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Dear PoPville – Thinking about switching to Verizon Fios

by Prince Of Petworth December 13, 2013 at 2:30 pm 56 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Obvy09

“Dear PoPville,

I’ve been toying with making the switch over to Verizon Fios since it came to Columbia Heights. But I am curious, since Fios has been available in the neighborhood for a little while now, if anyone has made the switch and has reports or preferences?”

  • Anonymous

    what do you have now? comcast? I would say do it 100%. I’ve had it for 6 months now and haven’t had a problem since. The internet is speedy and the DVR/tv guide interface is miles above rcn and comcast (though i saw X1 recently and it looked nice).

  • If you have Comcast I would say switch, but that’s based on my experience with FiOS from 3 or so years ago when I had them in McLean. To me, their product is superior, and were it available in Capitol Hill now I would be jumping all over it.

    • jeffb

      Will FIOS ever come to Capitol Hill? I use Verizon DSL and am so frustrated with the slow speeds. I have been tempted to switch to Comcast but have been scared by the nightmare stories about how they try to scam their customers, especially when customers try to leave. For someone who orders internet only should I switch to Comcast, assuming FIOS isn’t coming soon to Capitol Hill?

  • Anonymous

    If you are a current Comcast/RCN subscriber, do it. I suspect over time that the pricing will even out, but Verizon had some good deals on the first two years of service. ISP speeds seem to be much better than our old Comcast service (here in Bloomingdale there were extensive cable outages the week after FiOS became available; bad timing!). The phone service is clearly better (for those of us home office types who still use a land line). IF you still need full cable/phone/ISP service including DVR, etc. make the switch. We’ve found that the DVR (multi-room functionality especially) is leaps and bounds over the Comcast (sorry, XFINITY) offerings. If you are someone who subscribes to a ton of premium channels it may not be worth the switch since Comcast bundles those more cheaply. I think the only channel we lost that I have any interest in was NBC Universal (there is some good non-US sports content on there, and may really miss it when the Olympics come around)

    • Yeah, the Comcast DVR is just terrible. My FiOS one from 3 years ago was more functional.

      • gloomingdale

        The monthly prices look competitive before taxes but I have no idea how much taxes will be roughly from month to month. Does anyone know? Comcast with taxes included after yelling at them for their terrible service runs me $125 a month for cable/internet. If FIOS is anywhere near that, I’m switching.

  • Caroline

    I had in VA (cable TV and internet) and it was very unreliable. At least half the time the channels were unavailable or the video was scrambled. The internet was out quite a bit too, or sometimes it was excruciatingly slow. The customer service people were very nice but were unable to permanently fix the problems.
    These days I have Comcast. Believe or not, it’s a lot better than Fios. I think Verizon pumps a lot of money into advertising which is why so many people have the impression that their service is somehow better.

    • Anonymous

      Do you work for Comcast? I have never met anyone who has anything good to say about Comcast/Xfinity/whatever they have changed their name to now to escape their terrible reputation.

      I ditched Comcast 6 months ago for Fios and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Comcast is still trying to screw me on my last bill, as an added parting gift from a terrible company. Fios has been great so far, no problems and much faster and cheaper service than with Comcast.

      • I will say that if you ever have an issue with your FiOS, expect to be looped endlessly through call centers until you find the right person to help you.

        • Anonymous

          And then you get a 16-year-old kid who doesn’t know how to solve the problem. But at least they’re not rude?

        • agroster

          I’ve had FiOS for 6 months. Every month or so i get a connection problem on the TV side, possibly because i unplug the Tv box when not using it (by the amount of heat that it produces when not in use, it is sucking up a lot of electricity). When i call to fix the issue (usually requiring a reset on their end), i get prompt service, although usually i have to be connected to a second department for the technical support. Usually everything is resolved in 5 min or so. So no complaints in the call center….

      • Caroline

        I have no affiliation with Comcast and the original setup process was pretty painful, but I have to admit I haven’t experienced any technical problems since then. Fios was a lot more screwy and not any cheaper.

      • Anonymous

        She didn’t say anything good about comcast. Just that they’re slightly better than fios. I think this is one of those “lesser of two evils” situations.

      • Anonymous

        Comcast is not universally terrible; or at least it’s no more universally terrible than Verizon/FiOS. I’ve heard good and bad opinions about both companies, and my personal experience tells me that both kind of suck but provide roughly equaivalent quality of service.

        • Anonymous


      • Non e Mus

        I don’t work for Comcast/XFinity and I’ve never had a problem with my service. Maybe I’ve just been really lucky . . . for the past 8 years. The only “complaint” I have with XFinity is that when my current plan ends, I get rolled over into a new plan without any discounts. So that next bill is a shocker. But as soon as I call and talk to someone, I end up getting back into another discounted plan. So one thing they could do is be proactive about offering discounts, as opposed to making you call in for them.
        I have considered switching to FiOS. I might do so if the pricing for the premium channels is comparable. I also want to check out this X1 thing. Is it available in DC?
        One sneaky thing that Verizon did to me happened when I lost the dial tone on my landline – yeah, I still have a landline. I called to report the problem and expected they would be able to fix it from outside the house, like they always have. But they told me that they had to get access to the house because they were just going to go ahead and replace the feed into my house with a digital line. They said this was now standard practice whenever someone had a problem with their non-digital line – replace it with a digital one. So I made myself available on a Sunday afternoon so they could come and put the digital box in my basement. The technician told me that the reason they are doing this free upgrade is to make homes ready for FiOS and that I would be getting calls soon to switch. He was right.

    • Anonymous

      I like how not saying anything terrible about Comcast = you must be employed by them

  • Anonymous

    I looked into it, but after those introductory prices expire, it becomes very expensive. I went with RCN, and now I couldn’t live without their whole home TiVo setup.

    • Anonymous

      I have been with RCN for about 5 years. I love TiVO. I would never go back to Comcast or a standard DVR.

  • jim_ed

    We have FiOS at our current place, and had Comcast previously in a different part of the city. The internet is faster, we get more TV for less money, and dealing with FiOS people is a million times easier than dealing with Comcast. For whatever reason, we never once got the exact same bill from Comcast each month – always up or down $5-10 bucks. Every time I called, they’d give some weird answer as to why.

    • Linds

      Yes! How on earth is that legal?! And yet, they get away with it. My Comcast “bundle” price just went up about $20/month… each line on the bill had a few dollars added on that they rationalized in their own special Comcast way. It’s criminal!!

      • Anonymous

        Huh, mine’s been consistent for the past 3 years.

    • Anon

      I had gotten so frustrated for this. Especially when they made the “switch” to Xfinity, and started adding bogus charges. I would call up and ask why they were charging me extra for things called “power boost” and nobody would give me legitimate answer. They would tell me it makes my internet faster. Besides the fact that I never asked them to charge me more money to make my internet faster, I explained that I am a network engineer, and they can explain to me in technical terms how it works. Nobody could, because it’s a scam. I switched to fios when it came to my area, and have no mystery charges. The bill is cut and dry, does not go up or down every month, and I get more channels for less money.

      • Anonymous

        Since I’ve had FiOS (about 2 years) they have mysteriously added on small amounts a couple times. I don’t even know what they were all for except I know one was just them raising the monthly fee to rent the DVR. I think all the providers do this one way or another.

  • Ex-Comcaster

    All I can say is you will never regret it.

    Of the 18 houses that share my back alley, 15 of them had cable and 12 of those (including myself) had Comcast. The other 3 had RCN, which while cheaper than Comcast, is on the verge of real suck.

    Within 3 months of FIOS being available, 11 of the 12 Comcasters (including myself) had switched to FIOS, and I couldn’t be happier. I think Comcast actually noticed, because about a month into FIOS’s new presence, Comcast guys were walking door to door in our neighborhood offering some unheard of deals to their “loyal” customers and I was getting frequent calls from Comcast before I canceled offering unsolicited deals. I had never seen a Comcast person come to my door before or gotten unsolicited calls offering lower priced promotions in my life.

    FIOS’s TV is (to me) the same as Comcast. I don’t notice any better picture quality. Their on demand catalog is admittedly ever so slightly less developed than Comcast’s.

    I really joined for their internet and Comcast is light years behind FIOS. You pay for the 25 MB service, you get all 25 MB of bandwith, 24/7. I’ve tested it at all times of the day and never gotten below 25MB . I paid for Comcast’s 25 MB service for three years and once, at 3:00am I got almost 18 MB but during the day I never got more than 10MB. You would call them and complain, and they said there was nothing they could do about it. How they are legally allowed to charge you for something they can’t or won’t provide is unbelievable.

    I don’t know how their customer service is because I haven’t had to call them yet. A shocking change of affairs from my Comcast days where I was calling them a couple times a month because my internet was out, or there was a cable outage.

    Lastly, its cheaper. I pay 5 dollars a month less for twice the internet speed and all the same channels, and I am locked in for a two year rate.

    FU Komcast!

    • Ex-Comcaster

      I meant that FIOS internet is lightyears beyond Comcast

  • asg

    The service is new so it could be prone to hiccups and outages, but I’ve found that internet speeds on FIOS are consistently faster than cable and customer service is pretty good, miles ahead of Comcast, which has the worst and most frustrating customer experience of any provider. Techs actually show up on time and are friendly. Not a huge fan of their on-screen TV guide but that’s a pretty minor critique. No reason not to switch unless you’re a masochist and enjoy the abuse from cable companies.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t do it.

  • Anonymous

    I have had FIOS in Petworth for about 2 years now and it’s fine. There have been a couple outages but for the most part it’s reliable. I’ve had the same experience that I’ve had with Comcast: sometimes the internet is slow for no apparent reason, they seem to continuously tack on little charges here and there (a coupe more dollars to rent the same DVR? right….) and the one or two times I had to call customer service they were not super helpful but eventually got it done.
    I would only consider switching if a) you’ve had particularly bad experience with your current provider, b) FiOS is cheaper than what you have, c) you have specific TV/internet needs that are only available through FiOS. If you’re an average TV/internet user and your current provider is decent I’m not sure there’s anything about FiOS that would significantly improve your life.

  • Anonymous

    Switched from Comcast to FiOS in Shaw a few months back. Superior performance and customer service as compared to Comcast (which not hard to beat). I do not miss Comcast at all – good riddance. And I am happy with FiOS.

  • Anonymous

    I switched from Comcast/Xfinity to Fios a couple months ago and have no regrets. The internet is noticeably faster and the TV picture seems better as well (even though both signals were allegedly HD, the Fios HD picture looks much nicer).

    I’ve had one technical glitch with Fios where I lost access to HBO because the system didn’t think I was subscribed, but pushing one button on the remote and waiting 2 minutes resolved the issue. In comparison, when similar issues arose with Comcast, I had to make multiple phone calls, sit on hold, be told that there’s nothing wrong on their end and they’ll have to send someone out the next week between 9am and 5pm, and then when the technician arrives it takes him two minutes to figure out that there is a “port” or “switch” on their end that needs to be changed.

    • Anonymous

      Um, FioS does that too. You just got lucky… this time.

  • Anonymous

    Assuming your service works well, don’t both. I have FIOS, and while I am satisfied with it, their pricing and service levels closely track those of Comcast – and I am sure this is not a coincidence. Unless you are dissatisfied with your service or they are offering you some major incentives, don’t bother with it.

  • Anonymous

    It’s all the same, honestly.

  • Mark

    I am in Columbia Heights and Verizon seems to have stopped their rollout two blocks north of my house. I can’t begin to express how angry this makes me.

  • Doc

    I hated Comcast when I had them, but I hate FIOS even more.

    I do not notice a difference in picture quality or internet speed.

    The FIOS DVR seems better (more storage), but then again it might just be that DVRs are better these days.

    My biggest issues with FIOS are four fold:

    1) There are annoying “pop up ads” on the TV occasionally (maybe twice a week), either advertising some service or event. This freezes the remote and the ads take a minute or so to go away.

    2) The cable box frequently has to reset itself. It can only do this when it is turned on, which means that unless you leave your box on all the time, it often happens that you turn your box on and have to wait 5 minutes (thus missing the beginning of your programming) while your box updates itself.

    3) The land line phone is HORRIBLE sound quality and they refuse to admit that it is their fault.

    4) Their customer service is beyond awful. I’ve had reps on the phone who do not speak English well enough to work in customer service. I’ve had phone reps who are condescending and when I calmly explain that the solution they are proposing is not scientifically possible, they get defensive. They also try to avoid sending a technician to your house with the threat that “Well, if we get there and we find that there’s nothing wrong with out equipment we charge you $xxx.”

    • Anonymous

      Agree with everything you said, except I somehow managed to get English-speaking representatives every time I called. But yeah, they will try to do everything possible to avoid having to make a house call. Even if it’s obvious a piece of equipment is dead they’ll go through the same time-consuming process of trying to send signals to it via the cable.

    • Anonymous

      then don’t turn off your cable box

  • Anonymous

    Having dealt with all three, I will say that FiOS has the fastest speeds, but unless you’re pirating lots of movies, this will be of little benefit to most of you. FiOS probably has the best picture quality on TV, as well. But dealing with their customer service might make you jump off a bridge, and they’re ultimately a good bit more expensive, once you’re paying full price for everything. Comcast is OK, but again, good luck getting a service technician to come out when something stops working. RCN was the least expensive for me, very reliable, and their customer service is leaps and bounds ahead of everybody else, but they seem to be only available in certain neighborhoods, and I can say from experience those don’t include Columbia Heights or Mt. Pleasant.

    • CMT

      I live in Columbia Heights and I have RCN.

  • Schmeds

    SIGN UP FOR FIOS!!!!!!! Comcast is the worst. I’ve had FIOS for about 4 months now in Columbia Heights and installation and service has been flawless. I got an incredibly good deal on phone, cable, and internet for less than $100 month. They key thing is that the deal is LOCKED IN FOR 2 Years. With comcast, I found that they might throw you a few bones, but within three months, you were back to getting hosed and having to deal with awful customer service. I fully realize that in 2 years Verizon will raise my bill, but a 2 year lock with here to fore great service is worth it to me.

  • Anonymous

    I think it would be too much of a headache to switch. As others have noticed there’s no significant difference.

  • I would have switched, because as everyone noted, we all hate Comcast. But Comcast is cheaper (for us at least), even with Verizon’s deals, so it just didn’t make sense to switch.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been very unhappy with fios in Petworth since switching to it a few months ago. I have channels go in and out all the time … they will be either very fuzzy of downright not available (sometimes it says I dont’ get the history channel?!?!) and the set top box is excruciatingly slow to use. It hiccups all the time and will freeze for a minute or two, and even when it is working well, it takes a second to go from one channel in the guide to the next, which doesn’t sound like a big deal, but is no fun with hundreds of channels… my old cable boxes (I”ve had both RCN and Comcast) didn’t do this. Apparently, my area uses the “newer” box (black cisco box vs the older grey ones), and even when ordering a replacement newer one, I still had the same problem… they are seeing if they can get me the older one. My internet speeds are fast, but this too will “blip” out from time to time, so streaming video will freeze/drop/unsync with the sound. I’m looking forward to switching back to one of the cable/satellite companies soon.

  • constance

    While I hated Comcast’s customer service and we had a fair amount of outages, I hate the constant barrage of advertising on FIOS and the fact that you can almost subscribe to things by pressing the wrong button (default is that you want to subscribe–all you have to say is “ok” ! but there’s no option to say “NO!!!”). And On Demand is MUCH worse, especially for kids. They don’t even have PBS Kids, which is enough to make me want to dump them right there.

  • Anonymous

    What is the FIOS installation process like? There is an empty lot behind my house, no alley. Cable lines are stung up across the lot. Would Verizon dig underground (through the lot?) to connect the house to the FIOS poles? How hard is the set-up? The website explains the installation process for single-family hosues or condos, but not rowhouses.

    • Anonymous

      In my rowhouse they strung the cable above my backyard from the telephone pole to the back of of my house, just like all the other wires. I highly doubt they will do any digging anywhere for any reason if they can just string it above ground.

  • domrep

    Never had a problem w/Comcast. I’ve got free HBO/Starz/Showtime/Cinemax for a year, and my bill is about $140 per month, that includes internet.

    A trick I was told is if you’re looking at leaving Comcast, call around the first week of the month. Apparently if you do that, they’ll be more receptive to offering you a deal b/c they hadn’t met their quota (of giving out deals) yet. It worked w/me but I’m not sure if that’s the reasoning. They hate it when you specify the prices of their competitors.

    • dno

      Not much of a “deal” to be honest.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah I don’t see that as much of a deal either. I get HBO and one or two other premium movie channels from Comcast, plus a sports package, and pay $108 with tax.

        • domrep

          Sports package is also included, forgot to mention. That includes Red Zone. Anon – do you get the net as well?

          IDK, it seems like a good deal to me considering I was paying $150 and only had HBO.

  • ymous

    FiOS blows goats. We switched two years ago from DirecTV, and we are switching back. DirecTV’s DVR, guide, and sports coverage are way better. The FiOS internet is faster than Comcast (our prior internet provider), but that’s about the only good thing I can say about it. For example, one day the FiOS DVR randomly deleted all of our recordings. Two weeks later, it did it again. We are now on our third FiOS DVR. Sometimes, it just skips an episode in a series it is programmed to record. The software updates and pop up ads are obnoxious. I finally figured out how to turn off the pop ups, but the software updates are non-negotiable. Customer service is a joke, and not a funny one.

  • Anonymous

    Its great. Have the 15/5, Prime HD, and Phone bundle. usually less than 110 a month. I get 24/5, picture is great, and phone is great. Comcast has been known for slowing down during peak hours. I have speedtested FIOS, many times throughout the last year and I’ve always had 23+ down.

  • Paul

    I had comcast for a decade – horrible service with a “FU” attitude. I switched to fios as soon it was available on my block earlier this year. Fios internet is 5x better than Comcast & Fios Dvr box much more use friendly. I say SWITCH NOW!!


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