Here, see for yourself from this screenshot from their pricing plans web page:
Why would someone choose the Single Play (broadband Internet only) option over the Double play (broadband Internet + Voice) if it's $5/month cheaper and you get a voice line?
Well, apparently after discussions with Verizon's PR representative, we figured out that I misinterpreted what this pricing meant. This web page is for adding FiOS Internet service to existing Verizon customers. They offer a $5 discount for FIOS Internet to existing Verizon voice subscribers. I thought you could get voice+Internet for just $42.99/month or roughly $21.50 per service. What was I thinking?
Actually, I have seen some cheap DSL plans that are under $20 and there certainly are some voice plans under $20, which would be $40/month and very close to the $42.99/month price I saw. Well, wishful thinking on my part that Verizon's super-fast fiber-based offering would offer voice + Internet for just $42.99/month.
But since I already did some research into this, let me provide some other interesting info on Verizon FiOS. First, FiOS Digital Voice has two calling plans: one that provides unlimited direct-dialed, domestic calling (including calls to U.S. territories, Canada and Puerto Rico) for a flat monthly rate. The second plan is a per-minute plan with domestic calls 5 cents per minute.
I then tried checking out their bundled packages and even found one promo on their website offering home phone + Internet + TV(triple play) for an amazingly low price of $79.99 (as seen in screenshot). But again, I couldn't see the exact pricing without a valid home address where they provide service. I contacted a Verizon representative Jim Smith Director, Media Relations, Verizon Telecom about their bundling as well as some other questions I had about FiOS.
First, he informed me the $79.99/month price is the unlimited calling plan, High Speed Internet, along with DIRECTV satellite service and not FiOS TV. Funny how their FiOS page is pitching a pseudo-competitor in DIRECTV. I'm sure Verizon gets some affiliate revenue from DIRECTV, but nowhere near the profits Verizon gets from their own FiOS TV service.
I was curious how much their triple play offering costs and here's a chart Jim gave me:
|New York||Pennsylvania (most but not all states similar pricing)|
|Freedom Essentials calling plan plus 20/5 FiOS Internet (Voice+Internet)||$64.99||$79.99|
|Freedom Essentials plus FiOS TV (Voice+TV)||$69.99||$79.99|
|Freedom Essentials plus FiOS Internet plus FiOS TV (Voice+Internet+TV)||$94.99||$109.99|
As you can see from the chart, the triple play package for New York is under the $100 barrier averaging to just $31.66 ($94.99/3) per service. Pennsylvania and most other states are a little bit more expensive at $109.99. The triple play package includes up to 348 channels and up to 55 HD channels, which is more than satellite and most cable providers.
Is it VoIP or not?
Technically, Verizon FiOS Digital Voice is not Voice over IP (VoIP). From the home analog phone, the signal goes to a Optical Network Terminal (ONT) which handles the voice, data, and TV transmissions. The ONT sends the signal to a gateway at Verizon where the data portions of the signal is sent to the Internet, the TV signal goes to their broadcast TV network, and the Voice portion of the signal is sent to the PSTN. However, no doubt Verizon will want to move to VoIP because it will allow for a "converged network" both to the edge and the CO and it will enable enhanced telephony services, including unified communications, video phones, and more.
Below is a short Q&A I had with Verizon's Jim Smith about how they install the voice service.
Q: Does an authorized Verizon installer have to come to the house and disconnect the outside wiring to ensure the phone company doesn't send conflicting voltage?
A: When Verizon installs the FiOS service, the Verizon Technician re-connects the inside wiring to the Optical Network Terminal (ONT). The ONT terminates the fiber optic line from Verizon's network and provides the Analog Voice interface for the customer's existing home phone wiring. As part of the FiOS installation, the FiOS technician will provide this service. The copper wire from the existing Telephone service is disconnected and properly terminated from the customer's phone wires ("inside wire").
Q: Does the existing FiOS set-top box include an analog (FXS) port that you simply connect to an available house phone wall jack to "power" up all the other wall jacks with voltage?
A: FiOS service is provided to the customer through a fiber optic connection that provides all of the customer's communications and entertainment services. An Optical Network Terminal (ONT) provides the interface point for the customer's existing inside phone wires. The ONT also provides the interface to a Verizon provided Broadband Home Router, that facilitates the customer's interconnection to the FiOS Internet services. The ONT and BHR together, provide distribution of the video content throughout the house to FiOS TV Set Top Boxes (STB) over the existing Coaxial lines in the home using a technology called MoCA.
Q: What is the REN (Ringer Equivalency Number) of this device? The higher the REN, the more analog telephones you can connect. The lower the REN, the more trouble you will have sending ring voltage to phones.
A: The ONT provides a 5 REN. (should support at least 5 phone devices)
Lastly, I thought I'd share some FiOS subscriber numbers. According to a recent Verizon report, as of September 30, 2008 Verizon's FiOS Internet subscribers is 2.2 million and FiOS TV is 1.6 million. In Q308 FiOS Internet added 225,000 users and FiOS TV added 233,000. Their penetration (sales/available premises) is up considerably. For comparison to last year (2007) FiOS Internet is 24.2 percent, up from 20.0 percent in Sept. 2007 and FiOS TV is 19.7 percent, up from 15.2 percent in Sept., 2007
Verizon expects to continue the FiOS build-out through 2010, when the company expects to have passed about 18 million homes. Costs through 2010 will be about $23 billion and will generate some $1 billion annually in operations savings. Verizon's goal is to attract at least 4 million FiOS TV customers by 2010, which would be a market penetration of at least 25 percent. Verizon expects to attract up to 7 million FiOS Internet customers by year-end 2010 - a penetration rate of 35 to 40 percent.
Great, so my last question is "when is FiOS coming to my neighborhood?"