I gave in, and I'm glad of it. I have received dozens of Verizon FIOS ads in the mail in recent months. Verizon apparently installed high-speed fiber optic cabling on my street some time ago and has been conducting carpet-bombing advertising in the neighborhood ever since. I received at least one such ad in the "snail mail" each week. The company offers very high-speed Internet connections for $29.99 a month, less than what I have been paying for a cable modem broadband connection.
I was generally happy with the cable modem broadband connection I already had. I realized that Verizon was a few dollars cheaper, but why change something that is working? I always threw the Verizon ads in the trash, as I do with most other ads.
A few weeks ago, however, I had a reason to examine the offers a bit more closely. A Verizon saleslady asked to visit the house personally to explain the differences of fiber optic Internet and telephone coverage. Once she arrived, she pointed out some things that I had not noticed in the ads. (Admittedly, I had only glanced at the printed ads.) She left with a signed agreement, and a Verizon technician installed the fiber optic connection into the house this week. After he worked in the basement for about an hour, I now surf the web at 20 megabits per second. Wahoo! Even better, my total costs actually dropped by $30.00 a month.
I should have paid more attention to those ads; I wasted several hundred dollars by delaying this decision!
High speed Internet connectivity is a luxury, not a necessity. I am sure I could get by with dial-up. However, I must admit that I really like this luxury. Having said that, I can now tell you that I now enjoy a higher level of luxury at a lower cost than before.
For the past seven years, I have used a broadband connection provided by the local cable company. It seemed to work well and had a one megabit/second download speed, but only 256 kilobytes/second upload speed. It sometimes ran slower than that, as proven by testing at SpeakEasy.net. This speed is rather typical of cable modems and is, indeed, roughly twenty times the speed of dial-up modems.
NOTE: DSL connections are typically a bit slower than cable modems.
A couple years ago I elected to upgrade to a higher-speed cable modem connection and ended up paying more money each month for the higher level of service.
We also have had one standard telephone line in the house for years.
The Verizon saleslady asked us how much we were paying each month for the telephone and for the cable broadband connection. After digging through old bills, we found the answers. She then pointed out that switching to Verizon FIOS fiber optic would result in an Internet connection that is ten times as fast as cable at 10 megabits and can be bundled with telephone service that has more features than we already had. Best of all, the combined price for both telephone and fiber optic connections would be $40.00 a month cheaper than what we have been paying. That's nearly $500 a year!
OK, I was hooked. We decided to switch. Then the saleslady pointed out that we could double the Internet speed to 20 megabits/second download (5 megabits/second upload) for an additional $10 a month. Like a drug addict, I quickly grabbed the "bigger hit." The monthly dollar savings dropped to only $30 a month, but we are now surfing the web at twenty times the speed of a typical cable modem and roughly 400 times the speed of a dial-up connection. Even better, our bills have dropped by $360 a year.
The fiber optic connection was made a few days ago, and I have tested the speed via SpeakEasy.net's speed test two or three times a day ever since. The download speed is consistent: it is always FASTER than 20 megabits/second. It peaked once at 21.9 megabits/second but usually shows about 20.3 to 21.0 megabits/second. While writing this article, I tested it again and achieved 20.4 megabits/second.
Upload speeds have been slightly disappointing, typically running at 4.0 to 4.5 megabits/second instead of the claimed 5 megabits/second. However, since that is sixteen times the speed that I had previously, I am not too concerned.
It is a bit early to determine the impact on the telephone service, if any. I think the calls are a bit more "hi fi" than they used to be but have no method of measuring the changes, if any. We are still using the same telephones in the house, but a new box in the basement converts the old-fashioned analog telephone signals to modern VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) digital signals before sending our voices over the fiber optic connection.
Unlike Skype and some other VoIP services, there is no need to keep a computer running in order to use the phones. The Verizon box in the basement silently provides all the functions needed. The same device also has a built-in battery backup so that telephone service will remain in operation for many hours during a power failure. Directory Assistance, 911 emergency calls, call waiting, and all other standard telephone features work the same as they always have.
I must admit that I like the telephone connection and love the higher-speed Internet connection. In hindsight, I am a bit dismayed that I ignored the possibilities for so long and therefore wasted $30 to $40 a month while surfing at slower speeds.
Here is my recommendation: don't ignore the ads. Even better, call and ask about options and prices that might not be mentioned in the ads. Don't ask about Internet service alone; check out the bundled pricing of Internet and telephone service together. In some areas, even television is delivered by fiber optic, finally providing competition for the local cable company. Competition is a good thing, typically resulting in lower prices for consumers.
Doubling the speed from ten to twenty megabits for only $10 a month is a bargain, in my mind. Chopping $360 or $480 off our annual bills is even better.
If Verizon is available in your area, check out http://www.verizon.com. If not available, check with your local telephone company and with independent companies to see if fiber optic is available where you live. Gather your old telephone and Internet bills to determine how much you have been spending monthly or annually. Then call your local fiber optic provider and ask for a price quote. You may be able to surf faster than ever and save $400 to $500 a year besides.
How fast is your present Internet connection? Go to http://speakeasy.net/speedtest to find out. Select the server that is closest to you.