Verizon FIOS – or FIOS by Verizon – is a bundled internet access package, covering home internet, telephone, and TV services. Is it any good? Let’s find out…
Right off the bat, you’re probably wondering what FIOS stands for, right? Well, FIOS is an acronym for “fiber-optic service”. Fiber optic networks deliver information (meaning your internet connection) at close to the speed of light. This is why businesses have been using fiber for years – it’s much faster than standard copper cable systems.
Up until very recently, most homes could get by just fine with standard internet connections. But as more and more people do more and more stuff online, watching movies via Netflix and Hulu, for instance, more and more demands are placed on the network.
Add in things like 4K content, more and more businesses working solely online, global lockdowns that force millions of people to work at home, and you’re looking at a situation where demand (in this case for speed) will start outweighing supply. And this is where technologies like fiber and, to a lesser extent, 5G come into play.
This is why more and more consumers are switching to Verizon FIOS. They’re doing it for speed and better connectivity in their homes. Verizon says that FIOS is 25 times faster than traditional cable, so if you’re in a supported area (more on this later) and you want faster internet, switching to fiber is one of the easiest ways to do this.
What is Verizon FIOS & How Does It Work?
Verizon says FIOS is 25 times faster than traditional cable internet. But how is this so? What makes fiber so much quicker? It is all to do with how the data is delivered. With fiber systems like FIOS, light signals travel down very thin strands of pure glass that are thinner than a human hair. The light travels close to the speed of light and, once it hits your computer, for instance, it is converted into electrical impulses that your computer can use.
That’s the basic overview of how fiber optic networks work. The exact science and methodology that goes into making it work are a lot more complex – and way above my experience level. The big takeaway, however, is simple: fiber optic networks can deliver more data at massively faster speeds. And this, in turn, makes for speedier internet connections, more bandwidth, and faster downloads.
Verizon has a few packages when it comes to FIOS, so you can find which solution – meaning which speeds – is most suitable for your needs. Here’s a quick breakdown of Verizon’s FIOS packages:
- Verizon FIOS 200Mbps – This is the slowest and cheapest package. If you live alone or have another family member in the house, 200Mbps should be more than enough for all your streaming needs and internet activity.
- Verizon FIOS 400Mbps – This is the mid-range package. It is twice as fast as the basic package at 400Mbps. This type of package would be ideal for the average family home. You’ll get excellent speeds and download times on all forms of content with 400Mbps, including 4K and 8K content.
- Verizon FIOS Gigabit – Gigabit internet is the dream. The sharp end of the stick. The thing all geeks lust after. If you want internet speeds and download rates that are other-worldly, go with Gigabit. It will cover you for everything from intensive, 4K cloud gaming to streaming media in the highest possible quality. Gigabit internet is insanely fast, so if you want to future-proof your home, this is the one to go for.
Oh, and as a nice side bonus, Verizon includes a FREE Amazon Echo Show 5 and Ring Stick Up with all Verizon FIOS Gigabit orders.
How Much Does Verizon FIOS Cost?
As you can see, the prices are actually pretty good. For as little as $39 per month (plus taxes), you can get set up with 200Mbps fiber optic internet. For less than $60, you’ll get 400Mbps and, for the big boy, meaning Gigabit connection, you’ll pay $79.99 which, again, is pretty damn good for the fastest internet you’ll ever experience.
If you want TV as part of your package, you can add FIOS TV to your account and get access to a range of packages that include everything from sports to movies and TV shows. Here’s a breakdown of the FIOS TV plans (and what they include):
- FIOS TV Test Drive ($50 Per Month) – Explore 425+ channels. Watch for 60 days, then we will recommend the best plan for you.
- Your FIOS TV ($50 Per Month) – 125+ channels. Choose 5 of your favorite channels and we’ll recommend a package based on your preferences.
- More FIOS TV ($70 Per Month) – 300+ channels. Get our most popular channels plus regional sports.
- The Most FIOS TV ($90 Per Month) – 425+ channels. Kick back with the best sports and movie channels.
- YouTube TV – Stream live TV, 85+ channels including news & sports. No set-top box required. 6 individual accounts per home.
What Channels Does FIOS TV Have?
With FIOS TV, you get access to the following channels:
- Animal Planet
- Cartoon Network
- CBS Sports Network
- Comedy Central
- Discovery Channel
- DIY Network
- Food Network
- Fox News
- Hallmark Channel
- National Geographic Channel
- Nat Geo Wild
- NFL Network
- USA Network
And here’s a list of ALL the sports channels included in FIOS TV:
- ESPN, ESPN2
- ESPN U
- FS1, FS2
- Big Ten Network
- SEC Network
- CBS Sports Network
- NBC Sports Network (NBCSN)
- NFL Network
- NBA TV
- MLB Network
- NHL Network
- Tennis Channel
- Golf Channel
You don’t have to get FIOS TV with your FIOS account. If you’re happy just using things like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video and just want FIOS for faster at-home internet, that’s fine. FIOS TV is marketed as an extra bundle, so you need to opt-in for it.
FIOS TV is marketed as a cable-alternative. And its pricing is very competitive compared to other offers on the market. But the coolest thing about FIOS TV is that there are no contracts, so you’re not locked into anything – you can cancel your account at any time with no repercussions. No other cable company will let you do this; most will lock you in for 12-18 months on contract.
Verizon FIOS Installation – How It Works
Because Verizon FIOS is a fairly technical platform, it does require an engineer to come to your home to install all the required technology. When you order FIOS, you’ll be given an install date. And when that date arrives, an engineer will come to your home and get you all set up.
Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what the Verizon engineer will do, according to Verizon’s FAQ page:
- Install the Optical Network Terminal (ONT)
- Install the Power Supply Unit. The technician will need access to a three-pronged outlet close to where the ONT will be installed
- Install the Battery Backup Unit (if ordered)
- Connect your router to the network and your computer to the Router
- Help you connect your Wifi device
- Connect cables to your home’s coaxial splitter for Fios TV access
- Wire and connect the TV outlets in your home and Install the Set-Top Boxes(based on your order)
- Activate your service at activate.verizon.com
How long does it take to install Verizon FIOS in your home? Around four to six hours on average, but it can be quicker if you make sure your engineer has everything they need once they arrive. It’s also worth noting that someone over the age of 18 will have to be present for the installation. And your home will also need a grounded electrical outlet, and this outlet must not be controlled by a switch.
If you need additional wiring put in your home, a Verizon installer can do this or you can hire a contractor to do it. You also need to think about things like which TVs you want to be connected. If you only have one TV this is not a problem, FIOS and its accompanying TV setup box can be installed onto that TV. If you have other TVs you want to connect, you can use additional setup boxes or, if you prefer, digital adapters and/or cable cards.
Verizon FIOS Availability
Verizon FIOS is available in the following places and states in the USA:
- New Jersey
- New York
- New York City
- Albany, NY
- Buffalo, NY
- Long Island, NY
- Plattsburgh, NY
- Staten Island, NY
- Syracuse, NY
- Baltimore, MD
- Salisbury, MD
- Boston, MA
- Harrisburg, PA
- Philadelphia, PA
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Providence, RI
- Norfolk, VA
- Richmond, VA
- Washington, DC
At the time of writing, FIOS is only available on the East Coast, from Long Island down to Virginia. Currently, Verizon has around 15 million active installs of FIOS. Verizon has not confirmed any plans to bring FIOS to other areas of the US yet, but one can assume this probably change in the coming years.
What Does The Verizon FIOS Router Look Like?
The Verizon FIOS Router kind of looks like Google’s OG Home speaker. It runs on WiFi 6 and is available to buy without a FIOS account for $299.99 or $15 a month.
FIOS customers get it for free, however, on all packages. With the Verizon FIOS Router, you get increased WiFi coverage in your home (upwards of 63% more), advanced WiFi sharing features, and quicker and better WiFi connections.
It features Wi-Fi 6 technology, the next-generation wireless standard that provides much higher data rates and increased capacity – almost 3 times faster than Wi-Fi 5.
But the Fios Router offers much more than just a simple speed boost. Its Wi-Fi 6 technology delivers an improved network connection that sets a new standard for performance. So you can connect multiple devices at once with increased range, improved power efficiency and enhanced security – Verizon
Managing Your Verizon FIOS Account
Once you’re all set up with FIOS in your home, how do you manage your FIOS account? It’s pretty simple, actually. Everything is done via the FIOS app which you can download onto your Android or iPhone. With the FIOS app, you can manage and view your bills, check which devices are connected to your network, and view options for trending TV shows inside the app.
You can also use the FIOS app to check the speed of your internet, configure network settings like passwords, and use its built-in WiFi Analyzer function to spot and troubleshoot problems that might be affecting your home WiFi network. And if you need help with anything, you can use the FIOS app you contact Verizon and request an engineer to come out and have a look at your system.
The coolest feature, however, is the ability to chat directly to Verizon customer service within the application. This is great for getting real-time advice on any problems you might be having with your internet. The engineer or customer service rep will be able to check your account, spot problems, and provide advice on what your best course of action is for fixing an issue.
Is Verizon FIOS Worth It? Wrapping Up…
If you’re looking to future-proof your home internet or you’re after gigabit internet and you live on the East Coast, I think Verizon FIOS is a no brainer. For the money, it serves up some pretty amazing value for money. Getting gigabit internet speeds for less than $80 a month is really impressive.
If you don’t need gigabit internet, and most people really don’t, then either of the cheaper packages are great options too. I’d probably go with the 400Mbps option; it is cheap enough to not make too much difference to your monthly accounts and you’ll get internet speeds that blow normal web connections out of the water.
As for FIOS TV, that’s up to you. I don’t watch much TV, so I’d probably give this aspect a miss and just stick with Netflix and Hulu. If you do want FIOS TV, however, or you’re looking to move away from your current cable provider, FIOS TV, again, serves up some pretty impressive value for money. And there are no contracts either, which is always good.
The ONLY downside with all of the above is that FIOS is still a very niche product and is only available in very limited regions in the USA. If you’re on the East Coast and want to check whether you can get Verizon FIOS, you can use the tool to check whether the service is available where you live.