Never Say Never: More on FiOS TV and Internet
Those of you who’ve been reading me for a while know that I love my FiOS broadband connection, but I’ve had no end of trouble with my Verizon FiOS Internet account. Over the past few months I’ve written several items about my flirtation with Verizon’s FiOS TV (conventional and digital HDTV television programming — like the cable or dish companies — via fiber optic). I backed out of the idea on installation day when I discovered I needed to opt for a new router, which would be assigning IP addresses to Verizon’s set-top TV boxes along with the other 20-plus computers on my network.
There followed some several items on these pages about another concern I had with FiOS TV, the fact that video-on-demand movies and shows use the same bandwidth pool in the FiOS architecture as the Internet access. I became concerned that concurrent video-on-demand programming and heavy Internet usage might result in slower performance. Verizon has been peeling back the onion and explaining this to me. There’s a little additional detail later on in this post.
But first let me deliver some good news. The account problems I’ve had with FiOS — which have amounted to Verizon’s records showing me as having standard DSL instead of FiOS — have been fully rectified. Frank Boersma, director, set-top box and in-home network engineering at Verizon, whom I quoted in this recent post, was able to set in motion a resolution process. The problem dates back to my original FiOS Internet installation date, early in January of 2006.
There’s an upside and a downside about the account fix: My bill will likely go up because the FiOS service costs more now than it did when I first installed the fiber-optic service. But Verizon has already upgraded my service from 15Mbps down/2Mbps up connection rates to 20Mbps/5Mbps. The increased upstream throughput is, in particular, very welcome. The faster 20/5 rate was a free FiOS upgrade rolled out in some areas last year. It didn’t reach me because, to Verizon, I didn’t have FiOS.
Boersma recently added to his description of how video-on-demand (VOD) co-exists with Internet data transmission:
The 50Mbps service available to many FiOS customers is provisioned at 59Mbps. The data service is throttled at 50Mbps — leaving 9Mbps for VOD traffic. Therefore a FiOS data and TV customer with 50Mbps data service would not see an impact to their data service until they started three or more concurrent video-on-demand sessions (each VOD session uses approximately 4Mbps of bandwidth). Even then the impact would be a small percentage of the overall bandwidth available for data as video traffic has priority. For a customer with 20/5 service, there would be a 39Mbps for video on demand before there would be any effect on data traffic.
Verizon is also moving to address the video and data bandwidth for FiOS service areas capped at 30Mbps. Boersma said: “In markets where 30Mbps is our maximum speed, the service will be provisioned at 54Mbps. We are in the process of rolling out these new standards, so not all markets have the 54Mbps or 59Mbps settings yet.”
Apparently, my town is configured to support 50Mbps service (but at $180 a month, I think I’ll pass). Bottom line, though, while some 30Mbps-provisioned customers could experience a video-on-demand squeeze when running multiple, concurrent on-demand sessions while performing heavy Internet downloads, Verizon is moving to address that possible issue. The concerns I expressed in earlier missives about this potential problem have evaporated.