Saturday, January 19, 2008
For months we have had FiOS envy. All summer we watched the slow progress as teams of ditchdiggers laid cable all over our neighborhood. Right in our front yard we got a six square foot coverplate, reducing the mowable area by about 20%. Then we waited to get the e-mail that we signed up for telling us that FIOS was available in our neighborhood. Signed up several times. That never came. And then the FIOS countdown began.
November 17. We notice a brown line of disturbed dirt and fresh straw in our next door neighbor’s yard going from said giant box to his garage. He had gotten FIOS. I went out to rent the van for the epic trip to see Beowulf. I got home and my wife was on the phone ordering the service. She was twenty minutes into the insanely tedious script of the customer service representative. She handed me the phone and it went another fifteen minutes. Then the CSR said he had to transfer me to someone else to confirm that I really wanted to change long distance services. Since we were in danger of being late to the movie, I ask if I can do this later and I’m told I would have to start the order all over again. Oh, and since our local service was through AT&T instead of Verizon, we couldn’t keep our old phone number. Total length of phone call: 50 minutes.
November 19. Verizon starts a new deal where they throw in a free flat panel TV if you order FIOS service. Since I had ordered two days earlier I’m not eligible. They also jacked up the price ten bucks a month for a two year contract. Do the math on how free that TV is.
November 26. Mysterious flags and painted stripes on the lawn begin appearing. By the 30th there is a fresh trench with straw up to our garage door with a mysterious wire sticking out.
December 4. The original date for the install is the day of my Grandmother’s funeral. I call and reschedule for the 14th. I get an e-mail confirming this. My wife calls and reschedules for the 13th. On the 12th we get a call saying someone over the age of 18 has to be home all day the following day.
December 13. Since I had a meeting on that day, my wife calls in sick and keeps me updated on the progress by phone. We had ordered an additional cable jack for our upstairs guest bedroom. The cable guy wants to run it up the front of the house. I wanted him to snake it through the attic. Instead he runs it over the door frame of the closet, into the hallway, over the doorframe of the hall bath, into my son’s room (with a loop for a future splice), over the door frame of his door and into the guest room. I vow to use the 100 feet of spare co-ax cable sitting in my garage to snake it through the attic myself someday. My wife rolls her eyes. I now have to prove her wrong. Someday.
December 14. I call Verizon in one last attempt to get my free TV and the CSR also tells me that the sales rep lied when he said the $12 movie package included HBO, but I could get the full HBO package for another $16 a month. Instead I ask about the HomeDVR service. For an extra $10 a month I can have all my boxes networked to the DVR. Since I had them install two DVRs, one for the bedroom and one in the family room, and they cost ten bucks a month each, it’s a better situation. But I needed to trade one DVR for a standard set-top box. The CSR wanted to make an appointment for a service tech. I say I’ll go pick up the box like I used to do with Comcast. No can do. Instead they say they will ship me the boxes and I can send back the un-needed DVR. This should take 3-5 days. Total length of phone call: 30 minutes.
December 23. I fix the power from tripping out every time it rains.
January 2. I call about my set-top box order. No record of it exists. I get the phone tag runaround round trip from orders to tech support to billings and back to orders. They place a new order. It should take 3-5 days. Total length of phone call: 45 minutes.
January 17. Two big boxes arrive. One has a set-top box and one has yet another DVR. I power up the new set-top box and call tech support to activate it. Once the lights are flashing, it takes 10 minutes to activate. The CSR promises to call back and she does. A few more buttons to be pushed on her end and I’m up and running. Total length of both phone calls: 20 minutes.
In the run-up to the install, I’m telling my wife all the horror stories about Verizon installs gone bad that I have read on sites like Consumerist. She says all her friends that have it had no problems and love it. My verdict: Meh.
The phone service is indistinguishable. Our new number is actually easier to remember, so no big deal there. The channel line-up is enormous, including the deal closer, The Travel Channel, that you can’t get on Comcast with any package. I already have six episodes of No Reservations recorded for when I want to watch them.
The broadband service? Plenty speedy and I don’t notice any difference even though I used to have the Comcast 16Mbps upgrade. My son’s wifi connection? That is a tale for another day.
BlatantCommentWhoring™: Top my tale with your own horror story. Since mine went fairly smoothly, that shouldn’t be hard to do.