Verizon has finally seen it fit to offer FIOS in my subdivision! We (and many other households in the area) have been waiting for this for at least three years when rumors of FIOS in Fredericksburg first started swirling.
Verizon started trenching the backbone fiber lines three months ago and finished about five weeks ago. Three weeks ago I repeated the perfunctory ceremony of checking to see if my house qualified for FIOS. It has been so long in coming that I had to run the loop qualification web page twice to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating! Three minutes later I had my install date for 30Mbps down and 5Mbps up. 😀 Install day was Monday October 29, 2007.
I learned some interesting things during the install from watching and talking to the the technician (Darren, very nice guy):
- The ONT (Optical Network Terminal) hangs on the outside of the house and is powered by household power (my technician did a great job minimizing the impact of this wiring requirement!). The FCC’s 911 stipulation requires Verizon to install a small UPS to power the ONT during a power outage. Interestingly, the UPS is there ONLY to provide dial tone. Apparently the TV and Internet circuits in the ONT are deactivated if/when main power is out. Good to know.
- All demodulation occurs on the ONT. Voice, data, and TV all come straight from the ONT. Somehow I had had the impression that at least some fiber was inside the house. Not true…
- Verizon estimates that by the time all is said and done they spend $1,500 per house getting them FIOSed. The aggregate capital investment they are making is impressive.
- A coax cable connects the ONT to the Verizon you-must-use-ours-don’t-ask-to-use-a-different-one WiFi Router device.
- If you get Verizon TV (I haven’t…. yet) then any/all splitters need to be upgraded to (a) reduce insertion loss and (b) provide this bandpass filter since the CATV cable is used as a signalling channel to the set top boxes. This means there will be some attic work to get Verizon TV upstairs 😦 .
- There are no routing hops between the ONT and the CO (Central Office). This seems to be borne out in my traceroutes. I’m not sure why, but this is mildly surprising.
- A backhaul fiber (the fiber that returns to the CO) is provisioned for every thirty-two connected houses.
- HDTV can require 25Mbps. If you add the bandwidth requirement of a 30Mbps Internet connection and three (3) TV sets watching different HD programs you get 105Mbps. For one house. My subdivision has about 900 homes in it. That’s about 90Gbps for one neighborhood. In the aggregate the data rates are mind boggling.
- 50Mbps down/10Mbps up is in the pipeline for my subdivision.
- There are only two points in the Verizon network where TV signal is encoded into IP (one is in Illinois and the other is in Florida). This means that the rest of the Verizon network just sees “IP.” I bet they’ve figured out QoS. This isn’t your father’s Verizon.
I’ve been using this connection since October 29 (2007) and can’t imagine using anything slower.
- If I can come to terms with the idea of a set-top box for each TV (ugh) I am likely to move to Verizon TV.
- I’d love to drop Verizon as our local exchange carrier and move to a self-configured VoIP DID for local service. I’ve had a VoIP DID in our exchange for a long time and haven’t used it. Fortunately, it only costs $3 or something per month. I tried this earlier and failed for various reasons. I am hopeful that the network characteristics of a high-speed optical internet connection will eliminate at least the technical reasons why my first foray into household VoIP failed. :^)
- The cable operators should be afraid.