Friday, July 30, 2010

On switching to FIOS...(on hold)

As I write this, I'm on hold with the Verizon toll free service number my install tech left for me. I also left a message with some guy in Danvers he told me to call if there's a problem.

Those familiar with my other site, LynnHappens, know I sometimes upload council meetings longer than your average feature length film. I had been having problems with Comcast's upload speeds sometimes slowing down to below dial-up speeds, so when FIOS recently became available in my building, I figured I'd give it a go.

When Comcast's broadband was working as advertised, it was actually faster than FIOS's lowest tier service. The problem was that it fluctuated wildly and their service techs were unable to identify a problem. I'd never know if it would take me all night to upload that council meeting, or just an hour or so. And lately, it was just crawling.

Thanks to neighbors trying it first, I didn't have a street full of trucks and a small Verizon Army working on my install. My tech just had to connect a thing or two in the basement, swap out my set top boxes and modem and I was good to go.

At first, it seemed faster. But what I mistook for speed ended up being predictability. The wild fluctuations were gone, but it was not faster overall.

On-Hold-Update: After 25 minutes a voice came on the speakerphone. She said she couldn't pull up my account and asked where I was calling from. "This is Texas, that's why I can't help you. I'm going to have to transfer you." Me, "I don't know how I got to Texas.." Her: "I'm sorry, please hold on.."

More hold music..

So I'm calling Verizon because their FIOS branded broadband is not working as fast as advertised. There are two fair solutions.

1. Charge me a lower rate for a lower service.
2. Improve the service.
 
At this point, with at least having greater predictability of speed, I'll take either option. I will, however, not accept the status quo.

In other words, if I order a dozen donuts, don't give me six and tell me I have to pay the same price.

A neighbor of mine is even paying for a higher speed FIOS option, 35/35 mbps, but only getting the same speed that I am. Hopefully he'll also blog about it or chime in with his experiences. I'm blogging because you shouldn't sell what you can't deliver, if that's the case. I have heard the "box in the basement" isn't very capable, and if that's true, they ought to swap it out for something better or just give up on providing us any kind of service.

And on the TV side of things, it's a bit of a wash. In a nearly identical package, I lost some and gained some channels, and the picture is pretty much the same. If I want to be really picky, it's ever-so-slightly worse because Verizon is using an older version Motorola set-top-box than Comcast. The newer ones have better video processing chips. Though, I hear Verizon is upgrading their boxes NEXT YEAR.

36m 42 sec still on hold

I guess I need to pick my flavor of nasty. That's just Comcastic. And I'm not sure FIOS is the way either.

41 minutes on hold and counting...

Artist: Muzak probably
Song: Annoying, whatever it is..

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