FiOS Day 2 — post installation checklist

3128551594_2a367f7b7a_oWe have FiOS now. The installers from Verizon left at about 2:30 yesterday afternoon, with handsful of cookies from my wife and thanks from me. They started work about 10 am. In the four and a half hours (including a lunch break) in between, they:

  • Installed a new wall box (shown) to take the fiber from the street and convert its signal to TV, Internet, and phone
  • Ran phone, WAN, and coax into my media panel so that all existing phone, Ethernet, and cable hookups in the house worked
  • Leveraged the existing basement drop to connect the living room jack–the only one not already hooked into the media panel–into the media panel
  • Installed a new wireless base station
  • Ran fiber into the house and lit up the whole network
  • Pulled off the old copper line and house-side box

So: Now gone is all but the last remnant of Comcast. Their box is still on the side of the house, but the three splitters that were between their box and the wall are gone. The new TV signal goes directly from the fiber into my media wiring box and gets split once across the five live jacks in the house. No wonder the picture is better. The phone works well too.

On the other hand, I’m still working through some Internet issues. I couldn’t get my existing base station, an AirPort Extreme, to see the new base station, so I shut it down temporarily–taking my shared music drive offline. I also wasn’t able to get my two AirPort Express units, which provide networking for the printer and AirTunes to my living room stereo, hooked into the new network, but I suspect that’s easily fixed once I get a little dedicated time.

The punchline? Using the SpeakEasy speed test, I recorded up to about 19.5 Mbps down and about 4.9 Mbps up, at multiple times during the day. That’s comparable to the Comcast up rate but about twice as fast as Comcast down.

FiOS day

It’s an exciting day here at the Jarrett house. The new drop that I mentioned on Friday is a fiber drop. We’re in the middle of a Massachusetts snowstorm, with another three to six inches on top of the ten we got yesterday, and Verizon, God bless ’em, is in my driveway getting ready to run fiber into my basement.

Now that’s service. I don’t know what it says about their customer acquisition metrics and their incentive comp that this guy is willing to trudge around my house and do this, but whatever it is, Harvard or someone should write a case study about it, ’cause it’s working.

What do I get with fiber? One line that replaces cable and phone, 20 Mbit/s down and 5 up, and finally I get to kick Comcast to the curb. Plus, as a bonus, the installer is going to clear out some of the muddle of cable splits that were a legacy of my incremental installation approach, and wire the living room off the central panel. Might even get Cat 5 up there by the time we’re done, who knows?

The number one reason I got FiOS out of that whole list, by the way, was not the speed. Even though it’s twice as fast as what we’re getting from cable right now. (It used to be four times as fast, but Comcast recently did a speed boost.) No, I’m excited because I finally get to give Comcast the finger for filtering Internet traffic based on what application you’re using, and for arbitrarily imposing bandwidth caps. Doesn’t matter if I wouldn’t hit those caps today; the way they made the announcement, the fact that you can’t know if you’re exceeding the caps until they cut you off, and the outrageousness of the fines, all mean that they have no idea how to deal with customers.

I don’t have illusions that Verizon is going to be perfect, but I think they’ll be better. I have evidence that suggests they will be.

By the way, here’s my Comcast speed test on a Sunday morning with no one else on the local loop. This is the best speed you get with Comcast. I’ll post an update once the FiOS numbers are in.