“Fiber” is the major buzzword in broadband lately, and there is a reason why it’s getting so much attention: Verizon FiOS.
Cable and DSL have been the broadband choices since the early 2000’s, but now Verizon FiOS has emerged as a 3rd option in many markets.
It sounds strange, but this is really the first major advance in Internet connection options since broadband emerged as an alternative to dial-up in the late 90’s.
What is FiOS?
FiOS is an end-to-end optical fiber network, with fiber run directly from Verizon’s offices into people’s homes. Although fiber itself is nothing new (cable and DSL networks include some fiber), Verizon FiOS Fiber-to-the-Home or FTTH setup is a first of its kind product in the US, and it has certain critical advantages over the other 2 technologies, which are explored below.
Although it’s fun to parody, “fiber” in the case of FiOS and broadband is actually optical fiber, and not the heart-healthy fiber found in dark grain breads and vegetables. It is the best available option for transmitting data, offering significant speed and quality advantages over coax (traditionally used by cable companies) and twisted copper (traditionally used by phone companies).
Although broadband networks have made use of fiber for years, they have not used fiber for what is referred to as the “last mile” portion of their network. The last mile may actually be greater or less than a true mile. It is a term that refers to the distance between the remote communications boxes that are owned by phone/cable/broadband companies and the actual homes that are connecting to the Internet.
Traditionally, fiber has been used between cable/telephone company offices and the remote communications boxes, and legacy coaxial or twisted copper cable has been used between people’s homes and the boxes.
How is FiOS Faster?
The effects of this setup are similar to taking a trip that involves driving on a 6-lane interstate highway and then exiting onto a crowded, single-lane country road. You’re obviously going to have to slow down when you exit onto the country road, and that’s exactly what occurs with data that travels on a hybrid fiber and legacy copper/coaxial network.
FiOS is pure fiber end-to-end, so your data doesn’t have to tap the brakes and downshift; it just keeps cruising at highway speeds right into your home. And the results are simply blistering: 10mb/s download and 2mb/s upload is the minimum speed offered, with up to 20mb/s download and upload available.
Compare that with the 3mb/s download and 1.5mb/s upload speeds (sustained) of most cable and DSL connections, and it’s easy to see why people are excited about Verizon FiOS.
The other major FiOS advantage is that the lines that carry Internet data are dedicated. Dedicated lines are available for higher cost DSL, but with cable and basic DSL, the Internet data signal shares the same line with other signals (voice, cable TV, etc.), which can lead to signal loss and slower than advertised speeds.
Verizon FiOS bundles change often, but you can check the latest FiOS pricing on this page.
Verizon FiOS Availability
While Verizon FiOS isn’t available in every state, they do have coverage across 13 states and 40 million people. Below we’ll see a map of Verizon FiOS’s availability according to BroadbandNow.
Keys to FiOS
- Patience Pays – FiOS installations generally require more hardware than either cable or DSL, which can take time (here’s a link that describes the installation process). Plan on your FiOS installer to be at your home from 4-6 hours.
- Bundle Up – Verizon is trying very hard to win over cable and DSL customers, and they’re doing through aggressive pricing on FiOS bundles. Take advantage of the savings by getting FiOS TV and Phone, along with your FiOS Internet.
- Keep a Close Watch – FiOS is available in a lot of areas and if you’re in one where it’s not available, it might be on the way soon. Check this link to see an up-to-date FiOS availability map.
Contact Verizon to see if FiOS service is available in your area at: 1-800-VERIZON (1-800-837-4966). See our company contact information for a comprehensive list of customer service telephone numbers.