Posts Tagged ‘Fios’


Verizon FIOS Is A Big Giant FAIL!!!

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Woke up early this morning to find my Internet service was down. Ahh yes, it’s Verizon FIOS. Called a tech support number only to have a voice prompt menu attempt to diagnose my router for me. Eventually got through to a human who told me that this was a planned outage for maintenance!!! He was apologetic on the phone, and said that they usually try to do those while people are sleeping. I told him that I’m paying for 24/7 service, and that he owed me a credit. He said he couldn’t handle it, but would transfer me to billing, which he did. And then Billing actually told me that they couldn’t handle my request, because THE OUTAGE AFFECTED THEM TOO! Somehow, it didn’t stop the tech support guy from looking up my account however…

You know, there are people with night tech support jobs who work from home, for whom 24/7 service is a matter of absolute necessity. How dare they think they can just turn the Internet off on their customers, without recompense or even A LITTLE WARNING!!!!

Thank god I have a wireless hotspot from Clear. That is how I’m posting this now. But shame on Verizon. I will be calling back later to demand my credit. You should too.


Net Neutrality and the Wireless Non-Alternative

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

So the FCC went ahead and did what they’d previously been told they don’t have the authority to do, which is to regulate the Internet and declare Net Neutrality the law of the land, apparently against the wishes of lawmakers on both sides of the isle. Much has been written about this, and I’ll provide a bevy of links at the end of this blog post. But the best on the subject has been Bob Cringely, who writes:

The short story of what’s happening at the FCC is that the agency is trying to grab power over the Internet and to make that happen is paying-off any number of constituencies. With everything eventually going onto the net as a data service, the FCC wants to avoid irrelevancy, so this is how they are doing it with the help of Google and Verizon. Net neutrality partisans appear willing to accept more oversight if it comes with guarantees against packet throttling. And phone companies are willing to accept broader restrictions if they can still throttle or introduce tiered charges on their only networks that matter anymore — wireless.

It’s regulatory capture at its finest. Agency with no authority gets sanction from major incumbents to be the authority in exchange for exemptions for their own rotten practices and a promise to help keep out would-be competitors.

I’d expect no less from our country’s broadband suppliers.

What’s more interesting to me is that Clear, the new WiMax service from Sprint has arrived in my neighborhood. Given my endless problems with getting FIOS installed and my loathing of Comcast, I figured I’d check out Clear’s offerings after getting a flyer from them in the mail. Moreover, every right of center commentator tries saying that adequate competition in broadband exists, or will soon exist because of the likes of 4G wireless services. SO here it was, that very 4G service in my own neighborhood. So why not check it out? Care to guess what their home WiMax speed maxes out at (WiMax being a service that is supposed to max out at 1Gps for stationary objects in ideal conditions)?

That’s right, 3Mbps.

To be precise, “You will experience the fastest download speeds available on our network at your time of usage. Based on internal speed tests of CLEAR network users, download speeds average around 3-6.0 Mbps with bursts up to 10 Mbps.” Great (I get 20Mbps on my cable modem). 3-6 Mbps is not much faster than a DSL line. Which, incidentally, the FCC classifies as broadband. So I suppose according to the technical definitions of the FCC there’s competition, but from a practical standpoint, wireless isn’t competitive with wired at all.

So I suppose this next congress will slap the FCC down, or maybe even abolish it entirely. They don’t seem to be taking kindly to having had their power usurped.

In any event, there’s plenty to read on the subject, if you’re interested. In no particular order:


Verizon FIOS Part 1 Zillion

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010


I suppose it’s time for an update on my adventures with attempting to get Verizon FIOS installed in my house. As you may or may not recall, I ditched cable tv some time ago. I later decided to switch my Internet connection to FIOS, over my current provider, Comcast. Verizon insisted on looking at my credit report, which I refused to let them do, but eventually they let me make a deposit to retain my privacy. They set an install date, which they couldn’t keep, moving my installation to the end of the summer. And that’s where I left my story.

So the date they had selected to do the installation wasn’t going to work for me, so I called to reschedule for a few weeks later. On September 11, the guy shows up, and was very friendly. He first said he needed to go look at the hookup in the manhole across the street (the power and cable lines are buried where I live, instead of being on telephone polls). He came back and told me that somebody had screwed something up in the manhole, and that he needed to call a crew in to come and fix it, which he did. And in the meantime, he installed the fiber into my house, and got the box inside ready to go.

After finishing his in-house install work, he told me that the work in the manhole was not going well, and that they may need to reschedule. About two hours later, he confirmed that this was in fact the case. He said engineers needed to come out and fix the work that was previously messed up. He apologized, and said someone would call me to reschedule.

After about a week, nobody called me, so I called Verizon, who told me that engineering “Keeps to themselves” and that the rep had no idea when the issue might be fixed. He told me to try back again in about a week. About two weeks after that, Verizon called me to reschedule the installation, which we did on November 6. The Verizon tech came into my house, saw that everything was hooked up. I explained to him what had previously transpired, and he went back out to the manhole to confirm that the engineers had done their job.

They had not. Or rather, they screwed things up in a different way.

The tech apologized to me and told me he was calling an emergency crew off a job in Woburn to come out here to fix the problem, since this had been the second time they had attempted to install (not including the original spring install date I’d been given) and the problem had not been fixed. The Woburn crew came out and again, explained that the problem was too big for them to fix, and that the engineers needed to come out to fix the problem. So I said “whatever” and sent the tech on his way.

So yesterday I received two calls from two phone numbers that showed no caller IDs and that Google came up blank on. As you may have guessed, the calls were from Verizon looking to install FIOS. Why Verizon can’t identify themselves in caller ID is beyond me. Anyhow, they followed up the call with the following email to me:


Unfortunately, we did not install your FiOS service at the time of your original appointment. We attempted to call you to reschedule your order,MA00055820521, but have been unable to reach you.

Please allow us to contact you to discuss the order or to reschedule installation appointment. You won’t be disappointed. There is nothing like FiOS; fiber optics straight to your door providing the best entertainment experience, the most innovation, the fastest internet all at an amazing value.

> Unlimited Calling, FiOS Internet and FiOS TV – 100% digital powered cutting edge fiber optic technology
> That’s unlimited calling, FiOS Internet, and Digital Entertainment for one low price without the hassle of switching companies!

We value your business so please email us today with a new installation date that is convenient for you.

Thank you for allowing us to serve your communication and entertainment needs

Uh huh. I love how the marketing message stuck in the middle is COMPLETELY WRONG as well. I’m not a current Verizon customer, and I have no interest in cable tv or telephone services.

Anyhow, the question is, do I bother with this or not? What’s the likelihood that they actually got this shit fixed this time around? I’m guessing that it will be a repeat of the last two times, but you never know. And then there’s this:

Level 3 has accused Comcast of demanding fees to transfer data from Level 3’s backbone to Comcast customers. Level 3 describes this as “Internet online movies and other content,” which would mean everything, even though it’s calling out movies. Level 3 signed a deal on November 11th to act as one of Netflix’s primary network providers. In October, Internet monitoring service Sandvine said Netflix streaming represents 20 percent of all U.S. Internet non-mobile bandwidth use during prime-time hours.

At least Ivan Seidenberg, CEO of Verizon, has acknowledged that the era of buying cable TV from a Cable TV company is fading, and that in the future, all they’ll be selling is Internet service. But Comcast really seems intent on screwing everybody in their path. I may have to call Verizon back just because of that. But I’m open to suggestions.

What do you think?


Verizon Part V

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Meant to post this earlier, but as expected, Verizon delayed their installation date, BY THE ENTIRE SUMMER!!!

Dear Robert Sama:

We can’t wait to bring you blazing-fast FiOS Internet and an overall experience that will blow you away! This e-mail confirms your revised installation appointment for Verizon FiOS Internet Service.

* Scheduled Installation Date – 08-31-2010
* Scheduled Appointment Time – 8:00AM-12:00PM(Hrs)EST
* Product Package – Verizon FiOS Internet Service
* Verizon FiOS Internet Service Order Number – XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Don’t forget to visit What’s Next to learn everything you need to know to have a successful FiOS installation! We look forward to revolutionizing your home with Verizon FiOS.

Please don’t hesitate to call our customer service support center at 1-888-553-1555 should you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you for your order.




Verizon FIOS Part IV

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

So I decided to wade back into the swamp and attempt to order FIOS from Verizon again. Last time they wouldn’t accept my order because I refused to give them my social security number. This time they accepted a workaround.

I got on the Verizon chat line with someone named “Upton,” who directed me through the sign-up process. The most interesting thing he said was that I shouldn’t spend too much time reading the legal agreement because the sign-up process would time out if I did. I roughly skimmed it in time, but it’s interesting to note that Verizon instructs their representatives and evidently designs their software to hurry you past the contract you’re agreeing to (that in addition to putting it in an unnaturally small window).

So this time, the sign-up process again said I didn’t need to give my social, and I could also decline to have them look at my credit report. They offered to have me answer questions about myself gleaned from somewhere, but I declined, as I suspected it was from my father’s credit report as mine was locked down and I already told them I didn’t want them looking at my credit report.

This was followed by an email from Verizon instructing me to send in one piece of photo identification and one piece of non-photo identification to a fax number along with a form. The funny thing is that the form had one fax number on it and the email had another. Genius. So I sent in a photocopy of my drivers license and a paper copy of my electric bill to both fax numbers. A few days passed and I heard nothing.

So I called the number on the Verizon email to follow up. It turns out that they had indeed received my paperwork, everything was in order. And the woman on the phone asked me if I was aware that a deposit was required because I hadn’t given them access to my credit report. I informed her no, and she told me that it was $125 deposit for Internet, but had I ordered television service, it would have been $400. Unbelievable.

This, after they claimed that the purpose of looking at my credit report was to determine if I actually lived there.

Now I can see why they want a credit report/deposit if they’re putting a cable box in your home, but for Internet service it’s just silly. Besides, they’re requiring me to pay with a credit card, so they’re not really extending me any credit which needs to be secured with a deposit!!! Extending credit is what the credit card company does. Whatever. I told them fine since it’s not much money. I just think it’s interesting that the apparent price for your privacy is the carried interest on $125.

So they come out to install on May 1, which I realized is when I’m throwing a Cinquo de Mayo party that evidently nobody is coming to. Whatever. If people are there I’ll send Verizon man into the basement to do the install while we eat burritos and stuff.

UPDATE: So one of the ancillary benefits of this FIOS Internet service is I supposedly get access to Verizon’s wi-fi hot spots. Unfortunately, their hotspots are rather useless to me:

Verizon Wi-Fi is not available for PDAs, phones, desktop PCs or Macs.

Uh huh, so forget about using your shiny new iPad with Verizon’s hotspots. Should I assume that it works with Linux though, since they don’t say otherwise?

Switching to Fios
Ordering Verizon FIOS, Part II
No Fios For Me


No Fios For Me

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Go here and here for background.

So the supervisor from Verizon called me back. I explained to her that the sign-up system said it wanted to verify my identity, not run a credit check. So I was confused as to why they were attempting to run a credit check on me, particularly for such small dollar amounts. She told me that they do it to verify my identity. I told her that I wasn’t applying for credit, and she claimed that on the sign-up form online it says you are applying for credit, which if it’s true I missed it. I told her that I didn’t need credit, that I was willing to pre-pay for the account. I explained to her I was willing to go into a Verizon store and show my identification to prove that I’m me. None of this was acceptable to her. She said that everyone needs to go through this process, even if they are pre-paying!!!

I’d like to diverge here and tell you about Hassey Landscaping. I hire Hassey to mow my lawn during the summer months. He charges me $35/week for this service. That’s twice as much per month as Verizon wants for their mid-tier Fios service. When Hassey started doing my lawn, he did so on a handshake, no contract or anything. I asked him how he’d like to get paid and he shrugged, telling me he’d bill me. Which he did, once, at the end of the summer. And guess what? I paid him.

Hassey was able to extend me twice as much credit as Verizon not because Hassey knows me or anything. Not because Hassey ran credit checks on me. Or because I paid him a deposit. But because Hassey knows where I live, because he could stop cutting my lawn if I didn’t pay up, and because even if I didn’t pay up, the risk to his operation is minimal. If only Verizon knew how to think that way.

Back to my call with the supervisor, I told her that she lost the opportunity to gain a new customer. It’s too bad really, I was really looking forward to the service.

Oh, and just in case you think I’m being a little nuts here, I want to let you know that giving your credit report to your ISP is an extraordinary thing. Your ISP knows every website you go to, sees every bit that passes in and out of your home. Matched up to your credit report, your ISP likely knows more about you than anybody on the planet. Moreover, Verizon and Yahoo are refusing to disclose the number of requests that are made through the Patriot Act for information on their customers.

One can only assume that the correlation of one’s credit report to one’s internet usage is required for nefarious purposes, especially since the credit risk to Verizon is so low, especially since they declined my offer to prepay my account and show them a government issued ID. I suppose I’m better off without the service. OTOH, who knows what Comcast has on me. They probably ran a credit report on me before I signed up for Debix. Seems like there’s no winning out there…


Ordering Verizon FIOS, Part II

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Go here for background.

So I received an email from Verizon telling me I needed to call in to verify my identity. I called in and got a woman on the phone in short order. She explained to me that they needed to verify my identity, and that I was under no obligation to give them my SS#. That was good, so she asked me permission to look at some Experian database to verify my identity. I told her to go ahead. This is where things get interesting.

She told me that I had a fraud alert put on my account, which I do. It’s from the company Debix. It’s a service I pay for to make sure that unauthorized people do not have access to my credit report. So Verizon wasn’t verifying my identity. They wanted to see my credit report. But they wouldn’t acknowledge this. I told her that she didn’t need my credit report to verify my identity, and that that wasn’t the proper way to verify my identity in the first place. I explained to her that I own the property, and that can be easily verified online with the register of deeds by visiting

She responded by saying she didn’t have Internet access.

I tried to ask her why my credit card number and billing address, which match the location where service is to be installed, is not enough. She didn’t have an answer, other than to repeat that I hadn’t verified my identity. I asked her why she needed to verify my identity. I tried to explain to her that I spent more at Amazon this Christmas season than I will spend with Verizon in a whole year, and with Amazon I shipped goods all over the country. Yet Amazon doesn’t require my SS# or run credit checks on me. After all, I gave them a valid credit card number, and am able to verify the billing address. She didn’t seem to get my point, but she offered to have a supervisor call me back, which I accepted.

In any event, I recorded the conversation on my iPhone while having her on speakerphone. I’ll post it later. But my guess is I’m not going to wind up getting Fios.


Switching To Fios

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Some time ago, I wrote about how I am one of millions of Americans with no choice in Broadband service provider. That has just changed, as Verizon now offers FIOS. This is excellent news, as I intend to ditch Comcast as they are nothing less than evil incarnate (post to come later on them).

Nevertheless, FIOS doesn’t make it easy to switch, for reasons that absolutely baffle me. First off, their online sign-up process requires you give them your social security number. They provide a button saying “Why do we need this” but when you click on it, they assure you it’s for your protection, so that nobody else opens up a Verizon account in your name. That is absolutely absurd on multiple levels. Verizon will be coming to my house, which is registered with the recorder of deeds in my name, to hook up service that the Town of Belmont acknowledges belongs to me. Upon coming to my house, they have every opportunity to inspect my drivers license, passport, or other government issued identification to satisfy themselves that I am who I say I am. So what gives?

In any event, you can decline to give them your social, but they say your installation will be delayed as a result. Fine with me. They’re the ones who want my business after all.

Next up comes their service agreement, which they want you to agree to after refusing to give your social security number to them. The agreement is 9,222 words of dense legalese. I’m going to post the entire thing after the fold, but it’s worth noting that they present this contract in a window that is 50 characters across by ten lines tall. Try reading a brief email in a window so small. I cut and pasted the entire thing into Word so I could read it better. And I suppose I’ll abandon my cart and start over again at some point because this will take me a while to read through and digest.

What I don’t understand is why they would want to make it so difficult for someone to sign up for their service? If I give them a credit card number and agree to buy at least one year’s worth of service, what else could they possibly need? Is the risk so high that I might not pay enough for the installation costs to force me to jump through these hoops? And if it is, why not just charge an installation fee and forget all the credit checks and prying into my personal information?

I’m just saying that this is no way to start out a healthy new relationship between a customer and a vendor.

UPDATE: Here’s my favorite provision, from attachment A-2, they have the right to terminate my service if I “(e) post off-topic information on message boards, chat rooms or social networking sites; (f) engage in conduct that is defamatory, fraudulent, obscene or deceptive;” Maybe I should have them review the samaBlog before entering the contract…