawlessly. Never once had any issue at all. Now, the tech gets to our house, plugs up the ZTE router and I get a "double NAT" warning from the airport. I ask the tech to put it in to bridge mode so I wouldn't have to mess with the settings in the ZTE router... he just shrugs and says "well, it seems like you know more about this than I do" and leaves. So for the last week, I've been trying to figure out how to forward ports on the ZTE. Under "virtual NAT" I see something that LOOKS like port forwarding, but I can never get it to work. I try one of each interface and all three at once, resetting the modem each time. No luck. I'm at wits end because I'm about to leave for a couple weeks and I NEED these cameras to work.
So, as it stands today, my options are to 1) beg TWC to have me back, 2) figure out how to get this ZTE modem in to bridge mode and use my airport like always, 3) find another router that works with IGMP. If possible, please let me know what routers are confirmed to work well with Fioptics. I would prefer to stick with Apple if possible, but I cannot find any information on if the new wireless AC unit will do IGMP...
Thanks all for your help and support
First Impressions with Fioptics Internet and TV So far so good, although we have only had it for a couple of days now. We were to get fiber all the way from the pole to the house, and had the option for the 100 MBs download. We got the 20 MBs and get pretty close to those speeds.
We switched from Time Warner after they sent a nice letter saying our rates were going up. TW was kind enough to inform us that we should be paying close to 100% more for their services, but they would be only raising our rates by 30%. Thank you, but no.
We added a whole house DVR and overall the picture on Fioptics is as good as TW. The ability to record three shows at once is a nice upgrade to the TW HD DVR box. We didn't have the whole house DVR with TW, just one HD DVR box and a converter for a second TV.
There is some room for improvement for CB though that TW has an edge on. Hopefully these will be addressed. Still in the learning curve though, so solutions may already be out there.
1) Scrolling through the guide or DVR list, seems like there is always several seconds of the data loading.
2) You can record 3 shows at once, but you can't watch a recorded show at the same time on the main box. With the TW HD DVR, I could record 2 shows, and watch a previously recorded show. Not a biggie.
3) No quick rewind button. When fast forwarding either paused or recorded shows, would be nice to have a button to allow a quick 30 second rewind. There is one on the remote, but it functions differently.
4) Haven't figured out where or if it is possible to find a list of shows that are scheduled to be recorded.
5) The Favorites channel button. Would like to be able to hit it once and it go to the Channel, not bring up a menu/list of the favorites.
6) A list of DVR'd recordings that you can just highlight and play right away, not have to click through the file/directory menu.
I think TW is a bit slicker with their software integration and it took them lots of time to get there. Hopefully CB will get there as well. If you know of any workarounds, please let me know.