I’ve done some speed tests using Optimum Online

I’m on vacation with my family today and the place where we’re staying has Optimum Online service. I’ve never used this service, but I remember there were rumours several years ago about shit service and crazy policies about P2P throttling.

These are the same people who have a TV commercial that claims they are the only ISP in United States to offer 100MB/s service. Yes, they actually explicitly write “100 MB/s” in the commercial. There is no ambiguity in those units; they denote megabytes per second, not megabits per second. This is a blatant lie. OOL does offer 100Mbps (read megabits per second) in some service areas, but not 100 MB/s. They’re just doing that because they think that most people will respond to the capital letters and the exclamation point in the commercial, rather than the actual measurement, which is incorrect. That and the fact that they assume (probably correctly) that even the people who do realise that the usage of the capital letters makes their commercial a lie either don’t care enough to hold it against Cablevision or are in a position where Cablevision is the only non-ADSL ISP available.

But because of the rumours about insane throttling on all service tiers to low speeds as well as the false advertisements, I’ve always had a mild dislike for Cablevision in general and OOL specifically. I also think it’s stupid that the Internet service is called “Optimum Online” while the television service is called “iO”. Time Warner has a separate name for their Internet service and call it “Road Runner”, but at least they’re consistent about it; they call all three of their services “Road Runner”. Verizon also calls all three of their FTTH services — TV, Internet, and phone — “FiOS”. I don’t think Verizon even has a catchy name for their ADSL service; I’m pretty sure it’s just “Verizon ADSL” or “Verizon High-speed Internet”.

My point is that having two names is acceptable, but having three separate names is asking too much of the consumer. Most people can’t even answer the question “who is your ISP?” so asking a person to remember three names for the same company as well as which specific service each name refers to will just cause confusion. Plus “iO” is a stupid name anyway. It’s almost as bad as “XFINITY”.

But I did some speed tests here and they’re consistently good. I was tempted to test some bittorrent downloads and I did for about 10 minutes but I soon started to feel guilty, seeing as it’s not my connection or anything. It was just a linux ISO though so there’s really nothing to feel bad about at all. It looks like these people have the 15Mbps/2Mbps plan. I was able to download at 1.4MB/s on the linux ISO but the speed soon dropped to about 200KB/s and remained stable. I’m sure that’s not throttling though; it’s just a bad configuration on my side, I think. I was curious to see how long the speeds would be sustained, but I really felt too self conscious running a torrent client on a stranger’s connection so I closed it.

On the other hand, I was able to download consistently from my FTP server at home at about 1.7MB/s, even while it was busy seeding ~1000 torrents. This is why FiOS is so great. While they don’t explicitly allow you to run any type of server from a residential connection, there’s nothing stopping me from running an FTP server. I ran it on port 2121 just to be safe, but on dslreports I read that they don’t block it even if you do run it on port 21. My IP address at home barely ever changes either. It’s a bit like the Earthlink connection I used to have, where running any sort of server was formally forbidden but, in practice, even port 80 was open and I could host a tiny website for years, without having to change the DNS information more than once or twice a year since the IP address always stayed the same.

Verizon don't seem to care that I use my full bandwidth 24/7. Who needs to pay for hosting when FiOS residential service is this fast?


My conclusion from today is that I wouldn’t mind terribly if I had to live somewhere in which Cablevision was the only ISP. The channel guide menu on the STB is a bit slow to respond, but I bet this is because it’s an old SD STB they have here. This is the first time I’ve ever used OOL or seen iO TV, so I wouldn’t know if the Scientific Atlanta 4200 is still being given out on new installs or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised if newer boxes have a firmware update or something with a nicer-looking guide. This guide is faster to respond than the guide on the HD STBs from Time Warner Cable that I had, but slower to respond than the Verizon FiOS STBs I currently have. The selected line on the guide moves less than one second after you press the up or down arrow with this iO TV STB, whereas with the TWC boxes I had it was at least one second or even slightly more between the time the user would press a button and the time the selection bar on the screen would actually move.

I had a dream that was sort of about FiOS

I dreamt that I was riding in a city bus, looking out the window, when I spotted an advertisement on a phone booth that announced,

At long last FiOS 1 coming to the New York City area on 12/10/2010!

I knew in my dream that December 10, 2010 had already passed. I think it was still March in my dream. I was confused as to why I hadn’t yet noticed that FiOS 1 was now available, seeing as the sign suggested that I could have been watching it for more than three months by then. I was bit angry.

I love FiOS, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t ignore the explicit message embedded in this dream. That is, the logo for FiOS 1 New York that was on the sign in my dream looked exactly like this:

Now, I would never go back to Earthlink for Internet service. Road Runner itself is not available here, but Earthlink was my ISP through some kind of arrangement with TWC. Not that they were unreliable or anything — they were the perfect ISP in nearly every way — it’s just that they hadn’t upgraded the speeds they offered since 2001. If TWC increased the upload speed on their Wideband service here in NYC, I would consider switching to it, even though it’s still more expensive than 35/35 FiOS service, which is still the fastest package available here. In parts of Long Island though I think Verizon has introduced 100/25 service or something like that. At least that’s what those commercials with “real” customers with those dumb Long Island accents seems to indicate. Paying more for Wideband if it had comparable speeds to FiOS is worth it, if you ask me, to get NY1. Wideband upload speeds just aren’t fast enough to compete with FiOS though at this time.

Now, having said that I would never switch to any other ISP as long as they don’t upgrade their offerings, I have to admit that I miss New York One like I miss my first edition holographic Charizard. The several times I had been in homes in New Jersey in which the owners had FiOS, they all had a channel called FiOS 1. I’ve read in forum posts online that some FiOS customers in New York City get the Long Island/New Jersey FiOS 1 channel, but I don’t. As a result, I have no real replacement for NY1. There’s channel 460, which is NBC New York, but that’s not so much a dedicated local news channel as a variety show/elaborate promotion of tourism. They tend to spend entire half hour programming blocks profiling some local fashion designer or visiting “hot NYC restaurants and nightclubs” or some such rot. It’s not a channel that you can turn on for 10 minutes before leaving home in the morning to find out about the weather and what the top local news stories are.

Weatherscan on channel 49 solves the weather problem, but there’s still no dedicated local news channel. I think my dream counterpart and his puzzlement at the lack of a New York version of FiOS 1 (or even reception of the LI/NJ version) reflects my conflicted feelings about the loss of NY1.

Of course, I could always get TWC for cable TV service and keep FiOS for Internet service, but that’s impractical for two reasons: it would be at least twice as expensive as a package deal and TWC cable TV was about the most unstable service around during the last two years or so that I had it. The STBs were rubbish, even after multiple replacements, and would crash like clockwork nearly every day during primetime, taking as long as 20 minutes to turn back on after a crash, every Sunday at midnight the EPG data would run out and it wouldn’t update until Monday night, even after many forced hard resets, Pay per view and even free videos on demand would fail to load far more often than was acceptable, and the picture quality really was inferior, at least to my untrained eye.

One point on which to praise TWC cable TV service though was the fact that there were at least a dozen, perhaps two dozen, free non-English, non-Spanish language channels. There were several CCTV channels, a few Korean language channels, at least one Arabic channel, and quite a few others. I think RTN might have been free too on TWC, though I’m not sure. On FiOS all of those require a subscription, even CCTV, which I always assumed was free with all TV service providers. TWC also had a much better selection of pay-per-view movies on demand. TWC updated their Sundance, IFC and foreign language film sections very frequently; FiOS doesn’t even have a foreign language movies section, let alone an independent films section or a documentary section.

Since well before I even had FiOS here I’ve read over and over again that FiOS 1 is supposed to be coming to New York sometime before the end of 2009. This is getting to be a little bit disappointing.

My Internet connection is so damned fast though. I really can’t even take my own complaints seriously when I think that I actually have a 35/35 Mbps connection. That’s not a lie. In fact, it’s a little bit faster than that. I can download at a sustained 5.0MB/s and upload at a sustained 4.0MB/s. I still don’t believe it. I was on 8.0Mbps/384Kbps on Earthlink cable and ~2.5Mbps/512Kbps on Verizon ADSL before this.

Oh the irony

I get a lot of spam from what are, presumably, zombified computers owned by negligent FiOS customers, but I thought this was pretty funny:

A new comment on the post #602 “FiOS just keeps getting better and better” is waiting for your approval

http://orgdotorg.com/?p=602

Author : asdfasdfsdf (IP: 173.63.81.48 , pool-173-63-81-48.nwrknj.fios.verizon.net)
E-mail : [email protected]
URL : http://wrweazzzz.com
Whois : http://ws.arin.net/cgi-bin/whois.pl?queryinput=173.63.81.48
Comment:
sfafwefwef

Approve it: http://orgdotorg.com/wp-admin/comment.php?action=approve&c=690
Trash it: http://orgdotorg.com/wp-admin/comment.php?action=trash&c=690
Spam it: http://orgdotorg.com/wp-admin/comment.php?action=spam&c=690

FiOS just keeps getting better and better

Firewire card

This firewire card served me loyally since 2004, now it's time for him to meet the great OEM in the sky

That’s my firewire card. Or at least it was. It’s dead now. There’s a connection here between the title of this post and the image, which I’ll get to presently.

Apparently the FCC requires that television service providers offer consumers STBs with active IEEE 1394 ports. I just learned this recently when I was idly wondering whether or not it was possible to copy recorded programs from my Verizon DVR to an external storage device or the hard drive of my computer.

It turns out that you can’t. In the process of confirming that though I found out that Verizon STBs not only have an “active” firewire port but that you can actually capture live television programming by connecting the STB to any computer with a firewire port. You can also play a recorded program on the DVR and capture it as it plays to your computer via firewire.

It’s always been my default position, more or less, to view the FCC as fulfilling some sort of adversarial role with respect to the goals and ideals of the tech crowd, but this development may force me to modify my views. I really don’t understand what purpose such a law could serve other than making life easier for copyright infringers.

Hell, I bought my Hauppauge HD-PVR more or less to exploit its component connections to record whatever I wanted from broadcast TV. That was before I had a DVR though.

Which brings me to the next thing that I’m astounded at: you can record 5C encrypted programming on Verizon DVRs and play it back! Of course, you can’t play it or anything if you record it via firewire, but if you just want to play it back on your DVR then it actually works!

Not that I’m complaining, but that doesn’t make any sense. I figured that with a Verizon DVR you’d be able to record clear QAM channels only. But I can record anything it seems, even premium channels like HBO.

The ability to capture programs via firewire is great though, since I don’t have to spend money on a capture card this way. I don’t get degraded recordings this way either like I do when I resort to using my HD-PVR. The firewire recordings are the actual MPEG transport streams themselves, so you get the untouched video, audio and even closed captions. This is nice for both pirates and honest people like me. Pirates can give the TS to their encoder friends who then share the file. Honest folks like me also benefit though because I can encode the file however the hell I want. I can do a low CRF x264 encode for archival purposes if I don’t care about storage space, I can do an SD XviD encode to play on my hardware player, I can make an iPod or PSP version of the recording, author a Blu-ray disc, video DVD, etc…

One complaint that I have about the firewire recording though is that some of the HD local channels are 5C encrypted even though they’re not supposed to be. For example, CBS HD is 5C encrypted and cannot be played back if recorded via firewire. CBS SD though is not. It’s mildly irritating since I kinda thought that this was illegal. The only HD channels that it seems one can record via firewire and actually play back are NBC, Fox, ABC, 9 (the one that used to be UPN) and 11. Possibly PBS too, I can’t remember. Ultimately it makes the utility of this discovery somewhat limited, but it’s still pretty far out that it was the government that mandated it.

Anyway, as soon as I found this out I started getting cryptic BSODs here and there when starting D-VHS, the program people seem to use for firewire captures. After getting such a BSOD my PC wouldn’t turn back on for quite some time, about thirty minutes to an hour. No beeps, no BIOS splash screen, nothing at all. After leaving the PSU switch off or unplugging the computer for some time it would eventually come back alive and function normally as though nothing had happened.

After a few days of successfully making firewire captures (with progressively more BSODs) I came to the realization that it was my firewire card that was causing the problem. I could use the PC for hours without a BSOD as long as I didn’t open D-VHS. Once I did I was certain to get a BSOD. So I removed the firewire card and now the PC works fine again. I don’t know what the hell happened. I always thought that a PC component either worked or it didn’t work, not that it may sometimes work and other times prevent your PC from turning on at all.

This all happened within a few days of my discovery of the “active” firewire port on the STB. I feel ripped off. As soon as I discover something great that the government has done for me, some unrelated technical issue prevents me from actually taking advantage of the FCC’s goodwill.

I’m now eagerly awaiting my new firewire card to arrive in the mail. In the meantime though I can still record onto my old iBook G4 using some programs included in the Apple Firewire SDK.

I finally got FiOS

I can’t write a review of it yet or anything, but the installers did, in fact, come yesterday and managed, more or less, to complete the installation. I must say that these installers were some of the most professional and friendly people you could every hope to meet. To say they knew exactly what they were doing would be an understatement. I cannot praise them enough. There were four installers, which seemed like a really smart move, since three of them worked on the wiring while one of them worked on mounting and testing the ONT (which turned out to be defective, though they had extras with them).

The installers were scheduled to arrive between 8:00 AM and 12:00 PM. They arrived right on time at about 10:00 AM to look around the apartment before unloading and bringing their equipment inside. Unfortunately, Con Edison was digging up the street for some reason. Meanwhile, some other construction crew was digging up the street for an unrelated reason on the next block. It was bad timing because it meant that the Verizon installers didn’t have anywhere to park their truck. Since all of their equipment was in the truck it ended up taking an hour and a half for them to load it all up onto some handtrucks and wheel the stuff the several blocks from the truck to my building.

So if you include the time it took them to get the equipment from the truck to my place the whole installation took about 8 hours. But that’s not a complaint really, it wasn’t their fault that it took that long.

They actually finished most of what I expected to be the difficult bits of the installation in about an hour or two. That is, they ran fibre from the hole in the wall through which it enters the apartment to the place where they ONT was going to be installed. They finished that in about an hour. This was really where having four installers was a great idea, since three of them worked on running the fibre while one of them mounted the ONT, which presumably sped things up quite a bit.

Of course, I already had coax in all the rooms as well as in the hallway from Earthlink, so that also sped things up considerably (it was also cheaper since they may charge for running coax around an apartment, depending on what exactly they need to do). They actually got me a working Internet connection in only about two hours (four hours if you include the time spent waiting for them to get all their stuff into the apartment).

The rest of the time they spent doing various things, such as finding out that the ONT was somehow defective. I missed exactly how they figured that out, since the Internet connection had, at least, worked using the first one, but the guy said that one of the other installers had told him that he had performed some sort of test and that he had determined the ONT was no good. So they went ahead and got another one from the truck which was apparently working.

Once it was determined that the second ONT was working, it was just a matter of connecting it to the existing coax. Setting up the set top boxes was very easy; as soon as they were connected to the coax they did some sort of automatic activation procedure that took about ten minutes per box (had to restart that procedure for one of the boxes). I wasn’t actually required to do anything for the activation; the STBs just did it automatically without any user interaction being necessary. Afterward they all worked fine.

There are three telephone lines here. Two should be POTS and one should be what I think is called “FiOS Digital Voice”, which, to the extent that I understand it, is similar to VOIP but it never actually leaves the Verizon network, so it’s not exactly ever reaching the Internet. In any case, the digital one worked as soon as they replaced the bad ONT with the good ONT, but that’s the fax line. The two other lines are for voice calls. They didn’t work while the installers were still here. The installers said that it was not a problem with the setup here in the apartment or with the ONT but rather a bureaucratic issue that can only be fixed by someone essentially “turning on” the two telephone lines by changing some records in a database somewhere and that I should more or less just wait and see what happens. Though I was skeptical at first, the installer said to call him directly if the phone lines didn’t start working some time tomorrow (since by that point it was ~5:00 to 6:00 PM) since he could get through to the proper department that could make the fix more easily than I could. Sure enough, the phones did start working this morning. At this point the only thing that is not working is caller ID.

Now for the most important part: the speed tests. When the installer did a test using Verizon servers he got about 42Mbps downstream and I think 40Mbps upstream. Now that’s obviously amazing, but it wasn’t a proper speed test since it never left the Verizon network. Actual tests that I’ve been doing to non-Verizon servers are much lower. I like this website called Speed Guide, since it lets you look at results from other people based on hostname. So, for example, if I wanted to only see speed test results from FiOS customers in and around the New York City area, I could filter the search results to only view speed tests from people with RDNS ending in “nycmny.fios.verizon.net”. It also lets you save your own speed test history, so now I can look back at my results from my ADSL connection and marvel at how I didn’t kill myself. The top six tests below were from yesterday, right after the installers left at around 6:00 PM.

FiOS Speed Test

The nwrknj tests were not done with my connection. They were done elsewhere with a 15Mbps/5Mbps connection.

So I wasn’t getting the best results even when I used the New York test server. At other speed test sites I was getting mixed results, which were often much better than my results at any of the SG servers. I got carried away and ended up taking 40 speed tests at speedtest.net using servers in various places around the world. I was really surprised at the 42Mbps download speed from Nuuk, Greenland.

The router they gave me was an Actiontec MI424 WR Rev. F. It seems fine so far. They even let me keep my old ADSL modem/router that they initially gave me when I got the ADSL connection, not that I have any use for it now.

Torrent upload speeds vary. I have not yet hit 4MB/s, as I should theoretically be able to do based on some of the speed test results I’m getting. I did hit 1.7MB/s upload once though. The fastest I have uploaded to a single peer so far was 800KB/s to another FiOS customer in Syracuse, NY, but I’ve also managed to upload to a few Japanese peers at a sustained ~700KB/s. I still think that I need to do some reconfiguring of my client, such as increasing the maximum number of peers I connect to per torrent and the number of upload slots per torrent.

I’m not sure how uTP will work with this router yet. It always crashed the old Westell ADSL modem/router as well as my Linksys WRT54G with DD-WRT. I haven’t gotten around to trying uTP yet since I tend to have it turned off in uTorrent by habit.

All in all, I’m really very pleased with this.

UPDATE: Oct. 20 at ~4:00 PM caller ID started working. Now there’s not a thing at all that’s not working properly.

Verizon’s TOS kind of suck

I was looking at the Verizon TOS for some reason today, I suppose to psych myself up further about my forthcoming FiOS installation, and I noticed that there are some ridiculously vague (and therefore massively prohibitive) clauses in the agreement.

For example, according to the FiOS Acceptable Use Policy, customers are not allowed to,

post off-topic information on message boards, chat rooms or social networking sites

generate excessive amounts of email or other Internet traffic

use the service in any fashion for the transmission or dissemination of images containing child pornography or in a manner that is obscene, sexually explicit, cruel or racist in nature or which espouses, promotes or incites bigotry, hatred or racism

I agree with some of the terms of that last one. Specifically, I agree that the customer ought to be required to agree not to use the Service to engage in activities of any nature at all that violate a federal, state or local law (but the customer is already made to agree not to violate the law in a different clause, so the child pornography part should have been covered by that). However, most of those things aren’t illegal. In fact, Verizon specifically states in the same agreement that the customer must agree essentially to not be a prude and blame Verizon if they accidentally come across something on the Internet or via FiOS TV that they find offensive:

You acknowledge that the Service will allow access to information which may be sexually explicit, obscene or offensive, or otherwise unsuitable for children. You agree…that Verizon is not responsible for access by you or any other users to objectionable or offensive content.

So it seems like a clear contradiction, if you ask me. On the one hand, you must acknowledge that the Service gives you access to materials that may be “obscene” to some people (which cannot be legally determined until someone actually asserts that something is “obscene”, since something is not “obscene” until it is subjected to the Miller Test, which cannot be done without a jury). Yet on the other hand, you’re not allowed to transmit “obscene” materials. In fact, the TOS are impossible to agree to, since if I agree that the Service gives me access to obscene materials, I cannot also agree that I will not “transmit” any of the “obscene” materials that the Service is giving me access to.

I think FiOS TV has the Playboy Channel if you pay extra for it. If you had a jury full of puritanical zealots from Evangelicalville, TX then I think there’s a pretty good chance they’d call it “obscene” on all three prongs of the Miller Test. They’d consider “community standards” to refer the community standards of Evangelicalville, TX, so of course it violates those. As for depicting sexual conduct in a “patently offensive” way, they’d almost certainly agree that it does (again, since they can be assumed to be a bunch of prudes). Finally, they would most likely quickly agree that it has no artistic merit. Hell, I think that under that last prong at least, most shotacon would stand a better chance than Playboy.

The “excessive amounts of email or other Internet traffic” thing is also irritating. It’s only irritating though because Verizon has this big sparkly announcement on their FiOS front page about how, unlike their nasty competitors, they don’t throttle their customers.
fios home page
But if they reserve the right to arbitrarily impose bandwidth caps on their customers without prior notification, that’s equivalent, abstractly speaking at least, to what their competitors do. At least it’s with the same intention in mind. It wouldn’t be annoying at all if Verizon would come off their high horse and be honest about it. In fact, I would even respect them quite a bit if they came right out on their TV commercials and said, “We currently offer FTTH with no throttling or bandwidth caps so you should sign up today. Be aware though that if you sign up today, we may introduce a 1GB per month transfer cap tomorrow. Then again, we may not. It’s your gamble”.

I guess the lesson here is that TOS are better left unread. Now I know that not only can I not generate “excessive traffic”, download pornography or watch it on TV, post off-topic messages on forums or message boards, or do anything, “harmful to the…Internet generally or other Internet users”, but I’m also not allowed to

exceed the bandwidth usage limitations that Verizon may establish from time to time for the Service, or use the Service to host any type of server. Violation of this section may result in bandwidth restrictions on your Service or suspension or termination of your Service.

How frightening. If I exceed my bandwidth limit the punishment is the imposition of a bandwidth limit!

In all seriousness though, I can’t fucking wait until the installation is complete. This will be one of the best days of my life.

I am finally getting FiOS

FTTH

FTTH

There is now virtually zero doubt about it. I can say with almost complete certainty that I will have FiOS at some point within the next one to three months.

Verizon has been digging the bejesus out of the building, to use what I find to be a surprisingly charming phrase, making a lot of noise and dust while they’re at it. This is, of course, all perfectly fine with me since it means we will all be getting FiOS in the apartment complex soon. At one point they even screwed up the plumbing and broke something, causing the whole building to smell like sewage for a day or so, until the janitor used some powerful air freshener thing that smelled like some kind of scented candle, which was almost as bad. Tenants received notification in July that they’d begin the wiring work at some point in September and that service should be offered soon after that. I was skeptical about taking that at face value, since the last time any upgrade to the building wiring was done were at least eleven or twelve years ago when the place was wired for Time Warner cable TV and Earthlink cable Internet (the only non-ADSL ISP available here for the entire time; not even Road Runner is available).

Anyway, there’s no need to dwell on the miserable Internet situation of the past anymore; it’s in the past. The future is FTTH! This will be almost as good as living inside a datacenter. Or Korea. I just hope that Verizon doesn’t introduce any bandwidth caps. It seems inconceivable to me that they offer a service like this and don’t either have a bandwidth cap or throttle customers who do more than check email once a week. As far as I understand it, most FTTH providers simply have no choice but to have very low bandwidth caps. I know at least that that’s the norm for most ISPs in Japan. It just seems too good to be true that I could have 5Mbps upstream (or, dare I hope, maybe even more?) and be allowed to actually upload at that rate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I can understand why my ISP doesn’t currently care that I upload at 384Kbps 24/7, since that’s probably not even making a dent in their network, but 5Mbps is not small potatoes, as it were.

I’m alarmed because I read someone complaining somewhere the other day about a newly-introduced transfer cap for FiOS in his or her service area. He or she didn’t mention what area that actually was though so it was more frightening than actually informative. It was pretty restrictive though if I remember correctly. I don’t recall the actual number, but I do remember that it was significantly less than 200GB (more than 100GB though). The whole point of FiOS is to upload something like 30GB a day, so a 200GB monthly transfer cap (where both uploads and downloads are counted equally) is complete and utter fail. It more or less defeats the purpose of having a fast connection for the end-user, though I don’t deny that it’s most likely completely rational for the ISP. If I were an FTTP provider, I’d probably also use transfer caps and some insane “network management” techniques to prioritize content that my investors had an interest in.

The fact that it may be rational and understandable, however, doesn’t mean I’d be any less devastated if I were affected by these practices as a customer. Of course, the terms of the contract are not yet available for me to read, since the installation is not yet finished and, as such, I’m not technically even a potential customer yet.

I shouldn’t jinx things though. If I just think positively I know they won’t throttle or cap me. I’ll expect the best. Besides, Verizon says right on their website that they don’t throttle, at least:

Some Internet providers will resort to “throttling,” or slowing down your Internet connection if they decide your usage is too heavy. Verizon doesn’t. FiOS is always blazingly fast.

I really hope they offer the 35Mbps/35Mbps plan to me. It’s not listed on the main Verizon web site though, so I’m a bit concerned that maybe it’s discontinued. If it has been discontinued, then hopefully I can get the 25/25 plan. It’s cheaper than the “best” plan, which is 50/20.

One of the biggest questions about FiOS I’ve had though since I first heard about it has been, “How the hell do they install those ONT things?”. Verizon’s goal is to have every single NYC resident (yes, all five boroughs) eligible to receive FiOS service by 2014. Why they would choose a place where so many people live in apartment buildings was a mystery to me though. It seemed like a bad idea as far as I could tell. How do you do that? Do you just drill a hole in the customer’s wall, thread the line in and then mount the ONT in the poor bastard’s living room? Actually, at least in my case, they have a better method. Since I live underground, they just went ahead and put the ONT on the outisde wall of the building. They did drill a small hole above the door from the outside into the building (not the door to my apartment though) and that’s how the ONT is connected to the inside wiring. I already have a hole in my living room wall for cable TV/Internet so presumably that’s how I’ll get connected to the ONT (otherwise it’ll have to be through the window!).

FiOS ONT NYC

This makes some degree of sense I suppose. While the ONT is, in fact, smaller than I thought it would be, it would still be a pain to have this thing in my living room. Of course, even if I did have to have it in my living room it would be a small price to pay for true FTTH, but with it outside, things are even nicer. The downside is that it’s gonna be damned hard to access the ONT. That grid-looking thing above the ONT in the picture is the fire escape for the apartment one floor above me, so it’s quite high up there. I don’t own a ladder either, so that’ll be annoying. Hopefully I won’t have to mess with it myself. This is definite progress though.