The Verizon Fios Run Around: Where Upgrades Mean Downgrades For Your Older Devices
I am writing this article today while tethered to my LG V10 cell phone for internet because once again the service that I pay $95 a month for to Verizon Fios is mysteriously down due to equipment failure. The truly sad thing is that my phone tether connection is giving me a more stable and faster wifi than my Verizon Fios service has in at least six months. After some months of troubleshooting and being frustrated, I thought it was time that I explain to others why the Fios service upgrade is not a good deal for everyone, and what kinds of problems I’ve had with the service this year.
My troubles began back in April when I decided to take a look at what I was paying every month for internet service. I was upset because for a few months the service was up and down and I did not feel like I was getting my monies worth at all. I was paying $95 a month for 50/50 speed and that seemed a bit excessive to me for just internet, especially internet that half works, so I wanted to get the cost down on that and I decided that it was time to demand that my service work correctly.
I went to the Verizon Fios website to see what their plans offer minus the rip off triple bundle gimmicks. I call them ripoffs because if I can get three services for $130 bucks, why is one service by itself still $95. I think it has more to do with the companies can charge us ridiculous prices and we will all still pay it because we want internet service and less to do with the value being there for one item versus three. They have created a demand for services we didn’t even want by making us think we are getting more for our dollar if we sign up for all three things instead of what we really only needed.
The website said that I could get 50/50 service for $49.99 a month, so my first question to Verizon, well why have I been paying $95 a month when I originally agreed to the $49.99 a month? They told me the plan on their website carries fine print and that its only for the first two years and then it goes up to the $95. I did not receive any notice at the end of the two year period to tell me about the charge doubling, nor did the service representative mention this increased charge to me when I signed up for the service. I expect an increase to happen when I have agreements on contract, but it was not agreed upon when I signed up and no courtesy was given to let me know it was about to increase which is a bit of a put off to me. I like to be updated when something will cost me more money, before my card is charged more money.
Now I’m not happy on the phone with customer no service because they are telling me that as a valued loyal customer my business is not as good as new customers so they are punishing me by charging me double. After some arguing and haggling I agreed to continue to pay the $95 a month if I could in turn get 100/100 speed, if they were going to charge me for double, I better at least get double speed. There was a $150 fee to upgrade but I was told that fee would be waived as part of the arrangement. It was the 1st of April, and the technician wouldn’t be able to come out until the 16th of April, so I would be paying for 16 days worth of upgrade already that I wasn’t getting. I understood this and this was fine to get it over and done with, a one time upgrade. The upgrade was supposed to make everything in my house run faster and be more stable so waiting a few weeks was absolutely worth it to me for that. I wanted my internet to work reliably.
Then Verizon workers went on strike. I did not know this was coming, or anything about it. When the technician was supposed to arrive he did not show up. I called and complained, and a couple days later they sent a fill in tech. The fill in tech didn’t seem to have a clue about how to do anything at all and deleted all my information off my box which then had to be completely reprogrammed for it to even talk to Verizon. He thought he had it all working so he closed the installation ticket and left in a hurry without testing anything because he had a million other jobs to do. It wasn’t working, so I had to call another tech out only to find out that there was no line running to my home for the new service to work correctly, I needed a new line put in for the 5g upgrade. A few more days went by before they could get the techs back out and then half a day and three techs poking around my backyard later I finally had a new line and new router and service was tested and was “working”.
Then came the real issues. The new Verizon dual band routers have two wifi spots within them, and the tech did not mention this. All the newer devices you have in your home can connect to the 5g, while older devices can only connect to the lesser wifi. The problem is the lesser wifi on this new router is half as good as the original router was to start off with before the upgrade. This means that while my LG Smart TV in my living room can use the awesome 5g speed, my Playstation 3 which plays Netflix can only connect to the lesser wifi, and now that the lesser wifi is half as good, it connects really crappy and I get buffering and low bandwidth errors all the time. The only way to fix that as far as I know is to buy another device called a wifi extender and place it halfway between my router downstairs and the Playstation 3 upstairs. Conveniently Verizon offers this several hundred dollar device that they previously made no mention to me I would have any possibility of needing to use if I did this upgrade but I refuse to pay any more money to make this service work than I already have wasted on it.
For a few weeks I didn’t even know about the dual band being there at all, so what was happening is every device in my home was connecting to the lesser wifi, and they were all bogging each other down and causing each other to lose connection from low bandwidth. I called to get a tech to come out again and was lucky to get a real Verizon person on the phone by this time who was able to separate it out so I can physically see my router name, and then my router name + 5g so I can differentiate which one I’m allowing which device to connect to. I went around and told all the newer devices in my home to use the 5g router and to forget the old lesser wifi. This worked a little better but the service was still dropping in and out so I switched the router configuration to use a different channel, because the one it was on seemed to be in use by everyone in my neighborhood.
Finally this worked a little closer to what I had before I did the upgrade and the dropout frequency I was experiencing was down to a few times a day for short intermittent intervals. I keep trying to tell the techs I think something is wrong with the line that the goober fill in guys put in but they are playing like everything is just peachy fine on their end that it totally must be a problem with all of my devices that were working completely fine before this “upgrade”. I can do a speedtest and see dropouts happen constantly and they still don’t recognize this as a problem.
Tonight at 9pm my internet service went completely down. I called and the tech troubleshooted it over the phone as best as he could, but the issue seems to be the box on the back of the house now has malfunctioned. The earliest they can send a tech out is Saturday, today is Wednesday.
When the tech comes out, even if they can fix everything, I still have to call and argue with Verizon about the $150 installation charge for the upgrade they added to my bill that was supposed to be waived. I have the original agreement email sent to me that shows it being waived, but somehow honoring that agreement on their own was hard, so I’m going to have to fight to have them remove it. As if I’m not already frustrated enough with their service not being at all close to what I’ve been paying for for a long while now.
Tomorrow I’m calling Cox Communications and having them install a backup line in my home and I’ll pay two internet bills from now on for my own peace of mind because Verizon Fios is not consistent and stable and has let me down too much in my time of being a customer. I need the Fios unfortunately for the 100 upload speed and Cox does not offer that high of an upload speed so I’m stuck keeping the Fios even though they are a huge hassle and at this point I hate being their customer. At least if I have the Cox service too I won’t have to run up my AT&T data charges from using my cell phone to tether in get service every time Verizon has more drama which for the last several months has been constantly.
As comedian Jeff Foxworthy put it “If the cable company promises you something, in six months you can expect a bill that will look like Ron White’s bar tab” which holds true for internet.
If you can avoid the Fios upgrade, do not upgrade until you have a lot of newer 5g ready devices. If you have older devices in your home it will absolutely screw up the service to those devices unless you purchase additional equipment, which they will fail to mention to you. If Verizon promises to give you a waived fee of any sort, check your bill to make sure you are not being charged for it. Also I do not recommend that you use the auto bill pay feature, as if your 2 year agreement runs out they will pull whatever amount they have gone up to out automatically without notifying you so be careful to watch that you are paying the same amount that you agreed to every month.
I for one am not a happy Verizon Fios customer. I do not find their service to have the fastest speeds and the most reliable up times as they advertise. If you are in an area that has more than a few internet service providers that offer cheap plans and you do not require a high upload and download speed, consider shopping around with all of them for the best service that will cost you the least and pay attention to the 2 year agreements they carry as part of those signups.
Its not worth the hassle to overpay and still not get good service. If you’re a Verizon customer you’re likely to have to take a lot of time off work to be home for the 4 hour window they give you when the tech will arrive to troubleshoot your issues, and then they might not show up and have to reschedule you, or will leave before fully fixing your issue, or will create an even worse issue for you if they send a fill in tech.
If Cox ever steps up their game to offer 100 upload speed I’ll switch over completely and never look back.
Bottom line is, while I have many newer devices that can use the 5g part of this router even if it is working correctly, my upgrade basically downgraded my services to all my older devices which worked great on the older pre-5g router. If only I had known I would have waited until I replaced everything I was using first. Thanks Verizon for mentioning that and ruining my whole household setup.
I hope my story helps you be informed about your upgrade choice before you make it, and to know if you are not ready for it to avoid this hidden hassle! If you’ve already upgraded and experience similar issues with not being able to play Netflix or other streaming services from older devices such as a PS3, to troubleshoot ask Verizon to separate your router into the two parts and connect as many things to the 5g part as you can to avoid too many things on the lesser wifi. Then change the channel on your router liberally until you find a channel that is not being overloaded by your neighbors. If it still isn’t better, you may just have to purchase a wifi extender, or replace your devices like me. Its dependent upon how far your devices are from your router too, so if you can move them closer you can try that, at least moving the device closer is a free solution.
Update 8/6/16 – Verizon spent most of the day at my home fixing this issue. The line was broken in not one but two places, both through a tree in the front yard that had managed to tangle around the line and through swaying back and forth broke the line up, and also at the point where it dropped down from the roof to the box the line was split, possibly from squirrels climbing up it. The older devices still connect poorly as expected, but at least the service isn’t intermittently dropping out on me all the time. It’s a shame they wouldn’t listen to me for six straight months tell them the line needed to be replaced. If your service is going up and down, go to speedtest.net and see if the connection speed drops out once in a while, if it does, you may need to have your line replaced too, especially if it runs through a tree. Those lines that run through trees can be very dangerous too if they split open and spark a fire up in the treetops so be aware of the danger there and keep an eye on it if your line is having trouble.