There’s been some recent press about Verizon and their FIOS product installation. FIOS is a fiber optic network service that delivers voice, video and data services. You may also see it referred to as a Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) or Fiber to the Home (FTTH) service that Verizon is selling and installing in select markets in 16 different states.
Most who have the service installed are extremely happy with the bandwidth and cost when compared to lower bandwidth DSL and Cable Modem services. The product has become so popular that it is even being used as a selling point by real estate agents when marketing homes.
A few are complaining though. It appears Verizon, when installing the FIOS service, is cutting out the existing copper lines leaving the customer with only one option – fiber and FIOS. There are a couple of good reasons from a business perspective for Verizon to do this. The first is the existing copper wiring is old and requires a significant amount of maintenance – Verizon spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year just maintaining the existing “copper plant? and it makes sense to remove it when it is replaced. The second reason is the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which requires the telephone companies (like Verizon) share their existing copper lines with competitors. There is no current legal requirement for Verizon to share new fiber optic lines with anyone.
In fairness to Verizon, there is a three step notification process for people who sign up for the FIOS service. According to the International Herald Tribune, customers are told by the Verizon sales person, it is indicated in the sales contract and the customer is told by the technician that the copper will be cut out. Currently, Verizon is publicly stating they will replace removed copper if a FIOS customer wished to revert back to copper service.
Also according to the International Herald Tribune, Verizon has filed more than 100 notices with the Federal Communications Commission to retire portions of copper throughout its network.
I can understand the customer concerns about lack of choice and some technical issues like battery back-up and also Verizon’s concerns about having to maintain two separate networks.