Verizon FIOS is WAY more Expensive than you Think – Here’s Why

by Darwin on October 6, 2009

I was snookered the other day by a Verizon FIOS flyer touting a $79 combo deal.  After cutting through the facade, I realized that if I wanted a similar set of services with Verizon compared to my existing Comcast offerings, I’d be paying a hefty premium.  Even in the face of “better service” from Verizon, I couldn’t justify making the switch.  The switchover costs are probably much more expensive than you think – here’s why:

It started with the initial flyer with FIOS splashed all over it.  I recalled being offered a $99 triple play from Verizon a few months ago.  At that time, I had opted not to switch since the costs didn’t justify it, they couldn’t port my number, and I was able to easily save 44% on my Comcast Bill with a simple chat session .  Well, when I saw $79, I figured, “Hey, they’re really looking to court new customers now, let me check this out!”.  Well, the fine print actually read that this was ONLY for “FIOS TVand phone” – internet was extra.  So, this deal was no better than prior offers – actually, worse.  However, since I saw this as an opportune blog post, I let the customer service rep elaborate on just what it would cost to get an equivalent package.

FIOS-comcast

Current Comcast Package:

  • Triple Play Bundle: Phone, Internet, cable
  • Phone and Internet are basic/standard
  • Cable – in addition to the typical several hundred channels, we have the HBO, Showtime and Starz packages.  These come free based on the deal I worked out with Comcast when I threatened to leave for FIOS previously
  • HD Package/HD-DVR
  • No additional boxes needed, unlimited TVs (we have 3: kitchen, family room, master BR)

Comcast Final Cost Before Taxes:  $110

Verizon Requirements to Duplicate My Current Comcast Package:

  • Phone/FIOS basic – cost $79.99
  • Additional for Internet – cost $40.00 (Full Triple Play Starter is $119.99)
  • HD DVR – cost 15.99
  • Box for Each and Every TV – cost $3.99 ea x 2 = $8 [note: many households have more than one TV]
  • Premium channel Package (equiv HBA, Show, Starz) – cost $25 [note: not everyone watches premium channels]
  • 1 time Signup Fee – cost $49.99 *excluded from analysis as a one-time cost
  • Free gift card of some sort * also excluded from analysis as a one-time cost

Verizon Final Monthly Cost Before Taxes (excluding one-time fees/gift cards): $169

*Note that this was an introductory year offering only – I’ve heard that after the first year, Verizon jacks your rate by at least $10/month.  It’s business and they’re viewed as the better game in town, why wouldn’t they?  But, consider this as a future cost as well.  Greater increases than your existing service provider who’s working harder to retain you.

*Verizon’s cost is net of taxes as well.  Since they wouldn’t provide estimated taxes over the phone (they don’t want you to know your additional tax liability until you’re already a customer and recieve your first bill.  It wouldn’t be rocket science to quote you what your neighbor’s bill says for equivalent offerings), I compared both on a pre-tax basis assuming the taxes are roughly equivalent between the two.

So, on an annual basis, you’re going to pay $59*12= $708 more for Verizon service over Comcast.  Of course, I’m using a reduced Comcast cost basis, but as I outlined previously, anyone being offered both services in the same area should be able to utilize the same tactics I did to win an immediate 15-20% reduction in your bill since Comcast fears losing more customers to Verizon.  I like to look at investments and expenses over multiyear periods, usually 5 or 10.

Conservatively, over a 5 year basis, you’re paying over $3500 more to use Verizon than Comcast.

What do you get?

  • Verizon claims their download speeds are faster.  This isn’t really a big deal to me; we’re nowhere near watching all content through the internet yet (TVs aren’t going away any time soon) and I’m not a master internet pirate uploader.  Frankly, I don’t think people surfing around, shopping here and there or doing a blog post would notice a performance difference between the two.
  • HD Quality – I’ve seen claims that FIOS offers a better HD picture than Comcast HD as well.  Again, I haven’t noticed the difference between houses that have different services on similar HD TVs and I don’t waste away my weekends watching every football game played around the country – it’s just not that important to me.  The HD quality through Comcast seems sufficient to me.
  • Comcast had greater On-Demand offerings at last check.  Perhaps Verizon has improved recently, but that was my last data point when I last considered.

What are your thoughts?  Did I miss anything in my analysis?  Is it worth the extra money?

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Credit Card Chaser October 6, 2009 at 11:08 pm

I personally have BrightHouse rather than FIOS but I too have received a ton of mail and other marketing pitches all touting how FIOS is supposed to be better. I am still not convinced though that the picture or speed is any better but I could be wrong.
.-= Credit Card Chaser´s last blog ..Wells Fargo Credit Cards to be Marketed to Wachovia Customers =-.

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2 Evan October 7, 2009 at 9:54 am

I hate Cablevision which is why I would love to switch. But ignoring the fact that I am stuck since no one thought of laying down some wires when they built my 2007 condo neighborhood – I think the analysis ignores the “The Gift.”

When My parents signed up (again because of a sole hatred of Cablevision) they received a 19 Inch LCD, at the time it probably cost a couple hundred bucks, so that would eat it into that $500 number you provided.
.-= Evan´s last blog ..Buying Life Insurance on a Child’s Life =-.

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3 Jim October 7, 2009 at 3:14 pm

Comcast will normally raise rates after the 1 year period and doesn’t automatically throw in free premium channels. You got discounts by negotiating with Comcast. If you negotiate deals with Comcast then I assume you could also possibly negotiate deals with Verizon. Seems to me that the 2 will try and keep you as a cusotmer and one-up the other so if you’ve got Comaast they’ll give you deals to keep you but if you’ve got Verizon and you threaten to leave for Comcast you might also get the same kind of deals. In your situation it makes sense to stay with Comcast given the deals they’ve given you. But if you were on Verizon and had negotiated a good deal by threatening to leave for Comcast then the sitatuion would just be reversed.
.-= Jim´s last blog ..What if I made $42k? =-.

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4 Darwin October 7, 2009 at 8:06 pm

Jim,
Thanks for your comment. To address a few thoughts:
Since FIOS is a new offering, in the vast majority of the cases, you’re looking at existing Comcast customers defecting to FIOS, not the other way around. Since there is a net defection from Comcast TO FIOS, the leverage is with the Comcast customers and existing FIOS customers have little or no leverage.

If a new FIOS customer is threatening to leave FIOS to go to Comcast, the rep will basically laugh in their face. Here’s why:
1) Since FIOS is so new, by default, the customer is still in the early cancellation period and would be facing a severe cancellation charge
2) FIOS is viewed as having a superior offering and as such, nobody’s really leaving. They’ll know you’re bluffing and politely say, “good luck. so, do you really want to cancel?”

People ARE actually leaving Comcast in droves, hence the desperate attempts to keep existing customers since acquisition costs are high and marginal costs to service a customer are negligible.

Perhaps in a few years when the novelty has worn off and if Comcast can further differentiate itself with other value offerings, there could be net defections from FIOS to Comcast, but for the time being, highly unlikely IMHO.

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5 Jim October 8, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Darwin, I think you’re right on all counts. I also agree with your original post that the Comcast deal is better for you right now. I was thinking more from my perspective where I live. Here, FIOS has been around for a couple years and Verizon and Comcast have been actively competing and trying to one-up the other. I get mail from both companies about weekly advertising some deal or bundle discount.
.-= Jim´s last blog ..Can you open a Roth IRA? =-.

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6 Lew January 28, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Good information. I’m about to switch from Verizon FIOS to Comcast, and I am doing some research. I’ve had Verizon FIOS for several years, and was pleased. But on January 19th, I stopped being able to use FTP to access the websites I maintain. The servers disconnect immediately after I access them. My laptop works fine if I use my friend’s Comcast service, but will not work with anyone’s Verizon service. Verizon FIOS tech support refuses to help. They say that if I can get on the Internet, that’s all they care about. Their tech support is worse than bad. For me it is non-existent.

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7 Pro April 18, 2010 at 2:47 am

I just got FiOS and i love it. I am saving $76. I have better internet speed and over 200 more channels. Fios have triple play for $89/mo for 2 yrs. u have extra cable box for comcast and u have 3 extra for fios. thats why ur price is higher. the DVR is same for every carrier. Dont fool your self. You Will save money with FiOS and get more out of it. Remember FiOS is dedicated line not shared like cable. its prob that u cant cat fios cuz of the credit check hahahahaha.

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8 terry April 19, 2010 at 4:04 am

well look this cable 20 Mbps Internet service $52/month
FIOS 25 Mbps Internet service $65/month
what‘s the different? it‘s same money per 1mbps/$2.6

feel like scam

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maureen Reply:

@terry, I will start out saying that i work for comcast (although i am not biased) I see and hear every day the good and bad about both companys. It dosent matter what company your going with, they will offer you an absurd promotion to get you in and eventually that promise will expire. Yes verizon is coming out with some pretty good ad capaigns but thats really all they are. I got a flyer on my door just last week saying 79.99 amonth for tripple play but in the fine print it said extra fees are applied for internet, price is good for a year but with a 2year contract in wich the second year would be more than 250.00 a month ( i called just to compare). The good thing with comcast is that our tripple play prices are basically the same as verizon but we do not require contracts unless you sign up for one of the promo’s including a lap top, gift card ect. Also regaurdless of what anyone says verizon and comcast uses the same lines. Comcast uses “FIOS” as well but its only run through the poles in your neighborhood or underground. The lines going from the main line to your home is regular coax cables for both companys because your connections in your home is not compatiable with fios they would have to rerun every cable line in every customers home. My last point is that yes, verizon has more channels and hd channels but for those of you who actually have verizon you know that most of those “extra channels” are filler channels with stupid things like “how to boil water”. When you take out all of those uselss “how to’s” comcast has way more channels in standard definition as well as high def. Personally it doesnt matter to me, just a little insight from someone who hears all day “im going to verizon” vs “i just transfered from verizon”.

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Jared Reply:

@maureen, You’re absolutely biased. I’m not going to disagree with you that both companies are pretty similar with their bait promotions, FiOS is absolutely the better company for the customer, currently at least. I was a comcast customer for 10 years before fios was available in my area. Not only is it easy to get a better overall rate from Fios, but they actually have much less compression on their TV channels which makes a huge difference for HD customers especially. They also offer faster internet WITHOUT bandwidth caps and WITHOUT traffic deprioritization for usage periods over 15 mins long (streaming video, downloading, etc) – Comcast does all the above, and used to do much worse (block certain types of legitimate internet traffic entirely, like Bit Torrent).

I’m paying about $50 less a month with FiOS (I pay $99, and don’t use the home phone service), and I’m comparing it to the best price I could ever finagle from Comcast. I also get faster internet, more channels, and HBO on top of the better price.

Comcast is also a customer service nightmare, whereas Verizon has much better technical support (although Verizon, as a whole company, has terrible billing/financial service.. but so does comcast).

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9 John Smith June 19, 2010 at 6:42 pm

If you threatened to cancel FioS you would also get new deals/ special offers all of a sudden such as saving a good 10-30 dollars or getting HBO free etc. Depends on your specific house and how good you are at negotiating… (The same case with comcast) The real question is how fast is your internet…

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10 michelle June 21, 2010 at 4:27 am

I have fios almost one year. Six months after we had the service I noticed my bill going up $5 every month . They also was charging me for Starz play and games on demand which is $11+ a month. I asked why and I wanted to lower my bill. He looked over my account and switch my service claiming to save me money. I just got the bill in last week and it is $20 more than my last bill. I’m going to be going back to comcast. They have better and free on demand. The only thing good for fios is the internet speed. I can deal with comcast. Fios is just way too expensive. Save money and go to comcast or PAY OUT YOUR A**!!!

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11 Betsy September 1, 2010 at 1:58 pm

How do you get your Comcast triple play for $110. i have the same package with the same movie channels and mine is $225. Please let me in on your secret! Or could it be location in the US? i am in a metropolitan area. Could that be the difference?

Thanks.

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12 Mark September 7, 2010 at 9:52 am

I have Verizon Fios,m they have the worst support and tech help you must call Verizon several time ans wait on line for over 30 minutes and when there is a problem at your home al they can say it will cost you 85.00 to come to your home and fix ..I have a box down satirs with all there wires and the box just beebs and beebs and they cannot fix it I got a better package from COMCAST and wil be chaing over today 9/7/ 2010 and if I do n ot like it they will give me 30.00 back and they wil also pay for me to cancel VERIZON FIOS and I will not have to pay that fee Now that is a great deal VERIzon does not care about you
Thanks

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13 Magnus November 18, 2010 at 2:10 am

FiOS Internet IS the fastest internet available today (Fiber-Optics LITERALLY travel at the speed of light, translating to billionths of a second and WITHOUT any latency as with Cable and/or phone lines)… however, the cost isn’t justified. I love FiOS internet… but, we are being forced to have to drop Verizon. Not just the internet either, we’re dropping Phone, Cellular, TV and their Internet on the 27th of this month.

Why? Because we are being charged $200 per month and we don’t even have their HD TV/DVR service!!!

Again, FiOS internet IS the best available… but after your “contract” is up, they will ROB you blind! Sometimes even BEFORE your contract ends!

We are switching to Mediacom for Internet, TV, and home phones (we’re going with AT&T for Mobiles). I would have proffered to go with Dish Network, because they’ve significantly improved their TV service since we last had them (2005 – 2006) and with the availability to watch TV on all WiFi devices (how I would LOVE to have that) however, their internet SUCKS!!!

At least with Mediacom, we are going to be getting 15mbps – only 5mbps less than what we currently have with FiOS. It’s going to slow down my BitTorrent activities by a considerable amount (I can currently download 5GB at or less than ONE HOUR), but we’re not going to be ROBBED by Verizon anymore.

Perhaps if Verizon gets their act together and STOPS ROBBING their customers we will go back, but not until then!

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14 Jonathan November 24, 2010 at 10:29 am

Comcast seems cheaper in the beginning, but their rates increase after 1 to 2 years. That’s why my parents cancelled Comcast and switched to Verizon.

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15 Bryon February 15, 2011 at 10:09 pm

I too had Comcast at one time and paid a lot for it. I had no choice because I could not use my free employee account from DISH Network since my apartment balcony faced north. I paid it for a while but when my discount ended my bill went up way more than I remembered the discount being. It turns out I had a “price guarantee” for a year, but the increase was added onto the price once the lock was lifted. The problem was that the increase was so high. I had to either return my DVR (which my roommate wanted) or cancel the service. Well I ended up moving and was able to get DISH. Problem solved until I had to move again, and couldn’t get DISH. Called Comcast and they wanted to charge me $50 for install. I said DISH was free and I will call them (trying to play the barter game) but all they could do was save me $15. It turns out the install fee was really for each room and I wanted 2 rooms and they didn’t mention it would be $100 until the end of the call. I canceled the order and went without pay TV for almost 2 years. Skip forward to now and I’m having DISH installed on Thursday. I would rather NEVER get Comcast in comparison to paying in my opinion highway robbery prices

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16 WD April 11, 2011 at 7:16 pm

We were one of the earliest buildouts for Fios, and signed immediately after spotting the fiber tech on our street. Product is good, field service is professional, but Verizon marketing/customer service is truly the worst I have ever witnessed.

They announced an increase in their internet rate last month – so I sent two letters. One to the “announcer” one to their CEO (certified mail). Short message: “Freeze the rate – or turn ours off”. No response. Next bill contained the offending charge.

I’ll be visiting comcast/time warner (whoever they are now) tomorrow. Time to give Fios the boot. None of those lizards can read.

My recommendation to anyone considering Fios? Don’t bother. Not worth the squeeze.

We had em for about 6 years ….

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17 Danny May 17, 2011 at 11:45 am

After 4 years with fios internet only, I get a notice to increase the premium with the same service. Their customer service is the worst, can’t contact with an English speaking properly person. I am leaving Verizon fios next month after I have another ISP install my new service.

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18 tiger May 26, 2011 at 6:53 pm

You would hate yourself to death if you use verizon for internet service. They promised me $44.99 per month when I placed my order but they charged me $59.99. When I called in, their customer service said I was charged that price because I called in to place the order. Oh, my god, they just lied to my face. I showed them my order comfirmation, they still said sorry but they cann’t do anything to change it since my service has been set up as $59.99. Basically, their logic is it ‘s my fault to use Verizon. Even they made a mistake, I still have to pay for it.

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19 dan June 14, 2011 at 12:25 am

Fios cost 240 a month and rising!
internet, tv, home phone (never use) and cell and I rarely use the cell phone!!!

electrons are getting expensive?

its hard to justify this stuff when good folks are loosing their homes
thinking about dumping this stuff

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20 Samm October 19, 2011 at 9:18 pm

We have had Verizon DSL (not Fios) for about 9 years. Speeds are (according to repeated pc assessments) up to 100Mbps. I have almost no lag on the higher powered newer computers, even though our phone service operates through the internet. The telephone only becomes a problem if we are downloading large files or doing defragmenting through a program which needs an internet connection (O & O Defrag), and let all of the above g unmonitored without shutting the programs down when they are finished. Price works out to approximately $46.00, including taxes and fees. There may be a discount for the auto-pay, but I can’t speak to this.

Another member of our family subscribed to Verizon Fios triple play. We agreed to hear the sales pitch, as said family would get a $ kickback if we bought. A “non-English as a primary language” person arrived at our strictly English speaking house. We have no shame or guilt in saying that we have no familial or geographic experience with any other language than American English. Yet the salesperson who came to our house was a native speaker of Spanish with marginal communication skills in English. Loads of fun from the get-go! If it weren’t for the family reference getting him in through the door… However, the Verizon Fios paperwork was in English. Much time was spent in my attempting to get the same programming I currently receive (many channels plus all the HBO & Showtime channels including on demand for $138.00 for 4 televisions), for the same or lower price. The man may not have had a debate-worthy grasp of English, but perhaps he shouldn’t be selling to people who only speak English, using English paperwork. I finally communicated that we were unwilling to switch our phone service (Vonage). Then the funstuff was trying to point to the paperwork and saying that no, HBO wasn’t included in the package he indicated would be less than what we were currently paying. He kept insisting, and I kept pointing to HBO as a premium package (“pre-me-um” *point to printed package* – “no, *points to package which includes 1 HBO family channel*. Okay, so what about my pointing out ALL the HBO channels we have, pointing to the HBO family channel included in his package, & saying “no bambinos” made him think this was a worthy substitute?). I actually never got to ask about Showtime because we never resolved anything about HBO. I actually never got to see the actual price of the Verizon channel pkg plus their version of my HBO full access until I said I was going to sign. THEN, on the actual contract, the price was way above his stated price, way above what I was currently paying with my current cable channel, and with a substantial loss of choices. I saw this, refused to sign, and said I was going to keep the contract, look it over, and decide later. He tried to grab the contract -I was quicker : ) – and said he had to account for each contract and would be fired if he was missing any. I made copies of all pages and returned the original to him.

Of course, I never signed to Verizon Fios. I do have Verizon DSL for internet access, but never mentioned this to the salesman. Nor did he ask. Any sanctioned business rep where you feel like you should have to count your fingers after shaking hands is a red flag. Attempting to deal with someone who really doesn’t have a grasp of your language, in the country of your birth where your language is the accepted norm of business (and your surname doesn’t denote an affinity for the language of the salesperson), indicates the company wants numbers/new subscribers. A company not being concerned that the customer understands what he/she is told the package actually is means that there must be a contract where it costs the customer money to end service. Any company which is upfront, doesn’t hide it’s contract, commitments, offerings behind an inarticulate salesperson (how many people are there complaining about misunderstanding what the salesperson said was offered? Of course people aren’t going to complain about language differences, or failure to be able to read a contract for same at their leisure. People accept what they are presented with as if this is the norm for everyone who uses the service. Not everyone who line-items the contract, negotiates a better deal, or makes enough money/spends unwisely and accepts the face value deal writes in to websites), should never get an immediate contract. Sure, most contracts can be cancelled withing 24 hours. But who wants to sign for anything you are so unsure of that you need to be doing mad post-signing research for?

Bottom line: there needs to be more competition. There needs to be more intelligent consumers. Okay, of the two, smart money is for the more competition option as long as it offers a programming block for “Jersey Shore” mentality subscribers, for those who would rather tan than think.

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21 terry October 19, 2011 at 9:32 pm

if U R rich Go FIOS
if U R Poor Bye-Bye FIOS

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22 John November 7, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Plain and simple…..Verizon Fios sucks…I don’t work for Comcast, nor any other competitive company. We were Comcast customers for years, until we decided to see if the grass was greener on the other side. The Verizon promotions was enticing, so we decided to make the switch. I see no difference in picture quality, and the verizon tech ran new cables, ect….in our house, and outside. The internet speed is no different than comcast either. Never had any problems with Comcast, but with Verizon, for some reason the sound cuts out for a split second every 10 minutes or so. It gets really annoying when you are watching something interesting, and it happens. ALSO….Verizon doesn’t have nearly as many basic cable freebies as Comcast. Most of the movies, comedy central segments, ect. that are freebies on Verizon, ARE TWO MINUTE PREVIEWS!!!!! On Comcast, it is the whole program….Verizon sucks, and our contract is almost up. I know they will be kissing our asses to keep us around, but we will be talking to Comcast again….

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23 Jayson Scheuer November 26, 2012 at 12:18 am

I have been a Verizon FIOS subscriber for about 2 months now, since I moved into my first apartment (I am 22 years old); I lived with Time Warner Cable for the previous 22 years. FIOS is 1,000,000 times better than TWC.

To start I have the FIOS double play; 50/25 Internet, Prime HD Television service, a Whole House DVR and a HD Set Top Box. Altogether my bill is 117.00 per month for those 4 services alone. That the total I pay monthly, no more…no less, provided I don’t use any premium services (buying movies…adding channels, etc.)

When choosing my first provider, I also looked at TWC…just to find they were more expensive for the same exact services (only by a couple dollars, I’d almost be willing to call it an even price).

FIOS’s internet BLOWS AWAY TWC’s internet. For a cheaper price…I get faster internet…as simple as that. Not to mention my last speed test tested at 59 Mbps download/29 Mbps upload…faster than anticipated. When at my parents…their 15/5 would consistently test slower, at around 10 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload. That was what I would get for the same price I pay now.

TV services are similar…I get all the same channels I usually watched on TWC on FIOS as well. However, I will say that the TWC would have offered a few extra channels then FIOS for the same price, but none of those channels interested me (ex. The Speed Channel). FIOS’s HD is much better as well. I don’t know why, but it looks so much better on the same TV vs. TWC.

Customer service has been great with FIOS. I had to call once because of an issue I was having with my DVR. They promptly sent me out a new one AND credited me $20 for the issues. TWC never went out of their way to offer me a credit.

All in all, I LOVE my FIOS. I am thrilled with the fast internet and the HD on their TV is amazing. I hope that I am not the only one that loves it…I would hate to see them stop offering their services.

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24 dennis December 5, 2012 at 8:19 pm

FIOS is terribly expensive. I hate fios and have told them so. As previously stated, seems they have the leverage and simply do not care. My billing is $123.00/mo. I have two services tv and internet.. TWO services!!!! 1 hddvr, 1 std, extreme package (middle) Suppose to be $89.00!

$123.00. I’m looking for a way out..

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