Re: Verizon FiOS

I have a few qestions about Verizon's new FiOS service. It was

> recently installed in my neighborhood and I'm thinking about switching > over from Comcast. > 1. Does Verizon offer Usenet access with their accounts? Comcast only > offers a limited amount of bandwidth for Usenet and charges extra if > you exceed it.

Yes, Verizon has very good Usenet access. It was terrible a few years ago, but was upgraded to excellent quality about a year ago. Officially, retention is 6 months for most non-binary groups. There are glitches, inevitably, but I am very pleased with it; I access it via DSL, but the same 30,000+ groups are available from the same servers to FIOS customers. There are no Usenet bandwidth limits and no extra charges, a significant difference from Comcast for some users. Verizon also maintains a closed set of newsgroups (0.verizon.*) accessible only from Verizon residential broadband customers, with a few minor exceptions. These are filled with ranting, trolls, complaints, occasionally appreciative posts, suggestions, etc. (not all that different from elsewhere on Usenet) -- and Verizon's news administrators participate, list newly available groups, etc. Several Verizon Online employees also participate on their own time and provide useful advice.

2. Can I connect without using MSN?


3. I have three computers. Will they charge me extra for the > additional IP's? If so, how much?

You can't get additional IPs, if Verizon's DSL practices extend to FIOS. Use a router and you can connect as many computers as you want for personal/family purposes. Verizon will even provide a wireless router, if you want it; otherwise use whatever you want on your own dime.

4. Can I run a personal server? I'd like to be able to host my own > home page on it, as well as a message board. What about game servers > (quake 3, etc.)?

I don't know how the terms of service for FIOS differ from DSL, but the DSL terms of service officially prohibit servers. From what I understand from the Verizon newsgroups, however, this is mainly intended to apply to high-bandwidth and commercial servers. I haven't heard of any action taken against people informally hosting games. As to websites, no. Verizon (in most regions) blocks port 80, which effectively means you can't host a website on your PC, unless you use an alternate port and a dynamic DNS redirection service.

Verizon offers customers space for a website on its servers, but the unanimous opinion of users is that the website service sucks raw eggs big time. Get a web hosting account on a shared server for a few bucks a month from any number of companies, register a domain name, and use the webhost as your email provider, too. I use

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to host my email and web pages for less than $10 per month, and there are many cheaper companies, too. One reason to use an outside service for email is that Verizon's email sucks. They have blocked incoming email from huge swathes of Europe, for example, in a fruitless effort to avoid spam, and Verizon is on some blacklists due to zombie machines sending spam, so it would be wise not to depend on its email service. Verizon does not block outgoing port 25, so you can use your hosting company's smtp server without problems.

5. Will they offer cable tv services? I'd like to dump Comcast > completely. Will they have video on demand?

My understanding is that Verizon plans to offer fiber-based TV service, but it may or may not be available when you get FIOS, because of the regulatory situation. (Verizon either has to get a Cable TV authorization where is provides service or get the FCC to determine that some particular configuration of fiber-based TV doesn't constitute cable TV and is therefore exempt from local CATV regulation.) Verizon's game plan is to allow you to dump Comcast, and I have to assume they will have video on demand. They would be idiots not to (not that that ever stopped a telco ...).

6. 15/2 service costs $49.95 per month. 30/5 costs $199.95 per > month. Twice the bandwidth, four times the price. Why such a big jump > in price? Can you get two 15/2 packages and join them together > (remember shotgun modems? You could have two 56k modems work as one)?


6a. Does the $199.95 package give you the right to run servers? Maybe > that's the reason for the big increase?


7. Can FiOS handle higher speeds in the future, or will they need to > replace the fiber once again when the next leap in speed comes?

An optical fiber can handle almost infinitely higher speeds than 15 or

30 MB/s. I have no doubt that Verizon will increase speeds as the demand for higher speed grows and competitive sources for such speed come into being. My DSL service started as 640K/128K for $59.95 per month in 1999. Using the same wires, I now get 3M/768K for $29.95 per month. As FIOS and digital cable/Internet subscribers use more and more bandwidth to watch multiple simultaneous video channels per household as well as engage in high-bandwidth online activities, I'm sure Verizon will offer speed upgrades. If the DSL example holds, it will double speeds every few years for the same price.
8. Has anyone in this group made the jump from Comcast to FiOS? What > do you think so far?

I haven't had the opportunity yet, although the fiber is in place. The customer's posting on 0.verizon.fios seem to be relatively satisfied.

Michael D. Sullivan Bethesda, MD (USA) (Replace "example.invalid" with "com" in my address.)

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Michael D. Sullivan
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