I am finally getting FiOS



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!).


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.