Verizon Fios Free Installation

Jump to section: Fios availability Fios technology Fios internet Fios TV Fios phone Fios installation
  1. Verizon Fios Internet Free Installation
  2. Verizon Fios Internet Free Installation
  3. Fios Internet Installation Process
  4. Verizon Fios Free Installation Code
  5. Verizon Fios Installation Process

I just moved from a house into an apartment. I previously had Verizon Fios, along with a Verizon Router that I purchased. The apartment has Fios available, including a ONT installed already. Verizon says I need a technician to install Fios. Installation of Fios can be a lengthy process. Most users report an installation time of 4-8 hours depending on the skill of the technician and the on-site conditions. Often a subcontractor for Verizon will come out before the scheduled Fios installation to bury the fiber optic cable on your property. Manuals and User Guides for Verizon FiOS TV. We have 14 Verizon FiOS TV manuals available for free PDF download: User Manual, Self-Installation Manual, Service Manual, Manual, Installation Manual, Self-Installation Instructions, Installation Instructions Manual. /r/Fios is a community for discussing and asking questions about Verizon Wireless' Fios related services. For General Information related to verizon, feel free to stop by /r/verizon. All on-topic posts will be accepted, even those which may put Verizon in a negative light. Follow Reddiquette, learn something new, and enjoy some blazing fast FiOS.

Verizon Fios is a service offered by Verizon Communications that provides high speed Internet, digital TV, and telephone service over a single fiber optic cable. The term “Fios” stands for “Fiber Optic Service”.

The idea behind Fios and fiber deployments in general is the ability to serve multiple advanced digital services through a single fiber optic connection. In the case of Verizon Fios, a single fiber optic cable can provide up to 940 Mbps Internet service, over 385 digital TV channels including 125+ HD channels plus 18,000+ titles available on demand, and an industry-leading digital voice service. Additionally, 500 Mbps+ synchronous broadband speeds are available, and it is worth noting that over 2800 monthly on demand offerings are presented in HD. While both Fios Internet and Fios TV can be ordered as standalone products, Verizon provides significant discounts to customers that bundle services.

Fios Availability

Verizon Fios is currently available in parts of California, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Washington D.C. Residents of Conneticut and South Carolina have much broader access to Verizon Fios service than residents of other states, so long as they live within the city limits of larger towns and cities. In total, Verizon Fios is available to approximately 15.5 million premises within those states as of July 2009. This equates to about 34 percent of the households in Verizon’s wireline network footprint. Verizon has plans to keep Fios deployment on a fast track with deployment reaching over 17 million homes by the end of 2010.

In a deal announced May 13th, 2009, Frontier Communications will acquire all of Verizon’s local wireline operations in Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin, and some rural parts of California bordering Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon. This means that current Verizon customers in those states will see very little if any future Fios deployment. Instead Verizon wants to focus on it’s core Fios areas. By the end of 2010, with the sale to Frontier complete, Verizon expects to have Fios available to about 70% of its total network footprint. At present, the Fios availability is rated at approximately 48% of Verizon’s total network footprint.

Within the states that Verizon plans to continue Fios deployments, it can be very difficult to know when Fios will be available at any given residence or business. One telltale sign is lots of digging in your neighborhood followed by frequent sightings of Verizon trucks. Once a neighborhood appears to be complete in may be weeks or months before the system actually accepts an order for any given address. The only way to know is to try one’s address on service availability form.

For the most part Verizon Fios will only be available where Verizon is the current local phone company (incumbent local exchange carrier). In general, any given area will have only one incumbent local phone company. If that’s not Verizon, you probably won’t see Verizon Fios anytime soon.

Verizon Fios Internet Free Installation

Physical deployment of the Fios network means laying fiber down every street that is to get coverage. Fios TV service must get approval from local and/or state regulators before it can be offered for sale. Multi-dwelling units require custom installations and agreements with property owners before Fios can be deployed, though recent legal challenges may change this over the course of 2010.

Fios Technology

Verizon Fios is the first major deployment of Fiber To The Premises (FTTP) in the United States. FTTP is a network architecture where an optical fiber is terminated at or outside the customer’s premises. The significance of a major FTTP deployment like Verizon Fios is the fact that it replaces an aging copper network that in some cases has been used for over a hundred years. All-new fiber networks enable consumers to go way beyond the physical limitations of copper.

Fios uses a passive optical network (PON) to distribute service. Initial Fios installation used BPON transfer mode where a single fiber optical cable is capable of 155 Mbps upstream, and 622 Mbps downstream. All current Fios deployments use GPON, which provides increased bandwidth limits of 1.2Gbps upstream and 2.4Gbps downstream. In addition to the data bandwidth, the same fiber also carries 870 MHz of bandwidth for RF Video (TV channels).

Starting at a local Verizon central office, a single fiber optic cable is run to a fiber distribution hub at the neighborhood level where it can be split for up to 32 subscribers. When a consumer orders Fios service, a fiber optic cable is run to their premises and terminated at an Optical Network Terminal (ONT). There are few different ONT’s being used by Verizon for Fios installations. The most common is the 1600 series ONT manufactured by Tellabs. These ONT’s provides a RJ45 Ethernet jack for data traffic, a coaxial terminal for TV signal distribution, and up to four telephone ports for voice.

In 2009, Verizon tested a new 10Gbps fiber optic connection to a test-facility. This is not only a landmark achievement, but it is a strong indicator as to which technologies Verizon is considering for future deployments.

Fios Internet

With Fios, Verizon is able to offer internet connections with much more bandwidth than is typically possible with DSL service or cable broadband. For most areas where Fios is available, consumer’s can choose from three tiers. Verizon Fios Internet plans and pricing are provided as follows:

  • 100/100 Internet (download up to 100Mbps, upload up to 100Mbps), starting at $39.99/mo (Paper free billing and auto pay required.)
  • 300/300 Internet (download up to 300Mbps, upload up to 300Mbps), starting at $59.99/mo
  • Gigabit Connection(download up to 940Mbps, upload up to 880Mbps), starting at $79.99/mo

NOTE: Verizon is offering a $500 credit to help cover early termination fee available. Restrictions apply.

The aforementioned prices offered to all Fios customers regardless of area, but some areas actually have lower pricing. Installation fee is waived with online orders (otherwise $99.00).

Like most internet service providers, Verizon Fios Internet includes numerous features at no extra cost. These include 24/7 tech support, personal web space, and multiple email accounts (up to nine). Additional specialized features are available for an additional cost. These include Verizon Internet Security Suite, Verizon Games on Demand, and Movies on Demand with Starz® Play. Verizon also adds features over time, such as widgets, that may offer additional functionality over the web at no additional charge.

In recent months, the internet speed competition has started to heat up. While Verizon claims to have the capacity to deliver 400 Mbps to a single home, the fastest tier available at this time is only 50 Mbps. This is probably due to marketing strategies and consumer demand. In April 2009, Cablevision introduced a 101 Mbps internet service plan for $99.95/mo to go one up on Fios in the state of New York. However, Cablevision’s fine print reveals there is a $300 activation fee for that plan. Faster plans from Verizon Fios are definitely in the works, but only time will tell when they’ll go public.

Verizon Fios Internet Free Installation

As of July 2009, Verizon is including Verizon Wi-Fi with many of its home internet plans. For Fios, the mid-tier and faster internet plans include Verizon Wi-Fi at no additional cost. Verizon WiFi is a nationwide network of wireless hot spots. You can get free internet for your wireless-enabled laptop or netbook at thousands of locations including hotels, airports, restaurants, and coffee shops. Operating system restrictions do, however, apply.

Fios TV

Verizon first introduced Fios TV service in the fall of 2005. Since then, the service has grown to include over 320 digital channels, and over 100 HD channels. The Fios TV plans and pricing are as follows:

  • Fios TV Preferred HD, starting at $74.99/mo
    • Over 255 channels, including many in HD
    • Local channels such as ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox
    • Access to On Demand thousands of titles
    • Must-have programming from ESPN, Discovery, TNT, USA, MTV, CNN and more!
  • Fios TV Extreme HD, starting at $84.99/mo
    • Over 330 channels including 65+ HD channels and growing
    • Commercial free music with 47 Music Choice channels and 48 Urge Radio channels
    • Access to On Demand with over 18,000 titles
    • National and regional sports channels
  • Fios TV Ultimate HD, starting at $89.99/mo
    • Over 425 channels including 90+ HD channels
    • Access to On Demand with over 18.000 titles
    • Access to Showtime, The Movie Channel, and Flix
  • Fios TV Mundo, starting at $49.99/mo
    • Over 200 channels including up to 5 HD channels
    • More than 25 of the hottest Spanish-language channels
    • More than 35 of the most popular English channels
    • local channels like Telemundo, Univision and Telefutura

Channel lineups vary slightly by area, and you can see the channel lineup available in your area, with the lookup tool on Verizon’s site: Fios TV Channel Lineup. Verizon Fios TV is one of the leaders when it comes to HD channel offerings. The following table shows the 95 “Ulimate” HD channels available in New York City as of February 2010.

A&E HD ABC – WABC HD ABC Family HD ABC Live Well (in HD) AMC HD
Animal Planet HD Big Ten Network HD Bio: The Biography Channel
Bravo HD Cars.TV
Comedy.TV CW – WPIX HD Discovery Channel HD Disney Channel HD Disney XD HD
Food Network HD FOX – WNYW HD Fluse HD FX HD Golf hannel HD
Hallmark Movie Channel
HD Net HD Net Movies HD Theatre HGTV HD
History Channel HD HSN HD Lifetime HD Lifetime Movie Network
MyDestination.TV National Geographic Channel
NFL Red Zone HD Outdoor Chanel HD Palladia HD PBS – WNET HD Pets.TV
Planet Green HD QVC HD Recipe TV Science Channel HD Showtime 2 HD
Showtime 2 HD West Showtime Extreme HD Showtime Extreme HD West Showtime HDTV Showtime HDTV West
Showtime Showcase HD Showtime Showcase HD
Smithsonian Channel HD Speed HD Spike TV HD
SportsNet NY HD SyFy HD TBS HD Tennis Channel HD The Movie Channel HD
The Movie Channel HD
The Movie Channel Xtra
The Movie Channel Xtra
HD West
The Weather Channel HD TLC HD
TNT HDTV Travel Channel HD Universal HD USA HD Versus HD
World Fishing Network
Yes HD 1Yes HD 2

Since Fios TV uses a unique blend of technology, specialized equipment is required to access the full channel lineup and additional features. TV’s that have a built-in QAM tuner can access the local channels and music channels without any additional equipment. All other TV’s will need a set top box or CableCard from Verizon. Verizon charges a monthly fee to lease each set top box. The equipment options and pricing are as follows:

Fios Internet Installation Process

  • HD DVR set top box, $12/mo
    • access channels in standard and high definition
    • exclusive Interactive Media Guide
    • access to On Demand content
    • access to Fios Widgets
    • pause and rewind live TV
    • record up to 80 hours of SD programming and/or 20 hours of HD programming
    • record up to 2 shows simultaneously
  • Home Media DVR set top box, $19.99/mo
    • same features as HD DVR
    • access recorded shows from any set top box in the house
    • pause a program in one room and continue viewing it in another
    • access photos and music stored on your computer
  • Digital Adapter, $3.99/mo
    • access channels in standard definition
  • CableCard, $3.99/mo
    • access channels in standard and high definition
    • for use with CableCard Ready televisions or TiVo
    • single-stream and multi-stream cards available

The HD capable set top boxes have both an HDMI and component video outputs. The DVR set top boxes have USB, IEEE 1394 (firewire) ports, and some have an E-SATA port, however external hard drives are not currently supported, so recording capacity is limited to the built-in 160GB hard drive. For reasons that may have to do with pressure from the television networks, the recording capacity on the Fios DVR has not seen an upgrade since inception.

The Home Media DVR can communicate with multiple other set top boxes without any additional wiring. This allows any set top box in the home to access recorded content on a single DVR. Up to three different recordings can be played back on different TV’s at the same time from one Home Media DVR. Standard definition set top boxes are limited to recordings that were recorded from an SD channel. In other words an HD recording can not be downscaled for playback on a standard definition set top box.

Premium channels are available for an additional cost. Those packages and pricing are as follows:

  • HBO, $16.99/mo
    • 14 HBO channels including HBO Family and HBO Latino
    • 14 additional HD channels of HBO
    • HBO On Demand included
  • Movie package, $15.99/mo
    • 45 Premium Channels including SHOWTIME®, STARZ®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL®, ENCORE®, FLIX®, IFC™ and SUNDANCE®
    • Includes Premium HD channels and On Demand channels
  • Cinemax, $11.99/mo
    • 12 Cinemax channels
    • 12 additional HD channels of Cinemax
    • Cinemax on Demand included
  • EPIX, $9.99/mo
    • Access to over 150 Hollywood blockbusters, concerts, and comedy events every month
    • EPIX offers the most movies in HD On Demand and Online of any premium service.
    •, free with your subscription, includes movie-viewing features like a screening room to watch and chat online with friends, and tons of exclusive extras.
  • Spanish Language, $11.99/mo
    • 27 popular channels including Univision and Galavision
  • WWE, $9.99/mo
  • Karaoke, $7.99/mo
  • Disney Family Movies, $5.99/mo
  • The Jewish Channel, $5.99/mo
  • Bollywood TV, Music & Movies, $7.99/mo
  • HBO and Cinemax, $22.99/mo
  • HBO, Cinemax, and Movie Package, $36.00
  • NBA League Pass, $99.00/mid season
  • ESPN Full Court $79.00/mid-season
  • NHL Center Ice, $119.80/season
  • Setanta Sports, $14.99/mo
  • International Channels, individually priced

In addition to programming, Fios TV offers some exclusive features like the Interactive Media Guide. This is the graphical user interface provided with the service. It is an on screen programming guide that displays programming information and channel logos in a polished user friendly display. It also accesses your recorded shows, the On Demand library, an interactive search, and it allows you to customize different settings such as parental controls. Within the Interactive Media Guide, you can also setup Fios Widgets. Fios Widgets provide one-click access to horoscopes, weather forecasts, traffic information, and stock quotes. The What’s Hot widget displays the most watched programs in your area in real time.

Recent additions to the Fios TV Widgets include Facebook and Twitter widgets, which allow Fios TV users to view and update their Facebook or Twitter accounts, view photos on Facebook, and watch Twitter updates about a TV show as you’re watching the show. Through the Fios TV Widget Bazaar and a Fios TV SDK, Verizon is planning to open up Fios TV Widget development to third parties in the very near future.

Through Verizon’s Fios TV Central website, you can remotely manage your Fios DVR and set shows to record. The service allows customers to remotely review, change or add scheduled recordings, delete recorded programs, browse and search TV and video on demand listings, and set parental controls. The mobile version of the site brings this capability to most web-enabled phones. The remote DVR management service is available to all Fios TV DVR users at no extra charge.

Fios Phone Service (Digital Voice)

Fios Digital Voice phone service is a new level of voice service developed exclusively for the Fios network. It is currently available in limited areas in the northeast. There are plans to roll out the service nationwide wherever Fios is available, but a timetable is not known. Technically Fios Digital Voice is a VOIP (Voice Over IP) service, but will likely provide a much more reliable connection and higher quality of service than what is traditionally expected from VOIP service. It will also include tons of features like caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, and voicemail. Fios Digital Voice is a big deal because its essentially set to replace Verizon’s current voice systems which have been in use for decades. It will offer more features and will be priced lower than current landline service.


Installation of Fios can be a lengthy process. Most users report an installation time of 4-8 hours depending on the skill of the technician and the on-site conditions. Often a subcontractor for Verizon will come out before the scheduled Fios installation to bury the fiber optic cable on your property. It won’t be connected however, until the Verizon technician arrives on your scheduled day.

First the technician will mount a Optical Network Terminal (ONT) on your home. This is usually done near the existing phone demarkation point, which is usually outside. Next the technician will install a battery backup unit (BBU). The easiest location for this unit is directly inside from the ONT. The BBU will need to plug-in to an existing electrical outlet in your home. The necessity of a battery backup is probably the lone disadvantage to using fiber optics in place of copper wiring. The battery backup unit is designed to provide phone service for up to 8 hours during a power outage.

Next up is inside wiring. If your home has existing cat5 cable or rg6 coaxial cable, the technician will make use of it. The router is usually setup next to your main computer and will require either a cat5 or rg6 cable wired back to the ONT. The Verizon branded wireless-G router is likely to be either an Actiontec MI424WR or a Westell UltraLine Series3 9100EM. By default the routers are enabled for wireless using WEP security and the security key is printed on a sticker on the router. For increased security, it’s a good idea to change the security to WPA2 with a new passkey.

Just like any other cable or satellite installer, the Verizon technician will use whatever he can of your existing coaxial wiring for connecting all TV’s in the house. If you’ve asked for a TV to be hooked up where there is no existing wiring, the technician will charge $54.99 for this service. Otherwise installation is free for up to three TV’s with existing wiring.

Once everything is wired up, the technician will spend the rest of the time setting up and activating your equipment. Every set top box must be working correctly before he’s on his way.

Installation of Fios in multi-dwelling buildings like apartments can be a bit more complex. Luckily there are newer and smaller ONT’s designed to ease installations like these. The new ONT’s are about the size of a home router and are for indoor use, unlike the standard ONT that is usually mounted on the outside of a home. Verizon has two options for the smaller ONT’s: the Alcatel-Lucent I-21 1M-K indoor ONT, and the Motorola ONT 1000 GTI indoor ONT.

Fios Statistics

Customers (as of December 31st 2009)

  • Fios Internet: 3.43 million (up 31% in last year)
  • Fios TV: 2.86 million (up 46% in last year)

Fios Availability (as of December 31st 2009)

  • Fios Internet: 12.2 million premises (28.1% of Verizon’s footprint)
  • Fios TV: 11.7 million premises (24.5% of Verizon’s footprint)

Penetration (as of December 31st 2009, Penetration = Fios customers/number of premises where Fios is available)

  • Fios Internet: 28.1 %
  • Fios TV: 24.5%

Verizon Fios Free Installation Code

Fios shows very strong growth. Compare those numbers to the cable companies:

Comcast Cable Customers

Verizon Fios Installation Process

  • broadband: 15.3 million (up 6.6% in last year)
  • video: 23.9 million (down 3% in last year)

Time Warner Cable Customers

  • residential broadband : 8.8 million (up 7.8% in last year)
  • video: 13.3 million (down 2% in last year)

Cablevision (Optimum) Customers

  • broadband: 2.5 million (up 4.5% in last year)
  • basic video: 3.1 million (down 1.2% in last year)
Installing Verizon FIOS fiber-optic Internet service to my house
A detailed description of what you see in your neighborhood, on the line near your house, on the side of your house, and inside when you get Verizon's FIOS Internet service.
Yesterday I had Verizon's FIOS fiber-optic Internet service installed at my home. As I pointed out on my blog a few times (see last November 9th, January 28th and February 4th for the reports and pictures), Verizon has been putting up cables all over my city, Newton, Massachusetts. A few weeks ago they started taking orders for installation. I hesitated to order it at first, since my cable modem connection was flakey after a rainstorm (they replaced the cable modem with a new one more tolerant of bad signals or something and other upgrades) and I like having backup (the fiber is replacing a DSL connection) and I wanted to have a week or two of stability before I tried something new in place of the DSL. Also, I have a custom setup in the house and depending upon what they needed, I might end up with cables and stuff where I didn't want it in the house unless I did the right preparations.

What exactly would this entail? I first wanted to see what someone else's installation was like to learn the particulars. (I'm posting this on the web for others who are in a similar situation.) My friend Bob Frankston ordered the service, but it turned out that Verizon missed stringing the cables on his block (which they didn't figure out until the installer arrived) so I couldn't learn from his. (This week I saw the trucks out stringing the cable behind his block, so it only took a few weeks to get that fixed -- pretty good.) A couple of weeks ago I saw an installer on my block installing it at a neighbor's house and went over to talk with him. The installer filled me in on the particulars and showed me some things and I decided it was time to order the service. In addition, Verizon sent express letters to Newton residents with DSL (and I think others) to tell us of a special deal ($10 a month off for a year) if we ordered the service before the end of this August, so since I was planning to order it, why not do it now? I ordered the 15Mbps down/2Mbps up service which has a list price of $49.95 a month before the discount. (They also have 5/2 for $39.95 and 30/5 for $199.95.) Terms of service say they 'do not permit customers to host any type of server, personal or commercial'. You know what they mean (maybe) but they do say it wrong (in an Internet application, each side often plays the part of a 'server' as well as 'client' -- they are using lay terms in a legal document).

They have information on a web site about this service, but some of it is obviously done by marketing people who oversimplify technology. The flash demo tells you it's fast because light travels so quickly. I guess they think electricity travels too slowly over wires to give me the 5 or 15Mbps (but why then do the wires suffice in my home?). And why do they tout the 5Mbps when Comcast is now giving me 6Mbps? The people you talk to on the phones, though, and the installers all tried really hard to be helpful and knowledgeable and will converse with you to try to understand things. They are going all out with trying to have good customer support despite all the growing pains they clearly are having with such a new massive rollout.

Here's what I saw and learned from the many (over 7) installers I've been talking to:

Fiber-optic cable is strung all around the city. Each cable has thick insulation and many strands of fiber inside. Here is a piece of the thinner cable that is strung to a house:

There is cable from the main office that goes to distribution boxes throughout the city. Each box can serve several blocks of homes. Here's a normal street with the cable on the telephone/electric poles and a view of one of these distribution boxes with two types of splicing boxes on either side:

The distribution box is connected to the office on basically one set of fibers and then can distribute that service among the houses. From the distribution box there is a single set of fibers as a 'home run' available to each house. If a cable to a distribution box is disrupted, they can connect in a cable from somewhere else and restore service they tell me. Unlike normal phone lines, my house isn't connected directly to the central office with any break requiring a fix to the original wire. Also, when testing the fibers, they can find out exactly where problems (like breaks) are thanks to some cool equipment.

Here's a close-up of the two cables going into the distribution box; I guess one comes from the central office and one has all the connections to the houses it serves. The other picture is of two cables that go to individual blocks mixed among all the other wires and stuff on the telephone pole near my house:

Those block-level cables are spliced into other cables in a housing like the first picture below. The days before my installation I found installers outside working on it, since it seemed that the work that was supposed to be done for my house and another one a block or two away was not the way it was supposed to be. There is a lot of labor here. (That fix took a full day for 2-4 people.) Inside the housing it is pretty much all optical. They can lower this unit onto the truck, still connected, and do splices (with special melting, microscope, etc., equipment). I watched while they did a spice or two (but since I was just back from a run, I didn't have my camera). The second picture is one I couldn't resist: It's a Verizon optical unit on the bottom and a Comcast cable unit (the tags are from Comcast). The two systems' cables share the same poles:

The cables specific to a block have housings every once in a while for connections to the houses. Here is the one that serves my neighbor, along with a close-up of the place where the cables come in. The cable with the orange 'Fiber Optic Cable' covering is the one that goes down the block. The thinner cables plugged in are to houses. There are two connected here -- I'm clearly not the first person on my block to have fiber.

My pre-installation
A few days before the scheduled installation an installer arrived to string the cable to my house. He connected a cable to one of those housings like the picture above and then strung it up on the poles and over to my house. Here's the cable laying on the ground before he put it on the poles and my house, and a view of the working cable on my neighbor's house (the one on mine isn't as pretty, since it's mixed up with the many phone lines and Comcast cable):

The installer left the cable where he expected the installation to occur (I worked with him on this -- I wanted it in a particular place and he agreed). The end is covered (they always leave it covered -- they have to be so clean with this optical stuff). He then went to the distribution box a few blocks away and did some stuff there, and then came back to test. (I hear that they will bury the cable if that's what your house does with phone lines, etc.) Here's the end:

That day, I also pulled some new Ethernet cables from my third-floor office down to the basement where the new service was going to terminate. I was ready.

The next day that other crew came to fix the cables to that other house a block or so away that shared the same splicing box with mine. The day after they were back fixing it for my installation. It seems that there is a lot of testing that can occur from the main office to find problems before I do in my house. I like this very much. The cable companies I've had only seem to find problems when I report them and then only when I can have them see that they can't ping my cable modem while they have me on the phone. With intermittent problems like I've had over the years, that has not lead to service I was happy with. I'd like someone to treat this like it was a utility that they'd try to keep up 24/7. Verizon seems to be doing this.

The day of installation finally arrived. The installer showed up sometime after 8 AM, as they said. They schedule enough time to spend the whole day if necessary (just setting up your computer could be a time sink and often is if you were previously on dial-up). His job is to put an Optical Network Terminal unit (ONT) on the side of, or inside, your house. The fiber-optic cable connects to the ONT and the Internet connection comes out of it as a normal 100BaseT cable.

Here is a picture of the truck, the sign he put up while working (just like painters and roofers, etc. -- marketing is an important component here as Verizon competes with the cable companies -- we have Comcast and RCN in our area -- and tries to sign up customers), and the ONT in the box it came in:

We decided to put it where the telephone boxes were already, next to the electric meter.

When they put in fiber, they want to replace the copper for your phone lines, too. They take all the residential phone lines (unless you have a good objection or it doesn't work) and replace them with connections through the ONT. They don't do business lines, yet, so only some of the lines into my house got changed over. The installer decided that the really old phone connection box needed to go and moved the business lines (Software Garden has some) all over to one good box. He didn't actually remove the wires (which they will eventually do) since the ones I have are too intertwined with the business lines they aren't removing.

The installer showed me a list of phones devices their system is not compatible with. These are apparently ones which don't work well on the standard ring voltages provided by the ONT. (I think they found this out after complaints from customers that things weren't working.) It includes some Casio answering machines, Radio Shack Caller ID boxes, and a few more units.

Here's a 'before' picture showing the telephone connection boxes and one with the ONT mounted (and open) with the old telephone box hanging:

Here's what the inside of the ONT looks like before most of the wires are connected. The fiber cable comes up on the left with the cap removed (and dangling). Cable slack is stored in a housing behind the ONT (you want to have slack since you'd rather not cut or lengthen fiber cables). I have a close-up of the power connectors, too. The unit needs lots of connections into the house for power and backup power.

In my house, the main phone wiring block is just on the other side of the wall in the basement. Here you see the installer drilling holes for the different lines: One for power, one for the backup battery, one for the four-pair phone wires (the ONT can do up to 4 lines but we don't need them all), and one for the CAT-5e 100BaseT wire. Eventually they hope to use the ONT's ability to do cable-TV-style cable, too, but that's not available yet.

Here's a fully wired ONT before closing up. The black sheath under the four voice RJ11 jacks covers a cable outlet for when they roll out that service. (See Bob Frankston's rant on SATN about all the bandwidth being allocated to video.) Nice and neat. (Dana, my installer, was a real stickler for doing things right. He worked really hard to make it the way I wanted, too. An 'atta-boy' for Dana!)

Here's the whole outside setup:

Inside you get two power units. The one on the left holds a normal rechargeable battery and some electronics to let them check it from a distance. The unit on the right is the power adapter and is plugged into a wall outlet (they didn't want it to go into a power strip). (The thick wire between them is an existing power line on the board in the basement.) The second picture shows the other thing they installed: A wall jack for the RJ-45 plug for 100BaseT where I can get the Internet connection they provide.

The installer had to do some things with his laptop to have them switch over my phone numbers from the copper wires to the fiber and turn on the Internet connectivity, etc. That takes a while and he went out for a late lunch while it happened. Since I had more than one line (each with its own work order) he ended up making some calls to finish getting them all done. The laptop is a ruggedized Panasonic with a touch screen and wireless (citywide, not WiFi) connection to their VPN.

Once everything checked out, he hooked up the normal D-Link router they include in the deal. I had him use his laptop to set things up because I didn't want to install their software (as I recall, Verizon likes giving you who-knows-what to 'help' them give you support, put in the free MSN Premium that's included, etc.). I just wanted to get the service going and over the next few days I'll figure out how I want to connect it into the computers and networks in the house.

Once that was all done, the installer cleaned up all the dropped wire insulation, empty boxes, etc., and we said goodbye sometime around 4 PM. I then connected my line to the router and plugged it into my laptop upstairs. Things work well. I downloaded a log file from the server and got a download at over 13Mb/second. I uploaded a 25MB podcast as a test and got 1.95Mb/second. Pretty good. I logged into the router (the name and password got set to my Verizon ones) and saw that it was configured as a normal PPPoE just like my DSL connection was.

Dan Bricklin is best known as the co-creator of VisiCalc, the first PC spreadsheet. He is author of the upcoming book Bricklin on Technology being published by Wiley in May 2009.

I write this a few weeks later: Verizon trucks are out on my block again today, this time installing FIOS for another neighbor (of 8 houses in our section of the block on both sides of the street, at least 4 now will have FIOS, and at least one has decided to stay with their Comcast cable modem...for now). This morning, Walt Mossberg wrote in his Wall Street Journal column: 'I consider Fios a good service and a good bargain. If you are a heavy Internet user, and you can get it, I recommend you do so.'

I've been using the system since it was installed. Here is some more information: It's been working well. Tests I've run show that I do indeed get up to 15Mbps. Various 'Web100 based Network Diagnostic Testers' say 1.6-1.85Mbps up and 12-15.4Mbps down. One server I download from (the log files) seem to always max out at 13Mbps, but that must be on its end. Other downloads do go the full speed. My uploads of podcasts (40 minute ones for my Software Licensing Podcast and the DiamondCluster Open Cell Phone Podcast), etc., routinely get 2Mbps. One effect of this is that downloads that used to swamp my connection so that I couldn't do much surfing at the same time now have enough headroom to let other Internet uses continue at the same time (maybe because of effects of adding more bandwidth like those I described in 'Why We Don't Need QOS: Trains, Cars, and Internet Quality of Service'?). Note: This higher speed capacity doesn't speed up slow response from web sites. If they took 5 seconds to respond, it still takes 5 seconds. It's mainly an effect noticeable on large downloads and uploads.

Something about my setup that you might want to know: I left the D-Link router in place, just as Verizon installed it. I don't, though, connect my computers directly to it, but instead use an additional router. I took my Linksys WRT54G Wireless-G Broadband Router and unplugged the connection to the cable modem. (For now, the cable modem is switched to be connected to another router and provides open WiFi to guests in my home and serves as a backup.) I connected one of the LAN jacks on the D-Link not to a personal computer but rather to a cable that goes to the WAN jack of the Linksys (using the cable from the basement to the 3rd floor). I didn't need to make any changes to the Linksys settings: I have it request a DHCP address from the D-Link just as it did to Comcast through the cable modem. The D-Link uses IP addresses inside my house that start with 192.168.0.? and the Linksys uses 192.168.1.?, so I can easily get to the D-Link settings page from browsers running on PCs connected to the Linksys without any confusion or special settings. Since I already had a wireless router this saved me from needing to pay the extra money for one from Verizon or needing to locate the Verizon-provided router out of the basement in a more WiFi-friendly place. I also am not as concerned as some seem to be about Verizon having access to a router protecting my local network (if they recommend upgrades and you need to download new firmware with unknown capabilities) -- I have another router blocking things after it. I've seen with Verizon DSL that they like to 'help' you with special software on your PC, etc., that may (or may not) be helpful to non-techies but I'd rather have more control myself over my configuration. I can always run a PC directly connected to the D-Link for diagnostic purposes if they need it. The D-Link connects by PPPoE and needs to be set up differently (it is similar to DSL setups, as I wrote before). Apparently, the back-to-back routers don't seem to slow things down much, since I'm getting the full speed they specify from Verizon.

I understand that some users disconnect the D-Link router (and save it -- it comes bundled with the installation) and connect their own router. For example, some people have Linksys units with wireless that they find to have stronger signals in their homes than the D-Link. Apparently using other routers (connecting using PPPoE) works. However, as I understand it, that practice is not officially supported by Verizon which claims to use special diagnostic software in the routers. (From their FAQ: 'Your router also contains special diagnostic software that can help us trouble-shoot and correct problems should you experience trouble with your Internet Service. You will need to use the Verizon router with your FiOS Internet service.')

-Dan Bricklin, 15 September 2005

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