I’ve been a Verizon FiOS customer for over a year now and I have to say I am still amazed at how good it is and how good a job Verizon does at supporting it. I know, it sounds odd to say a phone company is good at anything, and over the years I have had nightmares with Verizon for DSL. But when it comes to their FiOS offering, it really does seem too good to be true.
For those who don’t know, FiOS is Verizon’s fiber-optic technology where they run a dedicated fiber line from the street into your house. In my town in Westchester it currently supports only data and voice but in other cities around the country, it also supports Verizon TV. A year ago, I signed up at $45 a month for 15MB down and 3MB up. About 6 months after it was installed, Verizon upgraded me to 20MB down and 5MB up – at no charge. Since when do phone companies give away anything for free?!? If you ever need to call tech support, you get a special number that puts you directly in touch with the special FiOS department. I’ve called support 3-4 times over the year with various random questions, (not service outages) and every time I got someone who truly knows what they are doing and they even knew how to support a Mac user!
At the end of Q4 of 2006, Verizon had 687,000 FiOS customers out of the 4.8 million homes that can get FiOS for a penetration rate of 14 percent. While that is not a lot of households when it comes to market penetration, imagine what FiOS can do for content owners when adoption truly takes off and more people become aware of the service. Content companies will then have the ability to mesh TV and Internet video distribution on a real scale. Verizon could very easily and very quickly become a content syndicator capable of reaching consumers that it knows has the ability to consume high-quality video. Today, we all talk about "broadband" video as being this great high-quality file yet it is typically encoded at 300Kbps or 500Kbps, which is nothing if you have a 20MB connection. I can’t even find any content encoded above 750Kbps and feel like I’m only getting 10% of what my connection is capable of.
For any product or service to be truly adopted by the masses it needs to be easy to understand, cheap, easy to buy and have good support. So far, Verizon truly has all of this with its FiOS service. 20MB fiber connection for $45 a month? Many people pay more than that for DSL or cable for speeds ranging from 3-6MB. I can’t wait till FiOS does some content deals and I’m able to see videos encoded at a couple of Megs a second.
I think FiOS is a service to really watch over the next few years. It is the one Internet offering above anything else that truly has the ability to change the market for consumers and content owners. Do you have Verizon FiOS? Are you as happy with it as I am?