Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Advice sought 

I'll be moving in the next few weeks, and will be in a position to choose between Comcast and Verizon FIOS for my internet and television/video needs. Which, obviously, are many. For those of you inclined to give advice, please post your recommendation (with reasons, if you have them) in the comments.


By Anonymous astonerii, at Tue Mar 23, 03:27:00 PM:

I do not have any direct information about Verizon television and internet products. Comcast treated me fairly throughout my 3 years of use on Cable TV whereas Verison Wireless cell phone was a constant problem, even out to a year after I finally dropped them. Verizon is a very predatory company and I would never again use that company's services.  

By Blogger Buku, at Tue Mar 23, 03:33:00 PM:

I recently moved into a new construction home from my previous residence where i was a Comcast customer. Comcast provided what they said they would over the life of the service and I am not dissatisfied with their support.

For the new house I chose FIOS over Comcast and Ill expalin why.

The Entertainment channels are very similar with the interface being slightly different between the two... Not better, not worse, different.

Cost similar, with FIOS being more.

So far I really enjoy having FIOS with one fixable exception...FIOS will tear up your yard. New construction helped my nerves in this instance. Im a full participant in the neigborhood yard wars...

The major differences, if you are a geek like me, are in the area of gaming. I enjoy online computer games. Verizon is a superior product in that regard.

Not only in latency but also bandwith. I had the "cadillac" comcast cable plan and never saw near the up or download speeds I get from FIOS. Most ISPs will not tax Verizon but will be Comcast limited.

If youre a gamer or very rapid response, low latency is desired, go with FIOS. If your yard is important to you and the previous is not, go with Comcast. Verizon is going to tear your yard up.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 23, 03:37:00 PM:

The other issue is that FIOS requires a big module with batteries inside your house. I found the installation of low quality and the space usage intrusive.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 23, 06:00:00 PM:

Having added FIOS TV six months ago to my existing FIOS internet service, from Comcast, I have a few comments. Hands down, FIOS is the better internet service (much faster than my old cable service), and more reliable.

FIOS TV is slightly cheaper, once all the channels are included (ie, apples to apples). Initially it looked considerably cheaper, until I dug in to the channel line-up I actually wanted, and then I found that the FIOS deal is better but not wildly so.

The interface is easier to use and faster loading for Comcast. FIOS is what we would describe in my software business as a kluge. Some engineer designed it, without talking to any focus groups (ie, not intuitive and ugly), and did it poorly: it has latency issues (ie, slow to load).

Comcast also has a greater choice of on-demand movies I actually want to order, while FIOS has a greater number overall of available movies. I think FIOS has beefed up the overall catalogue with movies no one has ever wanted to watch or even heard of. With Netflix this issue can be mitigated.

I think the picture quality is much superior for FIOS, and there are more HD channels in the basic package.

My wires are buried from the street to my house, and FIOS chose to use a bright orange pipe. I wouldn't care, except that they left about two feet showing at the pole. Ugly. And, only PSE&G sends less competent service people to my house than the FIOS installer who did my work.

I don't know how many TV's you will have in your new digs, and I don't know if Comcast now has this, but I highly recommend the multi-room DVR capability built into FIOS. Works beautifully.

All in all, I love the internet service and am OK with the TV service. I feel like I'm getting my money's worth, if that shows anything, and while I certainly had no issues with Comcast (in fact, I generally it easy dealing with Comcast), I probably wouldn't go back.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Tue Mar 23, 06:22:00 PM:

We had Comcast for a long time. I have a large home network with interface to my VPN at work and MP3 music and on-line treaming for Netflix. Comcast not only was slow, but they would reallocate DNS addresses weekly and this would frequently throw everything into chaos. The final straw was their service. VERRRRY SLOW to respond to service outages. I mean DAYS!!

Then I went with FIOS. Much faster internet. Discounts for having cable, phone and internet on the ame account. Much clearer TV picture. Good channel choices. They did a very neat job of wiring and the intallation tech actually knew what he was doing.

The only problem is the battery backup on the system. If your power is out for more than 6-8 hours (as I remember)you will lose phone service.  

By Anonymous E Hines, at Tue Mar 23, 06:29:00 PM:

I had Comcast a few years ago, until the local PUC arranged for their franchise to be replaced by another cable TV/Internet company. I had always found Comcast to provide a stable, highly functional service.

At about the time Comcast was invited out, Verizon began advertising the imminence of their FiOS to our neighborhood. That imminence lasted over a year. I corresponded three or four times with Verizon over their schedule, the system's capabilities, various customer service thingies. At every turn I was answered with obfuscation and outright evasion. If that's how they treat potential customers, imagine how actual customers would be treated once they're locked into a contract.

I'm still with my Comcast replacement provider.

Eric Hines  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 23, 08:42:00 PM:

Downside to fios: Dealing with the phone company. Don't expect a human or a short wait for one.

Reason why I'll never go back to comcast (I hope, at least unless they fix this somehow): Outages, comcast internet out for multiple hours monthly. Fios out for 24 hrs once in two years because a truck drove by and pulled my cable down. Other than that when I have power I have internet.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 23, 09:23:00 PM:

I currently have Verizon and am pretty satisfied with their product. The picture quality of the cable service is much better than traditional cable. However, Verizon as a company is a nightmare. We had major problems just getting our service installed. I had to threaten to cancel the order so many times that I finally gave them 30 minutes to get someone to my house to actually do the install or that was it. Needless to say, they finally got someone there. However, we had so much trouble that I was promised $35 off of my bill for 3 months. They screwed that up as well and it took 4 months and my husband, who is a lawyer, threatening to report them for unfair trade practices before we finally got things resolved.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 23, 10:16:00 PM:

I am envious, I wish I could get FIOS. FIOS will never enter my market.

That being said, FIOS should offer better picture quality on their digital channels because they don't compress their feeds as much as Comcast does. Generally, FIOS has 2 digital channels per frequency band, while Comcast has 3.

As others have noted, FIOS has better speeds for its Internet service, though Comcast usually offers something comparable. The other thing is that FIOS is pretty much the same everywhere, while Comcast only offers fat pipes in markets where they have competition.  

By Anonymous Fausta, at Tue Mar 23, 10:18:00 PM:

I have both, 1 on the home line, 1 on the business line.
FIOS - much better.  

By Anonymous Brent, at Wed Mar 24, 12:03:00 AM:

FIOS all the way. Verizon has it's + & -, but FIOS the product is hands down better than the cable and sat services I've had in the past.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Mar 24, 07:33:00 AM:

Have had 'em both, TH, and there is little doubt that FIOS is the way to go. You might even say "the science is settled."

Coach Paul  

By Blogger Willuz, at Wed Mar 24, 10:28:00 AM:

Choosing by company or technology is the wrong method when considering an internet connection. The first thing to do is go to dslreports.com and search for the name of your city in the forum. If a particular provider is having issues, people will be VERY vocal about it there.

The most common issue affecting internet providers is no longer the last mile or the maximum speeds. The problem is over subscription in a single city exceeding the capacity of their trunk line to the nearest major internet hub. It doesn't matter if you have 30Mb to your house if the provider can't get this traffic to the internet in under 50ms.

Example: I live about 200 miles from Atlanta which is the nearest major hub on the internet. All of my traffic goes through Atlanta and was reaching there in about 13ms. My provider increased speeds to the house and offered more expensive services. Unfortunately, they didn't purchase enough trunk lines to get all of this new traffic to the internet. My pings went from 13ms to 140ms in the course of a few months. Instead of going directly to Atlanta, the packets were re-directed in the following path Birmingham-Dallas-Miami-Charleston-Atlanta. My 200 mile trip just turned into 2,000 because my provider oversold their bandwidth.

Long story short, you have to research service in your particular neighborhood.  

By Anonymous matt, at Wed Mar 24, 02:21:00 PM:

The guide system on the fios system is far superior to the comcast system.Both have dvr and its worth the extra cost.Picture quality on fios is great.
Does require operating package in the house but is small enough to hide if you plan ahead.  

By Blogger Andrew Hofer, at Thu Mar 25, 06:33:00 AM:

Pretty happy FIOS customer here. Don't believe their price quote, though. I'd be happy to show you my post-promotion monthly bill.

Internet is much faster and has battery back-up. On the other hand, it does not really do the speeds they advertise (it has some latency before it reaches that speed, which means your real world experience is not like a 10mb pipe).  

By Anonymous Jim Miller, at Thu Mar 25, 11:57:00 AM:

You might want to look at Broadband Reports for more info, and for user reports in your area.

There appears to be considerable variation in different areas of the country, so, for instance, Comcast might be quite good in some places, and terrible in others.  

By Anonymous IndispensableDestiny, at Sat Mar 27, 09:17:00 AM:

There isn't any real need to compare the two. Go with FIOS. Your choice is between 1980's (or earlier) technology, data over coaxial cable, versus current technology -- fiber.

Many of the negatives posted here are actually positives. Deep burial, a power supply in the house, are pluses.

If you want to decide based on the entertainment package they sell you, then get both. Comcast for TV, FIOS for everything else.

Just don't accept a sloppy install in your house. If you can be there, inspect it soon afterwards. And by all means make sure the electrician puts a outlet near the terminal unit for FIOS. Better yet, put it on a dedicated circuit, or one shared only with your security system.  

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