Fiber Optic Internet: Yes Or No?

Verizon’s fiber-optic data services (and aggressive marketing) arrived in my neighborhood of Pelham, NY, and they are compelling. Not surprisingly, I have absolutely no loyalty to my current cable company and its overpriced bundle of services, so I’m considering switching. Because the Verizon service is new, I wanted to ask what you think here. I also asked MediaPost readers in my last column what they thought. Most said it’s a no-brainer — just do it — though Troy Davis from Metaphor Interactive brought up some important questions about Net neutrality. Below is the full text of my column:

Fiber Optic Internet: Yes Or No?

October 26th, 2007 by Max Kalehoff

“Dear Max A. Kalehoff: I bet you remember the first time you heard the unmistakable mating call of your computer’s modem dialing into an ISP. And I’m guessing you remember the feelings of frustration that it brought too. Well, soon you’re going to feel the same way about your High Speed Internet. That’s because we’re about to change your expectations of what Internet should be, with Verizon FiOS.”

That is the bold and alluring pitch I’ve now received multiples times via the Web, direct-mail letters, “priority delivery” service packets and, if you can believe this, pizza boxes from my local pizzeria. Verizon has been setting up its new fiber-optic data lines throughout my hometown of Pelham, New York, and now the company is aggressively pitching customers.

I’m not sure about the mating call, but I’m so compelled by the fiber-optic promise above that I’ve been saving all of the offer letters while I get smarter about this next generation of consumer home Internet data services. My evidence is here.

What’s so compelling? First, Verizon is offering me far superior connections – 20 Mbs standard – along with higher data capacity and bandwidth. I’m desperate for faster connections, which perform as advertised, especially during peak hours in my neighborhood! Verizon is even suggesting that with their included home router, my whole family can be online at the same time: “While you’re checking out real-time stock quotes, the kids can stream video and audio.” Currently, that’s a major problem in my household.

In addition to no installation surcharge, Verizon also is promising me the highest quality support, including 24/7 access to technical support, as well as a specialized trained consultant to help me with my service if needed. Real customer service from my ISP? Now there’s a compelling service differentiator!

Finally, Verizon will include phone service and transfer of my existing home line, all part of a reasonable monthly price of $49.99.

Today, I’m paying roughly $100 monthly for a cable-company package that includes basic cable television stations, cable Internet service and cable phone. Considering high-quality Internet and reliable phone connections are the two most important services, and my family rarely turns on the television, the Verizon package makes a lot of sense.

Moreover, I have a TiVo and PC that hooks up the television, so I can get a lot of television programming and feed off the Web anyway, and that will only increase. Besides, I presume FiOS TV will be available soon anyway.

Should I go for it? It’s a significant transition and I don’t want to go through all the trouble if the deal and the delivery are not for real. But if they are for real, I’d like to sign on fast. Many people are swearing by it, but I just want to be sure.

What’s your vote: yes or no?

(Votes and testimonials from current ViOS customers are especially welcomed.)

Published by Max Kalehoff

Father, sailor and marketing executive.

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