FIOS Installation Gone Bad

October 19, 2007

One of my clients signed up for Verizon FIOS Internet recently; it was installed at his home this past Monday. I'm thoroughly disgusted by the way Verizon treated my client.

First and foremost, Verizon completely disconnected my client's existing home network, replacing it with a Verizon wireless router. The existing equipment included a VPN router used to create a dedicated VPN tunnel from my client's home to his office and a wireless access point used with my client's laptop computer. This is totally unacceptable.

Next, Verizon degraded the wireless connectivity. The existing wireless access point was set to WPA; the new one is not. To make matters worse, Verizon left no documentation behind. My client thus does not have the username and password needed to access the router to a) adjust the security level and b) apply the security keys so that the existing wireless devices can connect.

Third, Verizon did not bring wired connectivity to the previously existing point of connection. To be clear about this, my client was using Comcast high-speed Internet. Comcast installed a wire to my client's den, where its cable modem and all the other equipment (router, WAP) was positioned. Verizon placed the wireless router in the basement in a location convenient for Verizon, then installed a USB wireless adapter on the primary computer.

Fourth, my client's Comcast installation included a static IP. The Verizon setup does not. A static IP address is available as an option and in theory my client should have asked for it. However, I believe Verizon should have had the courtesy to at least examine the existing infrastructure to make sure nothing would be lost as a result of the FIOS installation.

Finally, Verizon installed a software suite on the primary computer. This software changed the default home page for Internet Explorer to a Verizon page, added a proprietary Verizon toolbar, and also installed some Windows software that keeps popping up Verizon branded messages advertising other services (effectively adware).  Microsoft ends up in court for making its own browser the default in its own operating system but Verizon brazenly installs its own brand as if it was perfectly natural. Yuck.

If this had been attempted at my home, the Verizon installer probably would have called the cops to deal with my extreme rage.

Verizon has no business mucking about on your PCs. Period. Don't let Verizon install any software on any of your PCs and don't let them convince you that it's necessary. It is definitely NOT necessary. If they insist, throw them out and go back to what you were using before. I'm no fan of cable-based high-speed Internet because for residential customers it hardly ever delivers the advertised speed, but at least the Comcast installation is sensible.

If you have a home network that is currently connected to DSL or cable TV and you want to order FIOS, make sure you specify that you want FIOS attached to your existing network. Do not allow Verizon to install any software on any of your PCs. Be there when Verizon comes and look over the installer's shoulder the whole time.

Here's another oddity. My client ordered 15Mbps/2Mbps service, which is a premium service. When the Verizon setup ran it showed the purchased level of service and the actual, tested level of service. The tested speed was 2.7/1.8. 2.7 when it should be 15? My client will be downgrading to 5/2 service post haste assuming, that is, that he doesn't just toss Verizon out on its duff.

A final note - don't let Verizon remove the existing copper wire from your premises. You have a period of time to decide whether you want to keep Verizon FIOS service. If you decide to dump it, you will need those copper wires to restore plain old telephone service.

I'm glad for FIOS and I want it, but not this way.

Tags: FIOS, Internet, Telecommunications, Verizon

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