Blog Post

Verizon FIOS insures future monoply

A reader who is a happy Verizon’s FIOS customer left an interesting comment on one of the older posts. He said he loved the service, but decided to save some cash and wanted to switch back to the older technologies.

My problem is that Verizon monopolizes your house once FIOS is installed. By removing your copper wire you are now forced to stay with Verizon until other carriers have fiber optic capabilities. I did not find out about this until I wanted to switch back to DSL to save some money. They said “Nope, can’t”

I have not heard of this before, and if you have, then drop me a note, or leave a comment. It is understandable given that they are spending a lot of money rolling out the service, but why rip out the copper?

63 Responses to “Verizon FIOS insures future monoply”

  1. Way to go John B. With the increased attention that Verizon FiOS has been getting about this issue, they are more open to allowing the copper to be temporarily disabled vs. uninstalled, if someone knows to ask. I wish more people would ask: “I want to continue to have the option of purchasing a DSL circuit from a competitor should I not be happy with FiOS.” I think legally they have to allow it, but from a marketing perspective, it is not good for them.

    However, most people don’t know what’s going on until it is too late. I blogged about how “FiOS Does Inconspicuous “No Turning Back To DSL” Disclosure”. Just click on my name to see that post.

  2. John B.

    I have FiOS, and I still have my copper. How? When the installer came I asked him not to remove the copper. He said nobody ever asked that before. He asked me why, and I told him that I want to continue to have the option of purchasing a DSL circuit from a competitor should I not be happy with FiOS. He said that was a good idea, and left the four pairs I had to the pole.

  3. what I would like to know is some details on the contract, i know Verizon is a stickler for 1-year contracts that you have to pay an arm and a leg for. Also would like some information on the taxes…one of the reason I stopped doing business with them 2-years ago, don’t want to be paying for any Spanish War tax or my wife needs a new boat and my mistress needs a new car taxes that they are famous for. I mean if I have to pay $200 for them to come service my line I should not be paying taxes every month plus a line maintainence fee every month. So if any of you happy and non-happy Fios users out there can give me some info (North VA preffered) it would be appreciated. Also a freind of mine claims that they keep loosing the tv portion and always have to reset the service, anyone experiencing this?

  4. With all the discussion about loss of copper I didn’t see mention that fiber requires power. So, what is the risk impact from loss of power for sustained periods of time (e.g. terrorist attack or natural) and the always on copper line now is not anymore?

  5. I don’t see what the big problem is with them removing the copper. I’ve seen plenty of people get away with them leaving the copper alone. Me? I’m having them remove the copper. I believe in fiber. Fiber is the future. It’s about time we (the US) are beginning to use this technology.

    On a side note: I’ve been waiting for FiOS to come to my home for well over a year now. Even signed up for them to e-mail me when it does become available. To my delightful surprise, a Door 2 Door Verizon employee came a few weeks ago and announced Verizon was going to be implementing its FiOS technology here in my neighborhood (Northern VA). Verizon is going to be coming to my home next week to install it and I am extremely elated as I have been waiting for this technology for so long.

    And the best part? I pay DSL prices ($15 a month!) until my current subscription ends in 7 months time for 5MB/2MB UP that’s a terrific deal. I am happy with Verizon and I am always going to support a company that’s willing to invest in new technology to provide the best Internet experience. I don’t really NEED the improved speed but I do want it, and I’m glad Verizon is giving it.

  6. celticpride

    you guys are making me nervous with all these complaints,as i am having fios internet installed next week 7- 17-06. oh well heres hoping for the best.

  7. Neighbor has FIOS FUll Monty installed. Wife works for Verizon. CABLE wire extant from ground to where it was disconnected from lightning arrestor. Coax from FIOS box now connects to arrestor and thence to the house. New CAT5 cable runs from box to hole in soffit, presumably to location of router. Looks like Verizon ran that cable. Copper POTS cable still comes up from ground to Verizon demarc. CAT5 cable from FIOS box runs into the demarc. Presumably pairs from UG cable have been insulated and stored (to use telco terminology). Beige wire from FIOS box runs thru new hole drilled in wall to power supply mounted on wall in garage. The original cable and phone wire coming from the street (all buried service here) has not been removed.

    My install date is 14 July. Verizon says they will NOT migrate my phone lines to FIOS as I ordered a NEW service, NEW account and did not order phone service. I’ve ordered 15/5 data service and basic television (130 or so channels) with three STB for my analog TVs. No premium channels ordered. I have two copper POTS lines coming to house from Verizon. One line has DSL on it, but I do not pay Verizon for DSL. The circuit belongs to my Internet provider. Verizon doesn’t bill me for data and cannot take down the circuit without permission from the owner of the circuit. I’ve got a recording of the conversation with Verizon sales, tech rep and “supervisor” each told point blank that if they migrated my telephone lines from the copper this would be a deal breaker. Each responded that POTS lines would not be touched, as the FIOS order does not reference my phone service in any way. So we will see what we will see.
    I will definitely be home on install day with a large blunt instrument handy. When they get here they will find a standard telco style backboard installed on garage wall inside, a properly drilled hole with conduit and weatherseal, (rather a hole in the brick stuffed with silicone seal), a length of CAT6 cable sufficient to go through the hole to the box outside, MilSpec grade terminations and tools for same. I’ve got a WINXP hayburner computer to use for setting up the Wireless AP/Router they are providing. Once they prove the wired and wireless connections function, I will take it from there, thank you very much. I have no desire for them to install software of any kind on the computers on my network. There is a dedicated 110v outlet on the backboard, and a place for my own UPS which will feed their battery box. Why this, you ask? I understand that when local power fails, only the telephone service is supplied by the battery. I’ll investigate this further. I have a UPS which should run the system for about 36 hours.

    So we shall see what we shall see. I’ll report back when the dust settles.
    — Doc

  8. “..regardless of what the unfortunate few have to gripe about their experiences.”

    I wonder if Dano realizes what one unhappy FiOS customer said would be EVERYBODY’s experience with FiOS: “..he was unhappy with the “digging up on his property”, the battery replacement annual costs, the “huge box nailed to his house”, and the potential loss of web and phone service if the dead battery isn’t replaced quickly.” See =

    Check out this article on why all the recent telco mergers “mean more services but not necessarily cheaper prices” for consumers =

  9. Verizon seems to be the only company spending millions upon millions of dollars to provide YOU with a trio of digital services. Telephony, Data, Video. If and when another company tries to overlay an entire network and undercuts Verizons prices and offers better services we all will be on that band-wagon. Well, maybe no one reading this will be alive by then but hey your kids or perhaps their kids will be around to make those choices. Long Live the “here and now” which equates to long live VERIZON. Verizon F.I.O.S. crushes any other service in this country…regardless of what the unfortunate few have to gripe about their experiences. Make educated choices looking at the big picture.

  10. Quite an interesting discussion. I work for many governments that are evaluating FiOS franchise requests, and who face the loss of local controls (including most consumer protections) if Verizon, AT&T, and the other phone companies get national or statewide franchising bills passed.

    The loss of copper is a concern to local governments for exactly the reasons stated in this thread: Loss of the ability to return to copper, and the loss of competition (since the FCC has ruled that telephone companies who offer service via fiber need not offer their fiber to competitors as they must now do with their copper last miles.

    A close look at the terms of the FiOS franchises (many are posted at shows that Verizon is betting on national or no franchising.

    When the public wakes up, they’ll find that competition has been reduced…not just video, but also for alternative telco providers.

    Jonathan Kramer

  11. Wake up Verizon is a monopoly!!! the cable industry doesnt come close to the profits of Verizon. And yes once they are the only choice, Im sure prices will go down, yea right. We are so lucky to have a Big Monopoly company like this to look out for us.

  12. Ramukaka

    Are you not eligible to unbundle the Verizon triple play package? Meaning just get phone and internet only and tell them you can only sensibly get the TV part of the package once your Direct TV contract expires. At that point, they might be able to further assist you in the interest of their business (aka less support & customer service phone calls from customers). When they came to install the Fiber TV, was there no documentation they provided (or something to sign off on, like a work order)? Also when the Direct TV people showed up, did they not provide any documentation? One thing I can note about most large corporations is that you need to keep a paper trail for yourself that they can somehow reference/crosscheck with their massive consumer databases across multiple business units. Sometimes even within the same company, one department does not have much authority or communication with another; this is especially the case when work is outsourced to contractors and consulting companies. I suggest if you can find a liason type of person within the company that likely has contact with all three sides (phone, broadband and TV). At this point, he/she might handle your case individually and do some/most of the legwork for you. When they sell you the packages, those are generally call center reps who are not completely aware of things on the backend; they follow case and script. Generally the cancellation department of any company usually keeps in touch with most/all of the respective groups. Heck I still get CDs and phonecalls from AOL trying to offer me their services; I haven’t had their services since about 7 years. I remember when I tried cancelling with them…they tried to solve all my problems. When I called tech support and customer service, I was getting nowhere. All of a sudden they’re offering me X number of free months and working to resolve the issue. I just had it at that point and gave them the boot and also learned of other internet options available to me. Keep in mind, their biggest competitor are the cable companies and any mention of you switching over to them should help “escalate your trouble tickets.” Good luck.

  13. I noticed the blog from Lewisville, and have a somewhat different story. We moved in Nov, 2005. In moving our Verizon service we were sold the Fios package of phone, internet and TV. At that time the equipment was not in place to put Fios TV down the fiber, so a DIRECTV team shows up to install a dish. We finally got Verizon to install the fiber TV link, which is nice, but when I asked them about cutting off the DIRECTV service (we were getting billed from DIRECTV seperately), they said we had to contact DIRECTV. Of course DIRECTV claims we have a full year commitement and won’t discontinue monthly billings. Verizon has gone stupid and claims to know nothing about arranging for the DIRECTV service. I’m am now looking for a throat that I can grasp with my hands and squeeze very tightly till this issue is resolved.

  14. Om, I wished I had found this post of yours before I posted my 11/11/05 blog post entitled “‘F’ Stands For ‘FiOS’ and ‘Frustration'”. It is quite lengthy now due to two “ATTENTION UPDATES” ON 1/4/06 AND 1/8/06 that are near the bottom of the post.

    I have been in contact with Verizon about many issues since 7/05, and I think you’ll find that my post possibly answers the technological and marketing reasons of why Verizon is doing what they are doing.

    I have linked to this post in mine. I certainly liked the great comments you have here, and I also linked to two of them ! THANKS.

    Bill Kelm

  15. I have read all the posts, most positive. I will be the first to note a problem. I have just installed FIOS on Dec 21. I have the 2/15 service. The broadband connection, so far has been excellent. The problem I have been having is, when some people call my house they get a busy signal, even when both of my phone lines are not in use. I have 2 phone lines, if line 1 is busy it will go to line 2. I called verizon. they said they checked and they say the problem is in my house. I have not changed anything except removing the dsl filter. I have 2 radio shack 2 line phones and 2 wireless phones. Perhaps the probelm is in the phones, but how would my phone selecively give busy signals to some callers and not others? If anyone has had a similar problem or especailly a solution. I would like to hear.

  16. Fios is the best way to deliver the best quality voice Video and Data, Verizon is investing for a better future for the Company and its stock owners.Their Fios services are great!!!! and Verizon has the experience (something that you cannot buy). The Cable companies made a big mistake when they desided not to invest in the new technologies. By the time they wake up it will be too late. I feel Verizon is far ahead now
    like a true Leader and soon there will be no more competition……we will just call Verizon for all of our telecomunication needs and there is nothing wrong with that…….Verizon earned it!!!

  17. Fiber Tech

    Another note: We will and DO install FiOS service if someone simply wants to upgrade from copper to Fiber. We have many “Voice Only” service orders. As long as the service is passing their home, they can get it. As a matter of a fact, some new developments opt for a “Fiber Only” ifrastructure. This is known as a “Green Field.” There is no copper at all and many customers order voice only. I hope that these posts clear some things up. I am by no means disgruntled and do indeed respect the opinions of others. I understand that many people have a beef with Verizon, I have a few myself and I’m an employee!!! : ) However, this FiOS technology is absolutely the way of the future in the world of broadband. Nothing travels faster than light and it’s bandwidth is only restricted by the speed of the equipment connected to it.

  18. Fiber Tech

    Hi, I am a Lead Verizon FiOS Tech in Pennsylvania. I was reading all of the comments in the above “Posts” and just wanted to take a second to clarify some things. We do indeed remove the copper when we install the new service to your home. The reason for this, the only reason, is so that Joe Blo can’t go out and buy a “LOT” of phone numbers and supply a dial tone (Over a network that Verizon payed to build.) over lines and equipment which we are forced to lease to them at a lower cost than than it costs us to run and maintain them. As for the monopoly, there is no law that says a willing company can’t go out and build it’s own network to supply service to it’s customers. Verizon had to start from scratch at one point. Also, we ARE ABSOLUTELY NOT required to offer a voice grade signal over our FiOS network. If COVAD (i.e) wants to give you voice service after we install FiOS, the must run their own line. As for the maintenence issue. FiOS greatly reduces maintenence over our network. 90% of all of our maintenence is water related. No matter how you slice it or how well you protect it, water will ALWAYS find its way into your cable. This is a bad thing when you are dealing with electricity as everyone knows. With FiOS however, water is not an issue. It is a non conductive material. You can never have static or a hum over FiOS unles the trouble is inside your home. You either have light or you don’t. If we get a trouble ticket on a FiOS customer it is almost always inside the house and very rarely in the network. If by some chance it is in the network, there are very few things that it can be. Usually, it’s a “Pole Hit” which removed the Fiber Optic Cable completely.

  19. Jesse Kopelman

    Arguing the merits of RBOC vs. Cableco is like arguing Hitler vs. Stalin. I think Comcast has better customer service than Verizon, but that is about the limit of my ability to praise them.

  20. Verizon will do whatever is most cost-effective.

    If you live in a neighborhood with underground plant, Verizon will leave the copper in the ground. It’s nice and safely out of the way, and they’re not going to pay installers to rip up your yard. All they’ll do is move the inside wiring from the NT to the ONT.

    If you live in a neighborhood with aerial plant, I could see Verizon removing the drop. It’s easy (read: “cheap”) enough to do, and it’s one less thing to worry about.

    Knowing how telcos think, I’m sure that someone at Verizon sat down and calculated the cost of removing aerial and underground copper drops in FiOS installs, calculated the expected incremental cost of maintenance activity due to inactive copper drops, and concluded that the most cost-effective decision was to remove aerial drops when they do FiOS installs.

  21. No question that Verizon is ripping up copper. In addition to taking away your ability to ever get lower cost DSL, it removes you ability to obtain competitive service from a COVAD or other comptitive LEC that leases copper to provide end user services. (Verizon is currently required to lease a “voice grade channel,” but it’s not clear that they actually do.)

    Note that Verizon’s claim to “reduce maintenance” costs is baloney. Verizon is also telling Wall Street that they will not install FiOS unless someone orders a fiber-based service, like video or high-speed. This “success based cap-ex” is their answer to why they won’t go broke installing, but it also undermines Verizon’s claim that it will save on maintenance. For as long as Verizon only installs to people who buy additional services, they will be maintaining TWO NETWORKS — one the old copper network and one FiOS, all in the same neighborhood.

    Amazingly, Verizon also touts that it will stop investmment in maintenance of copper. What this means for grandma and others who don’t have the money for FiOS is unclear, but given the deteriorating services, it cannot be good.

  22. Citizen Kane

    Why rip out the copper? Because telcos pay tax on assets…rip out the asset, no tax. Makes sense to me. Lowers the cost for everyone. Let’s be a little reasonable here.

  23. Benedict Evans

    If you go and look at Verizon’s investor presentations at the time the launched FOIS, they made the point that half the benefit of FTTH is the lower maintainance costs – local loop fibre has lower maintainance costs than local loop copper (partly because with fibre there’s no powered equipment between the exchange and the customer premises). If they leave the copper in place they don’t get that benefit.

  24. David Oliver

    I am a very satisfied FiOS customer and, yes, Verizon uninstalled the copper from house-to-street in my installation. The fiber install was very professionally done (from house to street and in the house), while my old copper seemed to be to be “hanging by a thread”, probably in place for many many years.

    I agree with J Gales that, once you get FiOS, it is hard to imagine going back to DSL. In my subscriber zone (Westchester County NY) the charge is only marginally higher for fiber and of course the performance is tremendously higher. My VoIP service is very good (using the Vonage/Linksys router) as well, so I can not imagine going back to POTS either. VoIP over fiber + high-speed data over same fiber – isn’t this the Holy Grail (at just $44/month, $34 if you keep your POTS service with Verizon)?

    Regarding the “monopoly” worry – I see none. My local cable operator would be more than happy to give me free installation of a “triple play” package (voice, data, content) as soon as I become dis-satisfied with Verizon. However, is it not also true that Verizon – as the incumbent RBOC – is required to provide “universal service” in its coverage area? If Verizon of its own accord has torn out your copper but you become dis-satisfied with their FiOS data service, it would seem that Verizon would STILL have to provide you POTS service through the fiber or de-install it and give you your copper back.

  25. I used to have FiOS at my home in Lewisville, TX – a townhome community where Verizon laid only fiber, no copper anywhere in the community.

    I had the 15MB/5MB connection with Vonage over the line. It was FANTASTIC!!! I did so fricking much, unbelievable…..

    I was actually saving money since I took the data only service for FiOS + Vonage= 65 incl taxes…

    I had to move to WA and I hated selling the house and getting back to DSL (shiate!!!) :(

  26. I just had the oddest conversation with Verizon, I was checking FiOS availability and my address wouldn’t come up in their data base. I’m in Sunnyvale CA, pretty much the heart of Silicon valley. After getting bumped around a bit I spoke with somebody in their fiber depart who told me they are not planing to roll fiber to Sunnyvale, or the surrounding areas, ever, no plans for any of the cities.
    Can this be right? Some sort of non compete deal with SBC or something? Weird and sad, since my SBC dsl is pretty substandard performance wise and… well lets just I have had some unfortunate experiences with Comcast.

  27. I’m a FiOS user and I love it. Not sure how you could change back to DSL after using it because it just plains SMOKES. But here’s what I’ve heard…

    Verizon has EOL’d copper in my area. It’s going all fiber. From what I understand, all new installs will be fiber (even for just pone service) and anytime they can they will switch customers over, like when FiOS gets intsalled. Since the POTS is giving way to VoIP this just makes sense. It’s all about speed and no way you slice it is copper going to beat FTTP in a speed test.

  28. Yes. I’ve seen this on Broadband Reports forums and on Vonage forums. My understanding is that they take the copper away if you’re already a Verizon phone customer, but that they might leave it in place if you get your phone line from another provider. If you want the copper line re-installed, then you’ll have to get it done by another provider.