Verizon: You Totally Need This Unnecessary FiOS Upgrade

Verizon really wants Sean to sign up for FiOS. Really, really wants him to sign up. He’s happy kicking it old-school with a regular old copper landline, and dumping the barrage of FiOS ads in the trash. So it was interesting when he got a letter apologizing for nonexistent “service issues” in his area and urging him to upgrade to the newer, shinier fiber optic network. The letter assures him that he can totally keep his current phone plan at its current price – even though the equivalent plan under FiOS is cheaper.

I’ve been getting bombarded by Verizon’s FIOS department with ads for the past couple of years. Everything from tabloid-sized glossies to letters to postcards. More insidious are the ones disguised to look like bills. Today I received one which has to be the worst of all (see attached).

verizon.jpg

There are no “service issues” with my phone line. It’s there as my insurance co requires my alarm system be monitored via traditional copper phone line. It works, otherwise the alarm system would have sent a trouble/service needed call via cell backup.

Note, they make NO mention that this “transition” actually subscribes me to FIOS, and at a crappy rate at that since FIOS voice plans are substantially less than copper-line plans. They also make NO mention that in “transferring” to FIOS, they remove my copper loop from their database, so I can’t get phone or internet service from another landline provider (CLEC).

I just thought other people out there should be aware of this. I’ve seen Verizon do quite a few dishonest things, but this is one of the worst. Especially permanently locking you into them as your sole provider for phone and internet service.

Well played, Verizon. Not just locking in customers, but as long as they’re upgrading phone lines, maybe ask customers whether they’re happy with their cable TV and their Internet service provider.

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  1. BettyCrocker says:

    I’d love to have Fios at our house… but we’re stuck with dsl that does have some issues when it’s rainy or windy.

    • vastrightwing says:

      The reason Verizon wants you off the copper is because Verizon must comply with old rules regarding those lines. Since they own the fiber and are not subject to the same rules, they are free to restrict the fiber the way they see fit. Once all the copper is down, I can guess that FIOS will take a sharp increase in rates and you won’t be able to choose a carrier other than Verizon.

  2. consumer420 says:

    We have been fios subscribers for a long time, and we actually have fios Internet and regular copper phone lines. That was actually convenient when our fios service went down during the Verizon strike, as we didn’t lose phone service. Haven’t heard anything from them about switching our phone service to fios.

    • Yacko says:

      I was under the impression, the moment you went FIOS, Verizon rips out the copper, gives you an interface box in the basement with a battery backup and puts you on their VOIP. Does anybody else know if what the poster says is standard or what I seem to think?

      • consumer420 says:

        What you are saying is standard now I believe. We have had it for a very long time, so our setup is a little different. When the tech came to fix our fios he was even confused as to why our phones still worked, and had to follow cables around to see we were still on traditional phone lines.

  3. MonkeyMonk says:

    I’m going to sound like a Verizon rep, but we’ve had FiOS triple-play for two years now and it’s hands down the best Internet/TV/Phone service I’ve ever owned — and at a far cheaper price than we previously had with our cable provider.

    That doesn’t really excuse the slimy behavior in the above letter but I would still recommend anyone with access to FiOS to jump all over it (at least for Internet and TV).

    • Bremma says:

      I’ve had the opposite issue in my past dealing with FiOS (from a price standpoint). The service was great, and I had TV and internet for a while, but found myself rarely using the TV service after a while. I tried to cancel just the TV twice.

      The first time they kept me by offering a 15 or 20 dollar credit, but I eventually put my foot down and said “No, I don’t want TV, just internet.”. But the internet was the same price as both together. I cancelled it, and started researching. I think at the time I was paying 60 or so for just internet (I think it was higher, but I do no recall). This was also the lowest tier speed of their internet. I found Comcast offering a higher speed service for a much lower promotional rate (30$ for 6 months, 45$ for the next 6, then up to a max of 60).

      I called FiOS to try to work with them to keep me as a customer. I liked the service, but I had a better offer elsewhere. When they wouldn’t budge, I cancelled and went to Comcast, and outside of a delay in installing, I had no issues. In fact, they will probably get used again once I move as Verizon 1. Does not have FiOS at the new house and 2. The ‘High Speed Internet’ highest speed is 3 MBPS, where that is the lowest tier I can get from Comcast (for cheaper without a promo)

      • MonkeyMonk says:

        What you’re describing is the beauty of competition. Yes, cable will nearly always offer a fantastic introductory rate to get you to switch from FiOS.

        In my case, FiOS was willing to negotiate and match the local cable co. (Cox) but I would imagine that this is on a per customer basis so YMMV.

        If you didn’t mind the hassle the cheapest option would probably be to switch ever two years between FiOS and the local cable so you could always take advantage of their introductory rate.

        • Bremma says:

          Yeah, I am aware. It just there does not seem to be a case where the service I want is cheaper from FiOS/Verizon than Comcast currently. I think Verizon here is more stubborn than yours. Regardless, was just tossing my 2 cents :) Glad FiOS is working for you, since it is a pretty slick service.

  4. Marlin says:

    I live in NoVA and Fios cost a lot more than the other options now. Dropped Fios and went with Cox.

    Wish Verzion would be more competitive.

    • HowardRoarksTSquare says:

      Yea but you went from FIOS to COX, so you’re getting what you pay for.

      Crappy DVR boxes that reset – a horrible on-demand guide/line-up – fewer HD channels and crappy internet.

      I’ll pay a bit more for my FIOS

      • Marlin says:

        no TV, only internet.

        I use Over the Air Digital for free. That and roku. Why pay for channels when there is so much already out there.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          yeah i got a sales call from TWC the other day asking who i use for my home phone and tv provider because i just have internet with them. i told her i don’t have a phone and i use roku for tv so i’m not interested in anything else. she didn’t even make a second try, just gave her mandatory end of call spiel and disconnected.

      • Eyegor says:

        Absolutely agree. All we could get was Comcast “service” and it was uniformly horrible. They throttled connections, had tons of outages and the latency traversing their network was laughable.

        We upgraded to FIOS and have been very happy. I have three times the bandwidth that I had before and no network latency issues.

  5. Straspey says:

    Last fall we had a nasty storm here which resulted in uprooted trees, downed power lines, etc.

    A large tree in front of my house became loosened from its roots and was leaning dangerously on the Verizon telephone pole right next to it as its only means of support – creating the possibility of ripping down the wires and main cable hub for our entire area.

    I called Verizon to report the issue (which was corrected the next day by the city, which removed the tree).

    During my conversation with the Verizon CSR, she asked me if there were any FiOS wires or boxes on the pole, and I told her that I wouldn’t know because I don’t have FiOS – I still have an old copper-wire land-line connection.

    To which she replied – after a moment of silence — “Which is why you’re able to talk to me right now, unlike the FiOS customers in your area.”

    I pay Cablevision for TV and Internet.

    I will never give up my Verizon copper-wire land-line.

    • benbell says:

      Hate to break the news to you but eventually you won’t have a choice. And no, you can’t say that Verizon can’t come on your property to replace the old Copper line.

    • Rachacha says:

      I have been a FIoS phone (and Internet and tv) customer for about 7-8 years now and it has been just as reliable as the old copper lines. The only outage I experienced was when students at the local college rioted and lit a bonfire in the road right under the communications lines. All Verizon and Comcast lines in the area were damaged.

  6. Yorick says:

    I had DSL with Verizon for over ten years (I relocated and they do not service this state). I never had a problem during inclement weather.

    However, the modem they provided me with originally eventually stop working properly, and I went thru a few months of trying to convince them to replace it. During that period, one of the CSRs told me that electrical interference from halogen streetlights outside my house was the source of my problems — this is bunk.

  7. shufflemoomin says:

    “There are no “service issues” with my phone line.” Can this guy read: “There have been landline service issues in you AREA recently… apologize IF you’ve been inconvenienced” It can’t possibly be pre-emptive customer service, can it? It must be a scam. /s

  8. VectorVictor says:

    “as my insurance co requires my alarm system be monitored via traditional copper phone line.”

    Sorry, but I call BS on this, as someone who has both an alarm system and FiOS service. Frankly, you can’t even get copper POTS lines in many of the neighborhoods in our city, because they’re that new and Verizon just went ahead and installed FiOS.

    If your insurance company is that archaic that they require a copper POTS line for your alarm system (and spell it out accordingly), then it’s time to shop for new insurance.

    • winnabago says:

      IP pone service is replacing POTS wherever possible, and they won’t run new copper in a FIOS neighborhood. The optical cable is easier to maintain (for Verizon). The only hiccup is during an extended power outage, as it seems the battery in the FIOS box only lasts a few hours, where it used to be possible to make calls as long as the generator at the switching station lasted.

      Anyway, I would think that a simple chat with the insurance co would remove this requirement. Not having POTS service is a very common situation. Or consider other options for home security? Do they have monitoring over 3G yet? Is the OP required to have security where he lives? Sounds like something a condo association or HOA would require.

  9. u1itn0w2day says:

    First save THAT letter. Second ask to see any additional paperwork BEFORE you agree to a switch to FIOS. I have a suspicion this is like one of those door buster introductory offers where the rates go up after 6 months.

    Sounds like Verizon is getting ready to sell off the copper plant in that area. If Verizon wanted to they would alreay have you on fiber. Their outside plant or how they get dialtone to house/neighborhood is their problem & decision. They might have to inform you but if you have a POTS line you still have to be charged as a POTS customer.

    After the divestiture in the 1984 there were still people with an old party line/rate even though they were on a their own copper. As long as NO/ZERO changes were/are made by the customer they can keep that rate. As soon as a change is made all bets are off.

    I wouldn’t volunteer for squat.

  10. kingofmars says:

    I wonder what state the OP lives. Here in MD there are plans to move more people to fios, even if it means giving them the old copper line rate. Why?
    1. Moving to fios means the customer is considered a VoIP customer. VoIP customers are not part of a regulated utility. This gets VZ out from under the public service commission’s authority.
    2. It costs less in maintance. Many of these areas have really old copper lines. The cost of hanging new copper is the same as hanging fiber.
    3. If a certain percentage of total customers in the state are VoIP, that means Verizon doesn’t have to support copper any more

  11. Coyote says:

    Just because YOU aren’t having issues with your copper loop doesn’t mean others in your area aren’t. My parents gave up on landline service because theirs would fail every time it rained hard, even after years of attempts by Verizon to fix it. Their neighbors are fine.

    “they make NO mention that this “transition” actually subscribes me to FIOS, and at a crappy rate at that since FIOS voice plans are substantially less than copper-line plans. “

    FIOS plans are less? how is this a bad thing? Also, the letter flat out says “Same voice service and same rate”. Sounds to me like they are trying to grandfather peope in.

    “Especially permanently locking you into them as your sole provider for phone and internet service.”

    You still have your choice of wireless or cable providers for phone and/or internet.

    Copper is obsolete. Let’s face it, there’s going to come a day when new construction will not have copper loop run to it. Fiber and coax will be your choices. If your alarm requires a copper loop all the way to the exchange and won’t function with VoIP or FIOS (or just use the damn cell modem it already has!) you need to bug your alarm company for an upgrade, because your alarm is obsolete too. If your insurance company is the one asserting the need for a landline, you need to explain to them the reason the alarm system has a cell modem is so it can function without one.

  12. PhiTauBill says:

    Interesting indeed. Considering that they have all but completely suspended their FIOS rollout, and most evidence points to a desire to abandon wireline service (both copper and fiber) altogether long-term in favor of wireless, seems kinda silly. Of course, the cynic in me thinks perhaps there’s a concerted effort to remove potential competition from successors in interest to their copper infrastructure, one pole at a time…

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      That’s what I’m thinking. Landline period is the new old copper.

      As many problems as they have with wireless the physical plant doesn’t seem to need the constant maintenance. If they do send a tech or two up a tower or to a roof those repairs/adjustments last longer than the landline money holes, poles and runs as the overtime hound landline techs call them. Must admit at this point in Verizon especially that northeast and west coast the wireless network is around the 30 year mark.

  13. tacitus59 says:

    I have been getting plastered with FIOS junk mail and junk phone messages; I think I got that one too. I ignored it; at some point they might force an upgrade to Fiber optic. Of course I do get the occassional important service message in the mail from Comcast where they want to sell me more as well.

  14. SilverSTreak says:

    Its Verizon’s way of getting rid of the copper POTS. They want to make room in their offices for more modern equipment. You can bet that once they’ve gotten rid of all the copper lines they WILL raise prices.

    I had DSL from another carrier, but over my Verizon copper lines. Whne I complained about my speeds my carrier said they could upgrade me from 1.5 MB to 3 MB upload speeds. When they did the “upgrade” suddenly my DSL was broken and the ISP said it was on the Verizon end. After a week of no service and with no resolution in sight, I went with High Speed Cable and got a phone/internet package that had more features for less money than I had been paying Verizon and my ISP before.

  15. stebu says:

    A) As others pointed out, the letter isn’t explicitly saying the OP had problems
    B) The OP could have actually had some problems and not known it.
    C) I love my FIOS, and lord it over my non-FIOS friends.

  16. hmburgers says:

    When you look at the cost savings for Verizon associated with FIOS, most think of not having to install expensive copper, etc…

    But I think that electricity is another piece. When you have FIOS they install their Optical Network Terminal (ONT) in your home. This device is plugged into your power, it consumes about 20W 24/7. I’m curious what sort of a large scale power savings Verizon is able to see by disconnecting customers… they no longer have to provide indefinite backup power to copper phone lines, etc… or at least they can possibly centralize the power generation a bit more than was possible with old phone lines…

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      electricity

      Exactly, they shifted the cost of powering their network to the customer. Most people don’t think about but I heard first generation modems & boxes were jacking electric bills over 10 dollars a month in some cases.

      But the same costs that delayed larger deployments of fiber are still there mainly in equipment. Fiber was doable by the 1990s but the cost of the equipment included 40K fiber splicing machines and 500 dollar circuts board-at least 2 required per customer, one in the co and the other out at or near the customer. Alot of circut boards are still up there in price. And even on Verizon’s side of the network there are electric costs because there is more equipment involved. And you still need control boards for the actual equipment let alone the dialtone.

      Too bad. If copper is properly maintained & spliced up you can do data but Verizon and the cry baby bells stopped paying attention to it by the 1990s under the premise that fiber would eventually be deployed. So for basically 2 decades the cry baby bells played dutch boy with a copper wire networks that should’ve been replaced by the 1990s. Throw in union-management problems & policies repairs and maintenance of the copper network deteriorated even more. Verizon knows about and wants no parts of the mess they help create.

    • kingofmars says:

      0.005 amps per phone line. About 3.6 kWhours per line per year. At least in a DMS office. Power is handled by the local power company. But when commercial power is lost, the system immediately switches over to a back up. The battery backup only lasts for about an hour, but it’s only really there to give the Diesel generator enough time to power up. The generator provides the main power backup. Each Central office has a large diesel tank that is kept pretty full at all times.

  17. icerabbit says:

    The thing I have yet to understand is that, when a certain telco has the phone line monopoly in town, how said telco legally can eliminate standard phone lines?

    A basic copper phone line cost the customer $25-30/mo and people with public assistance $10-$15. Basic DSL options are available for $20-25/mo. So for $30/mo someone on minimal income can have basic local calling and basic DSL. Add OTA TV or basic cable for $20 … and you can be comfortable with 3 basic services for $50.

    Now Verizon has installed FIOS in certain towns & neighborhoods and suddenly subscribers are facing over twice the cost, because it can only be FIOS. $70/mo for a two-bundle. Want TV? $99 introductory price.

    Now, I’m not denying that $99/mo for three isn’t a good deal; but some people can’t afford that much for their monthly services; when they were used to getting service for $50.

    I’ve faced this twice now with retired family members: no more basic phone, no basic Verizon DSL (runs $20/mo) … FIOS only, at a substantially higher cost.

    Oh, and when the power goes out in your neighborhood, so does your phone line. Apparently after a few hours the local equipment runs out of juice too, just like the battery box strapped to the house.

    • Willow16 says:

      We had no phone twice last year – once when the power went out for a hurricane and once when the power went out for the freak October snow storm when trees were falling everywhere. The phone lasted for a few hours but once the battery backup died that was it. When we had it installed we were quoted a much longer battery time than we actually get (about 4 hours). For us it’s not such a big deal because we have cell phones and would periodically check voicemail on the landline but if that’s your only phone you’re stuck.

  18. Lyn Torden says:

    FiOS based phone service does NOT let you dial out to legacy (slow) modems. If you have to be able to do that for whatever reason, do NOT change to FiOS, or cable, or even DSL. You CAN have those services separate but you need to keep the copper pair for the modem. Fewer and fewer people need that these days, but some still do.

    In some cases alarm services also need it, but they are migrating to internet.

    Verizon wants to get rid of copper because it … and not fiber … is mandated to be shared.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      Good Point. The copper network is the regulated mandated utility service. The fiber is considered an optional service in most cases.

      That’s why you should keep a pots line because it’s backed by tougher regulation while fios is backed by a contract that you agree to.

    • Crim Law Geek says:

      I’m calling BS on this. I have FIOS phone service and my fax machine (which is the same as a modem) dials out and receives just fine.

  19. BillKula says:

    This is Bill Kula, a national Verizon spokesman commenting on the original post and many of the comments.

    First, thanks to Sean and the other posters for the comments and feedback. Sean received this letter from us because there have been some service problems in his area.

    While he may not have had service issues (and we’re certainly glad of that), we’re offering residents in his area an opportunity to switch their telephone service from copper over to our fiber network, at no charge to make the transition and at the same rate, which might help resolve some of the issues his neighbors have experienced.

    Customers in the area do not need to order Verizon’s FiOS Internet and TV service – they can keep the service they have now, but we will deliver it over fiber.

  20. hoosierdaddy22304 says:

    I appreciate Verizon’s restraint in not establishing a new “Nature Call” fee of 99 cents every time you visit the bathroom, that can only be avoided by either 1) paying a $175.00 Early Termination fee or 2) just holding it until your two-year contract expires. Thanks.

  21. Major Tom Coming Home says:

    Verizon FIOS service is probably better than that offered by my cable company, but everyone I know who has used them has had billing problems and lousy customer service. I’m staying with the lesser evil and not switching to them unless Brighthouse really blows it again.