Consumers Need Advice: Verizon Service “Upgrade” Brought Negative Changes

Reader Adam Higley wrote in to ask the throbbing hive-mind of Consumerist readers for their wide-ranging expertise in solving an issue he’s having with his Verizon DSL service, after the local exchange was upgraded from copper to fiber. Ever since that upgrade, he finds he is unable to access certain web sites and forums — specifically, a private forum he set up for friends. The problem appears to be that Verizon has blocked certain ports on their end which they are absolutely unwilling to open, citing their refusal as a security measure. Does anyone have any decent advice for Adam?

Adam’s full story after the bracketed more.

Here’s my situation. I have been a Verizon DSL customer for a few years, and I recently set up a very small web forum running from my home, with a free dynamic DNS entry with Everything was working great, a few of my friends began to visit and make discussion, life was good.

Then around Thanksgiving, Verizon upgraded all the lines in my neighborhood from copper to fiber. This means that DSL ceases to be available, but that’s okay because we get a free upgrade to FIOS which has much greater bandwidth anyway, right? Unfortunately, unbeknownst to me their FIOS service includes a secret little present – they now actively block ports 80 and 443 from reaching my machine.

I contacted their technical support and was told that they can’t and won’t do anything about it. This is their policy with the faster internet connection, because allowing traffic on these ports at the higher speed allows customers to operate business websites withoutcoughing up their “business hosting” rates.

FIOS “residential”: dynamic IP address, ports 80 and 443 blocked, $30 /month

FIOS “business”: static IP address, all ports open, no other distinctions, $100 / month.

Unfortunately for my friends, I cannot pay an additional $70 / month to fix this problem for a vanity site that generates perhaps 10 significant posts a month, and even if I could I do not want to give it to a company that performs such a shady “free upgrade” which actually breaks my service.

I’m at a loss as to how to proceed. What would you recommend? I simply forwarded port 81 at my router to port 80 on my web server, and many of
my friends are now able to reach the site by adding a :81 to my url, but some are not and this really isn’t a very good long term solution.

So any information or suggestions are appreciated. If nothing else, maybe people should know about this policy of Verizon’s before that company changes over their service! We were given essentialy no options and no information that indicated any details about the new policy.

Thank you.