Fios problem?

July 25, 2008 2:23:11 PM PDT
Some consumer advocates say switching services may be a problem.Fios is the newest option for television, internet, and phone service and once you get it, you may like it so much you never want to go back but what if you do want to switch to your old service? According to some consumer advocates some customers said that is proving to be a problem

Ian Gosweiler and his family moved into a house that was converted into apartments in West Chester, Chester County. Their unit was outfitted with Verizon Fios at the request of the previous tenant but the Gosweiler's didn't want to subscribe to Fios because Ian said it would have cost the family $30 more than DSL every month

"Yeah, we have a five-month-old child so money is very tight."

But Ian said when he called Verizon to subscribe to DSL;

"Spoke to a supervisor and said, no, you can't have DSL because Fios was installed here. You have a fiber optic cable and you cannot downgrade to DSL."

When Verizon makes Fios services available via its all-fiber network it installs a fiber-optic line from a utility pole to your house and disconnects the copper wire it had been using for phone and internet service.

Consumer groups allege sometimes the wire is even removed. But the copper wire enabled you not only to get Verizon service it also enabled you to get phone and internet service from smaller companies that lease that wire. If the wire's disconnected or removed - you can't subscribe to those companies. You have to use the Fios fiber network.

"It is a unique product out in the marketplace that they're offering but they're trying to give themselves insurance above and beyond that so that people won't be able to switch away once they start using fios," said James Browning of PennPirg.

Verizon said it doesn't remove the copper wire and said its policy is to accommodate a switch back to copper. Still to ensure you don't encounter any trouble downgrading your cable, internet, or phone service;

"Before a technician does any work at all they should ask up front exactly what's going to happen with the current wiring is it going to be cut. Is it going to be taken out." LINKS:

Public Utilities Commission

Notices to FCC to retire copper or make other wireline network changes

To comment on the FCC proceeding regarding wireline network changes