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Verizon, Fiber Or Die? 291

Posted by kdawson
from the copper-kiss-off dept.
dynamator writes "I live about 550 meters from my Verizon central office. I pay for their higher-tier 'Power Plan' DSL service, which boasts 3 Mbps down and 758 Kbsp up. For the past year, I've enjoyed excellent performance on this line. However, this past month Verizon has been hooking up my neighbors with FiOS, their new fiber-to-the-home system, and guess what, my connection speed and dependability have taken a nosedive. What can I do to build the case that this is really happening? Will anyone, least of all Verizon, care? Are they making me a fiber offer I can't refuse?" We discussed a few times last year what Verizon may be up to.
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Verizon, Fiber Or Die?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 08, 2008 @11:43PM (#22690366)
    I'd LOVE to have FIOS, but no... DSL is the only choice. Take it and love it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ILuvRamen (1026668)
      not where I live it isn't. Road Runner just went to 8 up 0.5 down. That's not a typo. 8 megabits! DSL is a joke compared to that. Even fiber isn't that much better. Do I want the file in 10 seconds or 5? Anyway, I've never seen that because I'm in a similar situation. Either they're throttling me for using about 250+ megabits this year in p2p traffic, mostly legal btw, or they screwed something up when they were building the new neighborhood behind me and wiring in the cable cuz that's about when th
      • by SScorpio (595836)
        8Mbps isn't anything to brag about, many cable companies offer that. FIOS on the other hand offers 15/2Mbsp service or even 15/15Mbsp. That right 15 down and 15 up. I'd also recommend search for a new ISP if they are throttling you for downloading 31.5MB+ in P2P traffic.
        • by Z00L00K (682162)
          So... I have 100/10Mbps Down/Up in my apartment, and the 10 is since the ISP is doing some kind of bandwidth throttling. Over DSL around here you may get up to 24Mbps.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ivan256 (17499)
        You should take off your fanboy hat and blinders long enough to realize how wrong you are.

        8Mbit? Come on... Verizon is offering 20/20 symmetric service for less than Comcast's pathetic "PowerBoost".

        But wait! Then you go on to say you can't get the full 8Mbit? Why are you still on the bandwagon?
      • by edwdig (47888)
        Cablevision is 15 mbps down. No idea on the up, fast enough that I haven't cared to check.

        And for $10-$15 more a month (depending on what other services you get from them) they'll bump it up to 30 mbps and unblock the server ports.

        Oddly, FIOS's starting package around here is 10 mbps down for the same price Cablevision has always charged for 15. And the FIOS price goes up fast as you go to the higher tiers.
    • by SlimGuy (1253246) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @03:43AM (#22691178)
      For those who only can get DSL, the best way to document what is happening with your connection is if you run FireFox get the extension written by Google called Load Time Analyzer https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3371 [mozilla.org]. They may offer something similar for IE. It will fully document down to the millisecond what is happening as you load web pages and even graph the data for you to present to tech support on your performance issues.
    • by hazem (472289)
      Just make sure you get proof of the rate you agree to pay. I've had it for 4 months and they've consistently over-charged me by $5.00 a month. Sure, it's not a lot, but it's more than I agreed to pay - and they never help. I've written letters, sent e-mails, and got transferred from department to department on multiple calls.

      I figure my last resort is to file fraud claims with my credit card about the overbilling.

      Oh yeah, and if you don't have phone and cable, they only let you have their service by bill
    • Very funny. I was in line first. Been there for 10 years.

      Congratulations on your DSL. They won't even sell me DSL, and fibre to the curb is out of the question since it is 15 miles to the nearest curb.

      Verizon doesn't care, and the won't. When our dialup went from steady-for-hours to a few minutes at best, it took us all kinds of hell raising over a number of days to get them to fix it. Now we are back to 24K dialup. Forget 33.6, and forget any notion of 53K.

      Well, not quite. Yesterday I put up a skywa
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lumpy (12016)
      Problem is MOST people don't want fios.

      I am content with my $42.00 top tier DSL.

      Fios is available, and gee, I have to pay them $99.00 a month because I cant unbundle the other crap from the internet service. I dont want to pay $99.00 a month for their other crap. I dont want the other crap. Stop forcing me to take your other CRAP!

      DSL has a law forcing them to unbundle it from phone service. That law does not cover Fios.

  • by Michael Spencer Jr. (39538) * <spam.mspencer@net> on Saturday March 08, 2008 @11:44PM (#22690370) Homepage
    I don't know what your relationship is with your neighbors, so this may not be plausible:

    Could you see if you can use a program like Netcat to stream a large amount of data from your system to theirs, and see what kind of throughput you get? If Verizon is really not giving you the bandwidth you're paying for, this may be one way to prove it.

    There are some kinds of connection shaping that this test won't detect, but at least it's a start.
    • by evanbd (210358) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @11:51PM (#22690410)

      Iperf [nlanr.net] is excellent for this, especially if you want to test details like packet size, port number, UDP vs TCP...

    • by Mozz Alimoz (245834) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @12:49AM (#22690660)
      As you know from the fine print, Verizon (or any other ISP) never claims to give you any guaranteed speed. It's an industry-wide practice and for good reason. The Internet is a best effort service with many factors beyond Verizon's control. Their web site [verizon.com] says for their "Power Plan" service offering (my emphasis added):

      Connection Speeds Up To ... 3 Mbps/768 Kbps (53x faster than dial-up*)
      *Speed comparison based upon performance with a 56.6 Kbps modem. Actual speed may vary. Actual throughput speed will vary based on network and Internet congestion among other factors.
      And in their FAQ [verizon.com] says:

      Technology
      What affects my connection speed?
      When you connect to the Internet using Verizon High Speed Internet, the speeds that you will experience will vary based on a variety of factors, including the following:
      1. Distance of your telephone line from a Verizon Central Office
      2. Condition of telephone wiring inside and outside your location
      3. Computer configuration
      4. Network or Internet congestion
      5. Server and router speeds of the Web sites you access
      6. Other factors
      So you don't really have a good way to test your service. And if you did and it only showed 56kbps, the Version is still within the range the promised.

      There are these problems when testing speeds to your neighbor.

      • Upload speeds are lower than download. So you can only test upload speeds this way.
      • Your neighbor needs to be using the same ISP.
      Better ways could be to download large files from your ISP. But you'd have to find a file where a traceroute (tracert cmd from your computer, not from a public server) shows the path to that server is fully with Verizon's control, has single digit milliseconds of latency, no packet loss, and not too many hops away. Otherwise use a public speed test service [dslreports.com].

      Maybe one day we'll see a class action lawsuit on various ISPs that claims they intentionally lied about the average speeds customers should see, But I'm not holding my breath.

  • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @11:47PM (#22690388)
    I'd cancel my Verizon DSL and just connect to the neighbor's wireless.
  • They won't care (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fernir (1007503) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @11:52PM (#22690414)
    I worked for Verizon as a level 2 tech in their call center located in Columbus, Ohio for 2 years. They will not care you can keep complaining and complaining and nothing will ever happen, mainly because no one really gives a shit about the customers and all they care about is how fast you can finish a call.
    • Re:They won't care (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Cruciform (42896) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @01:24AM (#22690792) Homepage
      I can confirm that. My SO worked at the London, Ontario office (yay outsourcing) that handled Verizon calls and the single most important metric was call handle time. If you weren't operating under a certain amount of time you didn't get bonuses and were seen as an incompetent tool. It doesn't matter that the person on the other end may be elderly and not follow instructions quickly - rush them and get them off the phone. They've got a complaint? Placate them with a bullshit story and get them off the phone.
      Rogers and Bell are just as bad up here as well. I've spent 7 hours on the phone (15 minutes total talking, rest of the time on hold) with Bell resolving billing issues. With Rogers I lost service in Toronto for 10 days, and the rep actually accused me of lying that my modem wasn't online - he claimed he was pinging it - and became abusive. I hung up on him. The next day Rogers discovered subway workers or someone else had cut a line that caused my outage. Why they didn't figure something was up when the rest of the neighborhood was complaining, I don't know. It certainly couldn't have affected just my place.
      • Re:They won't care (Score:5, Interesting)

        by DraconPern (521756) <draconpern AT hotmail DOT com> on Sunday March 09, 2008 @02:30AM (#22691000) Homepage
        It's not Verizon that is pushing that metric. It's the outsourced company that is trying to make a buck off Verizon. Not saying that Verizon's own people is better.
        • Re:They won't care (Score:5, Insightful)

          by rkcallaghan (858110) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @04:32AM (#22691274)
          DraconPern wrote:

          It's not Verizon that is pushing that metric. It's the outsourced company that is trying to make a buck off Verizon.
          If I pay you to do something (Handle as many calls as possible for as cheap as possible), how am I off the hook when you do it?

          ~Rebecca
          • Re:They won't care (Score:5, Interesting)

            by madro (221107) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @08:57AM (#22691940)
            Such companies are not really off the hook, but a level of indirection can often diffuse blame. Humans have a judgment bias that sees indirect harm as less bad than direct harm. Legally there's no difference (murder-for-hire vs. hire), but ethically people have to work harder before they see the two harms as equivalent.

            For example, in 2006 Merck sold the marketing rights to a cancer drug to a small company named Ovation, who then charged exorbitant rates to recoup the costs. Merck kept the sales proceeds, and continued to produce the drug, but Ovation was the company charging patients ten times more. Ovation's business model is to act as a buffer for large pharmaceutical firms that want to get a large payday out of a niche drug without getting their hands dirty.

            For more information, check See No Evil: When We Overlook Other People's Unethical Behavior [ssrn.com] (Gino, Moore and Bazerman 2008) and The Preference for Indirect Harm [springerlink.com] (Royzman and Baron 2002, Social Justice Research).
      • by vertinox (846076)
        Why they didn't figure something was up when the rest of the neighborhood was complaining, I don't know. It certainly couldn't have affected just my place.

        I worked for one of the major US ISPs, and generally the layers of interdepartmental communications were so obscure there was nothing you could do.

        In truth most of us loved outages because it meant we could tell the person that the problem was on our end and hang up and tell the next person. If it was a problem on the users end, then we'd have to do troub
    • Fishers center! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Durrok (912509) <calltechsucks.gmail@com> on Sunday March 09, 2008 @02:28AM (#22690994) Homepage Journal
      Yes, I was a manager at the fisher's center. I used to take negative escalations all the time for this. In short, we can't do anything for you besides schedule a tech between 8-5, M-F. Oh you can't take time off work? Guess we can never get it fixed then! Oh, you took time off work to be there but the technician didn't show? Better take another day! Ridiculous...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by couchslug (175151)
        Care to share the exact verbiage a customer should use in describing a problem to get service?

        Part of getting service from anyone is leading them to a default choice that serves you, and that means
        describing your problem in the right terms.
    • Re:They won't care (Score:5, Informative)

      by Reaperducer (871695) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @04:45AM (#22691296)
      I had some issues with Verizon, and after months of tech support Hell, I found out the only sure-fire way to get things fixed:

      File a complaint with the state Public Utilities Commission.

      I did it in Illinois where it can be done online. Miraculously within two weeks I had supervisors from falling all over themselves trying to solve my problem, and what had been broken for months got fixed in a matter of days.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MBCook (132727)

        Write the CEO. I had tons and TONS of problems getting AT&T service (both phone and DSL) setup. Executive customer service wasn't very nice and didn't really do anything for me.

        So I wrote the CEO.

        All of a sudden I had numerous people calling me and doing anything they could to help me.

        You can read about my experience here [foobarsoft.com] and here [foobarsoft.com]. I didn't think it would work, but I was out of options. I'm glad I did it.

  • by Port1080 (515567) on Saturday March 08, 2008 @11:53PM (#22690416) Homepage
    I know it really depends on the area what kind of service you get, but it might not hurt to just, you know, call them and ask them to send a tech to check the line. My wife and I bought a house last year and we had to downgrade from FIOS (tell me again why you won't upgrade?) back to DSL. When we first moved in we had some issues with the service dropping fairly frequently. After a couple service calls they eventually sent out an actual line tech who looked at the line and found there was a minor fault, which he fixed. Since then everything's been flawless. Maybe it really is just a coincidence, and if you can get someone to come take a look at your line you might get somewhere. Or, you could just post bitchy complaints on Slashdot and hope the CmdrTaco Fairy will come fix your line. Either way, can't hurt to try, right?
    • by jcnnghm (538570) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @12:39AM (#22690618)
      Expanding on this a little, I know when they were installing FIOS in my neighborhood, all services (cable, telephone, electric) were up and down repeatedly because they kept accidentally cutting lines. Chances are, there isn't some great conspiracy out to get you, but the contractor that is installing/installed the fiber accidentally cut your line, then did a half-assed job fixing it. You should probably call the contractor and let them know they made a mistake, and call Verizon and let them know about the problem as well. Again, when they were installing mine they repeatedly left the contractor information as well as the Verizon installation support number on doorhangers and postcards.
  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Saturday March 08, 2008 @11:58PM (#22690436) Homepage Journal
    Seriously, you have the option of FiOS and you're complaining about your non-FiOS connection? Upgrade, and consider yourself lucky that you have the opportunity to do so!

    • by TClevenger (252206) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @12:36AM (#22690606)
      Check your DSL TOS; Verizon has the option to force you over to FIOS in areas where they offer it. You'll probably have to switch sooner or later.
    • by mrbluze (1034940)

      Seriously, you have the option of FiOS and you're complaining about your non-FiOS connection? Upgrade, and consider yourself lucky that you have the opportunity to do so!
      Yeah, how dare you complain about your bandwidth being crippled. And how dare you be satisfied with the internet connection you had already!
    • I'm sorry, sir, we no longer offer the Pinto. You'll have to get this Escort.

      The great news is the new ones don't explode.
      The bad news is porch lights will flash as you drive down the street because everyone will think you're the pizza guy and missed their house.

      (nb.: that last one is from some comedian, I don't remember who. Please don't sue me.)
  • AT&T and Uverse (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ericdano (113424) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @12:02AM (#22690460) Homepage
    AT&T is kind of doing the same thing with their Uverse service. Worst service ever. They had shoddy installation, and you can't have DSL AND Uverse coming in the same residence even though they are on different phone lines.

    Supposedly it is blazing fast, but AT&T doesn't offer static IP addresses on Uverse......oh well........
    • Re:AT&T and Uverse (Score:4, Informative)

      by Chabil Ha' (875116) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @12:12AM (#22690502)

      ...but AT&T doesn't offer static IP addresses on Uverse...

      Ever heard of Dynamic DNS [wikipedia.org]?

      I use FreeDNS [afraid.org] and find it be reliable and easy to use. Disclaimer: I have no financial or other interest in the site except that I find it useful.

    • Re:AT&T and Uverse (Score:4, Informative)

      by hedwards (940851) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @12:52AM (#22690672)
      Most ISPs have been moving over to dynamic IPs for the last decade or so. Well, the larger ones at least. When we first got a cable modem, back when cable modems didn't suck hard, we had assigned IPs and could count on having one per computer. A few years later without any particular warning, the cable operator switched over to dynamic ones. I finally had to call to find out why it was that I couldn't get one of the computers online, turned out that the IP had been reassigned without them telling me.

      I'm not sure how the smaller ISPs are, but most of the time the big guys want to make people pay for the staticness if it is available at all.
      • by ericdano (113424)
        Well, AT&T does offer static IP with their DSL service. However, if you want the Uverse service, you get dynamic like it or not. AND, you cannot have both DSL and Uverse at the same time to the same address. I got the Uverse thing sold to me that you could, then they, without notice, shut off the DSL. THEN.....calling tech support resulted in them not knowing why it was shut off. THEN, nearly a week later, I was told you cannot have both.

        THEN......it took almost a month for AT&T to reconnect the DSL
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Adambomb (118938)
          The shortest list of all is the list of phone support services that do not currently suck big time.

          Average Handling Time plus Average Value Added Service per call == even when getting assistance for a faulty service you're a commodity..
          • by ericdano (113424)
            True enough.

            Funny thing is, the BEST support I got from AT&T was one of the tech guys who actually came out, and decided he'd go to bat for me. He gave me his number, and his bosses, and he spent a good hour on the phone being shuttled around AT&T. One of their own employees, getting the run around. I didn't feel so bad. He did get it fixed though.....finally. Kudos to that employee.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Bruinwar (1034968)
      AT&T Uverse installation is a joke. Here they have thousands of techs that can install the service in under an hour or two & what do they do? They hire total noobs (cheap) that take 10+ hours(not kidding) to install & it still doesn't work! True story, it was over 12 hours in our home & it barely worked. 2nd attempt was 8 hours & it was improved but still had problems. The only reason their 3rd attempt worked was because my brother (installed phones for 20 years) came over &
  • by Firebones (1236508) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @12:05AM (#22690482) Homepage Journal
    See, it's like you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a very long straw called FiOS that reaches all the way over into your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! I drink it up.
  • by kilodelta (843627) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @12:18AM (#22690528) Homepage
    Verizon is using some pretty tricky things to sign people onto FIOS. And I as a dedicated Verizon hater do my best to counter it.

    Example, I've pushed a half dozen people away from Verizon when I explained that their costs for the same service would actually RISE if they switched away from Cox.

    In one case the sales droid for Verizon told one former co-worker of mine that Verizon owned all the coax cable that Cox used. That's complete and utter bullshit. Cox owns all the coax.
    • by samkass (174571) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @12:32AM (#22690594) Homepage Journal
      I'm no lover of Verizon, but FiOS beats everything. It's insanely better than DSL and noticeably faster than cable modems. It's not the cheapest way to hook up to the internet, but my combination all-you-can-talk phone, basic television, and 20/5 internet is $105/year (and that's not an introductory rate), so it's not bad. And downloading the 2.1GB iPhone SDK in less than 20 minutes or uploading my kids' movies to their great grandmother is what it's about.

      I guess it helps my cognitive dissonance that I've been around the block enough times that I've been screwed by all the companies. My favorite story about our cable company was when they held on to our checks for 2 weeks then charged us late fees. So we switch to direct-debit (yeah, young and naive at the time). Anyway, they DEBIT our accounts 2 WEEKS LATE then DEBIT the late fees as well. So while Verizon is evil, they don't seem any eviler than any of the others to me.

      • by kilodelta (843627)
        I only have the Cox high tier net service. It's $50 a month but I get 20/5 service. The cable company you had sounds like real winners, was it Comcast by chance?

        That said, you pay only $105 a year? That's a hell of a deal.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by eli pabst (948845)

        my combination all-you-can-talk phone, basic television, and 20/5 internet is $105/year

        Did you mean per month? $105 a year would be insanely good for DSL just by itself (that's under $10 month).
      • by glwtta (532858)
        It's not the cheapest way to hook up to the internet, but my combination all-you-can-talk phone, basic television, and 20/5 internet is $105/year (and that's not an introductory rate), so it's not bad.

        Um, less than $9 a month for phone, TV and freaking 20/5 fibre is "not bad"? If that's a typo and you meant "month" - hell, I still pay more than that just for a lousy 6/768 DSL connection.
  • by mduckworth (457088) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @12:22AM (#22690550) Homepage
    You know I read all of these comments about how people would kill for FIOS. And I've also heard bad things about comcast, but I'm here to tell you, Verizon's customer service and billing is THE WORST! I ordered fios a year ago, got it put in and all was well. Then I move to a new home where fios is also available. They charge me a $90 "installation charge" that 3 reps insist is right, but the 4th rep says is wrong and that it should be $30. They screwed the activation so I called to get the order number to do it online and the rep sent me a new router and added a $140 charge. So they autobilled my credit card something like $280 this month... FOR FIOS INTERNET ONLY! Both verizon tech support and billing were supposed to send me a return label to return the new router and NEITHER SUCCEEDED! They are AMAZINGLY incompetent. They will transfer you around time after time to the wrong department. They don't listen to a word you say. The hold times are better now, a month ago I was holding over an hour to get through to anyone. For what it's worth the installation was top notch at both homes as has been the service. Just hope you never need to call them for anything... ever. You'll be sorry.
    • by aztektum (170569)
      They probably hope you'll give up and just pay the extra charges.
    • by ivan256 (17499) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @02:47AM (#22691050)
      Call Verizon and switch to FiOS for business.

      Here's what will happen:

      They'll come install a second ONT on your house. You'll get 20% faster speed. You'll pay about 5% less. You won't have PPPoE and the associated latency anymore. You'll get 24/7 access to live, helpful customer service reps. Plus you'll have the option of static IPs for a fee should you decide you need them.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tkrotchko (124118) *
        That's interesting and worth a try.

        But in my area, they dropped PPOE for FIOS about 1-2 years ago. If you put in PPOE credentials it ignores it at this point. I only found out because I've had FIOS for 3 years, and last year I added TV. When the tech replaced my router with their actiontec, he didn't put in any credentials, and said that had been dropped some time ago.

        Also, if you're nice to the installer, they'll put the ONT inside your house which is far more convenient.
      • After reading so much about the rainbows and puppies that is life with Speakeasy here on Slashdot, I gave them a ring for DSL in my new place.

        No Way.

        AT&T 3/512 is $49.99/month ($54.ish including taxes) with no phone number and no contract.
        Speakeasy 2/128 was over $125/month and needed a two-year contract.

        I could install two and a half AT&T lines for the cost of one, slower, Speakeasy line. This was downtown Chicago last Spring. YMMV.
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @12:22AM (#22690552)

    ...because in Boston, which just so happens to be the silicon valley of the east coast (and has been for decades), I can't get FiOS.

    Why? Verizon is holding the entire city hostage and refusing to do a fucking thing until they get a state-wide cable TV franchise license so they don't have to play on the same field as the cable operators (who have always had to negotiate per-town.) Look at the verizon deployment maps; it's a sea of blue and green, except for a giant void near Boston.

    They've fed all sorts of bullshit to people; at one point, they were claiming that they were not doing "metropolitan areas." Funny: I guess New York City and DC aren't metropolitan areas? Everyone in the burbs and even the boondocks in eastern MA gets FiOS, but no, not Boston...

    • by paul248 (536459) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @12:46AM (#22690650) Homepage
      Don't feel bad, I live in the Silicon Valley of the West coast and can't get FiOS either.
    • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @12:47AM (#22690654)
      I'm in the silicon valley of, well, the valley (ie, the real deal, mtn view/sunnyvale/san jose).

      and no, we don't get FIOS either.

      technology center of the US and we can't get fiber.

      I see many roads are torn apart. not sure what they are digging up and doing but they are NOT planting fiber, that much is clear.

      (at least not consumer or customer fiber. maybe they think terr-a-wrists are underground so they keep digging up our streets...)
    • by davidu (18)
      You think Boston is bad? Here in the "Silicon Valley" of well -- Silicon Valley, we don't even have FIOS.

      SF and the whole bay area have no FIOS service. The best I can get is 16mbps from Comcast. And it ain't comcastic.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by log0n (18224)
      Boston? I thought Silicon Valley East was Alexandria, VA (and surrounding DC tech corridor).
      • by hey! (33014) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @02:03AM (#22690928) Homepage Journal
        Actually Boston was a center of computer technology when Silicon Valley was just cheap farmland.

        The thing that happened was that the Boston area IT firms were largely minicomputer outfits (like DEC and Prime) or special purpose engineering workstations (Apollo, Symbolics), not to mention many spin-offs and laboratories involved in advanced CS work. The thing was the area's IT market got hit by a kind of perfect storm in the late 80s and early 90s: the collapse of the minicomputer market segment, the flagging of investor interest in artificial intelligence, the weakening of the workstation market, and a post Soviet Union drop off in government spending on the ultra-high-tech defense research that was a regular source of business creation in the university rich Boston area. At the same time, continued high property values made it less attractive for young engineers graduating from Boston schools to stay here.

        Still, the Boston area continues to grow high tech startups in a variety of technical fields because of the sheer volume of academic research here; it's just that we haven't experienced the next big thing after the informatics boom of the 70s and 80s, and we missed out largely on the Internet bubble of the 90s. When the next thing happens, say if biotech takes off like informatics did in the 70s, we'll probably see Boston as an early hot spot, as it was in the 40s through 80s for computers.
    • by TKBui (574476) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @01:36AM (#22690834)
      Ha! I live in Sunnyvale and I have FIBER. I get 20480kbp and I am not on Comcast or AT&T. Paxio.com
      • by geniusj (140174)
        Details?! Is it specific to certain developments that sign on? The site is seems of devoid of that kind of information.
    • by cgenman (325138)
      Fios is viable over here in Cambridge. DSL reports claims [dslreports.com] that there is FiOS in parts of Boston proper. There is also a slightly out of date [imageshack.us] map showing deployment in the area. And, of course, their statement of intent to expand Boston coverage [mediaweek.com] from a year ago. Heck, they're selling it out of Jordan's Furniture [dealerscope.com]. You can't get more Bostonian than that.

      I'd check availability [verizon.com] in your particular part of boston. It doesn't seem like Verizon is holding anyone hostage, so much as rollout is taking longer than
      • by mapkinase (958129)
        FIOS in Montgomery County, MD ("technology corridor" along 270) has been stalled for quite some time because of the lack of understanding between local politicians and Verison. I have tried Comcast and I am trying Verizon DSL. First one was pure crap, DSL is a little better, but still unsatisfactory.
  • by jjzeidner (1251424) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @12:25AM (#22690566)
    this is what happens when you employ policies that virtually eliminate market competition in favor of granting 'sweetheart deals' in return for the ability to snoop the network whenever you please. Telco is perhaps the most corrupt it has ever been in American history. Joshua Zeidner [joshuazeidner.com]
  • by MyBrotherSteve (944845) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @12:29AM (#22690578) Homepage
    It's possible that if this all started while, or just after, they got done digging up the neighborhood to run the fiber, that they accidentally did something that is causing line interference or an impedance of some sort. In this case, a line technician would be able to determine an actual physical problem with any of the lines. Obviously, a phone call to have them check won't hurt.
    • I'd most likely suspect that it's simply a case of they have only a fixed amount of backbone bandwidth to their central office that's now feeding both the old DSL and new fiber customers, and now all those newly added fiber customers are simply sucking the life out of the backbone connection's bandwidth capacity.
  • Go Cable (Score:3, Informative)

    by Deathlizard (115856) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @12:33AM (#22690600) Homepage Journal
    If you got a Cable Co. in your area. Jump to it.

    Most likely if FIOS is around, the local Cable Co. is probably price matching Verizon's FIOS Service. Possibly beating Verizon's price. Although be warned. Depending on the Cable Co, it could be worse service than what Verizon is giving you.

    Verizon's tech service has been going downhill for awile. My first experience with it was they couldn't hook up a friends house for some reason because he's close to a state border. After dicking with Verizon for two months of appointment cancellations and broken activation promises he called the Cable Co. (in this case, Adelphia) and had Broadband in his house in three days. Then when he canceled the DSL service he never received, they charged him for two months of service and a breach of contract for service he never received.

    Another example is two weeks ago I was working on a PC who already had Verizon. He was on the basic plan and I recommended that he upgrade to the power plan. He called them and asked for the upgrade from basic to power and they said it would take a few days (Vs Time Warner's and Armstrong's "call to upgrade and get the speed instantly" support) A few days later, he gets an e-mail that welcomes him to Verizon and happily tells him that he's now paying the power plan price for basic tier service. In other words. Verizon happily raised his bill $10 a month for the exact same level of DSL service he was already receiving. Thankfully he got that strengthened out after talking to a billing rep during his work hour since billing closes at 5PM and tech support had no clue what was going on.
  • by Dan East (318230) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @12:34AM (#22690602) Homepage Journal
    A couple years ago when we moved into our current house we signed up for DSL. Things were good for a couple months, then connectivity became very poor and spotty. Throughput was bad, and the line would completely drop from time to time. We had 6 different tech guys come to our house. Each would hook up his diagnostic machine, which would sync up with the office and show really good connectivity and throughput. They swapped out our modem at least 4 times. They said that since the meter showed the line was good, the problem was mine. One guy started screwing around with my computers before I finally told him to stop (throughput was fine on my LAN). Finally, this one guy came out, and he was determined to get to the bottom of it. He at least had the intelligence to say that just because his equipment told him everything was fine, the fact that a modem couldn't sync meant otherwise. He ran a new line from the pole to the house. Then he helped run a new line all the way to my office (even though they're supposed to charge for that). He had a guy at the office switch the node we physically connected into. Still bad connectivity. So he then went from pole to pole from my house to the office, which is at least a dozen blocks. He finally found a splice that was connected with old-style crimp on connectors. Apparently there was some corrosion in them, which increased the resistance just exactly enough that the modem couldn't tolerate it, but the diagnostic equipment could (and the resistance was within tolerable limits). He replaced the splice, and everything has been perfect for well over a year. He gave me his own cell number and told me to call him direct if we ever had further problems.

    So my point is not to jump to conclusions. There could be a physical problem with your line that happened about when the FiOS was rolling out. Try hooking your modem directly to your Network Interface Box (usually on the side of the house) with all of your interior wiring disconnected (should just be a little jumper going into a regular phone jack - unplug it and plug your modem straight in). If your throughput goes up, you have a problem with your interior wiring. If it doesn't, the DSL provider is obligated to fix the problem. Make sure you tell them that you hooked your modem up directly to the network interface box, because the tech person should then immediately schedule someone to come out instead of having you try bridging your DSL modem and a bunch of other worthless garbage. They will still probably tell you to hard-reset your modem, but after that then they should send someone out. As in my case, it might take several different techs to find someone that can actually help. Same with support on the phone. Some people would randomly pick things out of some list a computer showed them, and ask me to follow various worthless steps. Other people knew exactly what was not wrong, based on what I told them up front, and so they didn't beat around the bush.
    • I had that same experience with Time Warner right after they took over for Adelphia (so, Adelphia staff with Adelphia equipment that had Time Warner stickers over the old Adelphia ones).

      Modem kept dropping, cable boxes kept losing connection for the guide and the digital channels. They sent 5 techs, and the last one finally said "Enough with this" and re-ran from the pole to the house, crossing a very busy 2-lane for semis between two local small cities. He helped run some coax in the house, even left us
    • I agree, before jumping to conclusion that Verizon is out to get them, be sure to actually check if there is a problem on your end. I had DSL for a few months after FiOS was available, and I had no problems with my connection before I decided to switch once TV came out too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by leabre (304234)
      I had a similar problem with AT&T (previously SBC, previously Pacific Bell, Previously ... etc). My 3MB Dropped to intermittent connection reliability and then stopped cold. They eventually confirmed (or admitted) that my modem doesn't establish communication. So they came out and spent many weeks trying to find the problem. Finally, a third tech said that it works fine at some utility box 1,000 feet from my house but not at the wall of my house. So they spent a few more weeks digging up the ling t
  • Verizon reps have told me numerous times that they want to phase out DSL in favor of FIOS whenever possible, because the costs to maintain a fiber connection are less than DSL. It's not really surprising that they want to push a service that provides a lot more revenue, and has a lower cost overall. Even if it takes pulling customers kicking and screaming
  • I work for a telco. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dadragon (177695) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @12:52AM (#22690676) Homepage
    I work for a smallish Canadian telco. We offer DSL, IPTV, and telephone all over copper. Our infrastructure is all FTTN, and you can pull 10mbps at 600m easy. If you're on our service, 20mbps is possible if you have HDTV. There's one of two things going on here. Verizon is trying to screw you, or there's something wrong with your line.

    If it's the former Verizon won't help you. If it's the latter, a tech should be able to fix it. If you're only 550m from the CO you might not have an access cabinet in between you and the CO, but there should be many pairs into the pedestal near your house. A tech should be able to just do a pair change and fix it. The other thing that could happen is a port change in the CO. Both of these are quick, as long as the CO is manned. We have about 25 in this city, and only 1 is manned full time.
  • How paltry.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by blankoboy (719577) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @12:56AM (#22690692)
    Sorry but "which boasts 3 Mbps down and 758 Kbps up"? I wouldn't be boasting too much about that service. If you were to rank the US in terms of their internet connectivity they really are almost a 3rd world country.

    $50/month here in Japan gets me 100Mbps (up and down) FTTH with no caps in place. Yes, you can all say "well Japan is such a small and densely populated country so of course they can all be wired up like that", which I hear so often. Well, why can't the US do this for their main cities as they are all densely populated. If they were to take this approach and then build high bandwidth links interconnecting these cities it could be done.

    But the real problem here is that the telecoms and politicians are too busy filling their pockets and planning how to spy on you to care about doing anything to improve their networks.

    • by timmarhy (659436)
      only in large cities like NY are they as dense as japan.

      but you are still right, teleco's in the USA are too busy giving the government a handjob to look after their customers.

    • by B4RSK (626870)
      I just signed up for 1Gbps up and down here in Osaka. $90/month. I have to upgrade my firewall now as it is the bottleneck in the connection!
    • A locally owned company is going to begin installing fiber in our city... But wait... Comcast doesn't want competition since they're the only viable high-speed internet provider in our area, so they're doing their best to tie the company up in lawsuits for years.

      I agree, politics play way too much of a role in anything.
    • See, what we did here is hand over a bunch of tax dollars to the telcos when they promised to build all these fat pipes in the early 90s. Then they didn't build the fat pipes. Gotta get that whole don't-pay-for-a-product-that-don't-exist-yet thing right next time.
    • Oh stop (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday March 09, 2008 @09:18AM (#22692012)
      I get real tired of people getting up with this national pride over Internet. So you got cheap Internet? Ok, great. How much does your apartment cost? How large is it? My condo is 167 square meters (1800 square feet). It has a nice courtyard with a pool, a large parking lot and so on. I own it, I don't rent, the mortgage is about 78,000 JPY (760 USD) including all taxes and such. So how's that stack up to your place?

      Now I'm not trying to brag here, I am making a point that different countries are, well, different. Even different areas of the same country are different. So it is great that you can get cheap Internet access, but have you considered everything involved in that? Have you considered that your situation might not be the same as everyone else's? Is it even the same in all of Japan? Can you get that same access in, say Tono (which despite being rural for Japan is larger than many US towns)?

      Another part to consider is are they really giving you 100mbit Internet, or are they giving you a 100mbit connection to a WAN that is connected to the Internet? What I mean is generally speaking in the US, when you buy a connection you get the given bandwidth to anywhere. Your connection to your neighbour is no faster or slower than to anywhere else. The ISP has sufficient upstream to support that to their backbones and so on. So with my 10mbit link, I find that I get that to pretty much anywhere that also has sufficient bandwidth. It isn't just things on my network, it is anywhere on the Internet.

      Well in informal testing, I've found that isn't always true with foreign ISPs. I remember several years ago when I worked for network operations on campus, I was testing with someone in Sweden, they were on a DSL service called BBB. 10mbit to the home, which at the time was pretty high end. However, they got crap connections to us, about 256kbit. Well, the problem wasn't on our end. I checked the routers, they were all fine, I checked the links, they were all low usage (below 20%), I tried transfers to a number of known high bandwidth sites in various places, all went fast.

      A little playing around revealed that more or less BBB was a huge WAN, like we had on campus. They provided a high speed connection between you and them. So anyone else on the same ISP you got blazing fast speeds to. However they didn't have the bandwidth to support it to the rest of the Internet. So if you hopped off their network, things got much, MUCH slower.

      So is your situation similar? It wouldn't surprise me if it was, because larger links cost lots and lots of money. It isn't a linear scale. While 100mbit gear is pretty cheap, if you have a bunch of people on 100mbit, you can't have a 100mbit uplink. If you do, that means that they'll only get their full rate if they are the only on using it. That don't mean you need dedicated bandwidth per person, but you do need more than what they each get. So while 100 people x 100mbit doesn't need a 10gbit uplink, you probably should have a 1gbit uplink, maybe more. Well the same thing is true at higher levels, and it starts to add up pretty quick to needing some real big links, if you are actually offering people that speed to the Internet.

      Otherwise, you have a situation like we do on campus. I have a gig connection to my desktop at work. The switch it is connected to has a gig to our firewall, that has redundant gig to the building switch, which has redundant gig to the distribution switch, which has redundant gig to the core, which has redundant gig to the edge. However I wouldn't say I have a gig net connection. Why? Well two things:

      1) At each of those levels, the connection is only a gig, but I am sharing with more people. Our building probably has 500 computers in it, the distribution switches it connects to probably handle 50 buildings, and the whole campus connects to the core switches. So while I could get a gig all the way to the core, I could only do it if I were the only one using it. In reality, I have to share with lots of other people.

      2) We d
  • That appears what Verizon wants you to do, rather than have to maintain that crappy old copper network. That crappy old regulated copper network.

    As I understand it, Verizon (and others) lobbied and won concessions in the regulation of newer technology networks. If you request new service, supplied by FiOS, they can get you to agree to new terms of service. Terms of service much more to Verizon's liking, no doubt.

    Verizon could work their way down the street and switch everyone to a FiOS line, even if on

  • I have Optimum Online from Cablevision. I've been salivating at the prospect of FIOS to enter the picture locally and eat Cablevision's lunch, out of spite as much as for any technical/cost reason. But no. Cablevision has a deal in place with the apartment management company in my complex that prevents FIOS from coming in. We (the tenants) think that should be illegal (and maybe it is), but good luck getting anyone to look into it. Meanwhile, Cablevision happily strings one of their main coax cables th
  • Take the FiOS. It's better in every way. Cheaper, faster, more reliable.

    The conspiracy theories that they're trying to pull the copper to make it so you can't go with the competition have been soundly debunked. Why on earth would you want to stay with crappy old DSL when you could have rock-stable FiOS?

    For some perspective, my internet uptime with FiOS is going on three years. Your DSL can't do that.
  • I seriously doubt that your neighbors or even quadrant of the city are cutting into fiber optic bandwidth. OC-192 runs on fibre as do many other extremely high speed networks. 3 Mbps is nothing to fiber. Even 3 Gbps shouldn't be a problem. If it is, then somebody is running low bandwidth gear on a high-speed piece of glass.

    I would suspect the issue is like comcast here. They reduced everybody's 6 Mbps cable feeds to 1 Mbps because, as one tech told me, "nobody ever checks their speeds anyway." Another
  • One little know fact is that your local telephone company (Verizon) typically must follow rules imposed by both the FCC and your States 'Public Utilities Commission' (PUC). Depending where you live, there is sometimes even a local PUC.

    You can complain to both the FCC and PUC(s) about your service.

    While it may not be enough to improve your service right away, the telephone company MUST pay attention these complaints.
  • I don't think that they are making him an offer he can't refuse.....

    I think they are making him an offer he won't have a choice to refuse.

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