For most Americans, choosing an Internet provider means deciding between cable and DSL. For the lucky few in fiber serviceable areas, providers like Verizon Fios offer a long-awaited third option.

‘Fiber’ is more than just a buzzword — it’s the first major upgrade to home internet plans since broadband replaced dial-up in the late 90s. The speed upgrade is just as dramatic, offering gigabit service of up to 1000 Mbps, more than 10x faster than traditional cable and DSL.[1]

Verizon Fios is currently available to over 34 million people across nine states. This makes Verizon the largest US residential fiber provider by coverage area, as of 2019.

Companies like AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier, and Optimum have also expanded their fiber coverage in recent years. But Verizon Fios consistently tops the charts for customer satisfaction and reliability. It also comes with no annual contract, so you can cancel anytime with no early termination fees.

Note: Fios is only available in select areas. Use our address search tool for ‘Fios in my area‘ so that you know Verizon Fios is available at your address.

Pros

  • Gigabit speeds up to 940 Mbps
  • No annual contract
  • High customer satisfaction

Cons

  • Limited availability
  • Equipment and installation fees

Verizon Fios Plans in 2019

DealsPrice MonthlyInternet SpeedPhone
Fios 100/100 $3999 100 Mbps Fiber(844) 433-6085
Best Internet-Only Cord Cutter Deal $7999 940 Mbps Fiber(844) 433-6085
Best Fios Gigabit Triple Play Offer $7999 940 Mbps Fiber(844) 433-6085
300/300 Mbps Internet $5999 300 Mbps Fiber(844) 433-6085

If you're looking to compare plans, make sure to check out our detailed guide on the latest Verizon Fios deals and promotions.

What Makes Verizon Fios Special?

Verizon Fios is a 100% fiber-optic network. Fiber cables are the gold standard for transporting digital data, far superior to “analog” options like coaxial cable (think TV) and DSL (think landline phones).

Most internet providers use fiber to transmit data over long distances, but use cheaper options like cable to physically connect their mainstream fiber networks with individual homes. This slows the transmission of data and decreases your internet performance.

By replacing these cable lines with fiber and installing “Fiber-to-the-Home” (FTTH) — that is, not just halfway there — companies like Verizon are bridging the gap and bringing faster internet service to residential subscribers.

Verizon Fios is consistently rated one of the top fiber internet providers in the country, and competing cable providers are struggling to earn customers in areas where they overlap.

How is Verizon Fios Faster?

A highway as a metaphor for bandwidth.
“Bandwidth” is often described as the number of lanes on the highway, while “speed” is the speed of vehicles on the highway. Fios fiber has many more “lanes” than traditional cable or DSL service.

If the internet is an “information superhighway,” think of bandwidth as lanes on that highway. The more lanes you have, the more efficient it is for traffic to spread out and move as quickly as possible.

In this analogy, Fios is an Interstate network. Cable is a local highway route, and DSL is a winding country road.

…What about dial-up? Probably a hiking trail.

In addition to having more space for individual “data lanes” in fiber networks, the speed limit is also much higher, since information is transmitted as light rather than radio frequency transmission. The speed of light is famously unmatched, resulting in much less latency for 100% fiber networks like Fios.

The other major Fios advantage is that the lines carrying internet data aren’t sharing bandwidth with traditional phone or TV, which can lead to signal loss and slower-than-advertised speeds on cable and DSL networks.

Verizon Fios Availability

Verizon Fios Coverage & Availability Map

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COVERAGE CENSUS TRACTS

The biggest drawback to Verizon Fios is its limited availability. As of 2019, Fios only serves a number of densely populated areas across New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, and Washington D.C.

The high cost of fiber installation makes it difficult to serve rural customers. As technology advances and costs decrease, we should start to see fiber service expand nationwide.

If Verizon Fios doesn’t serve your area, try checking your coverage with other fiber providers like AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier, Google Fiber, and Optimum.

The company also sold some of their network to Frontier Communications in 2016,[2] although Frontier seems committed to continuing to expand FTTH (Fiber to the Home) network development in those areas.

Verizon Fios Speed Data

Verizon Fios Download Speeds Over Time


CityVerizon Fios Average SpeedVerizon Fios Top 10% Speeds
Arlington, Virginia138 Mbps374 Mbps
Bronx, New York105 Mbps224 Mbps
Brooklyn, New York87 Mbps193 Mbps
Buffalo, New York74 Mbps194 Mbps
Flushing, New York78 Mbps177 Mbps
Jamaica, New York83 Mbps198 Mbps
Jersey City, New Jersey73 Mbps169 Mbps
New York, New York133 Mbps304 Mbps
Newark, New Jersey71 Mbps151 Mbps
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania74 Mbps115 Mbps
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania69 Mbps154 Mbps
Providence, Rhode Island66 Mbps159 Mbps
Richmond, Virginia85 Mbps205 Mbps
Silver Spring, Maryland78 Mbps111 Mbps
Staten Island, New York76 Mbps191 Mbps
Trenton, New Jersey86 Mbps203 Mbps
Virginia Beach, Virginia58 Mbps120 Mbps
Washington, District of Columbia89 Mbps211 Mbps
Woodbridge, Virginia90 Mbps209 Mbps
Yonkers, New York90 Mbps190 Mbps

Fios Factors to Consider

Installation

Fios installation usually takes much longer than a standard cable or DSL install. Budget 4–6 hours for the technician to be in your home. An adult must be present throughout the entire installation process.

The reason it takes longer is because fiber internet has advanced hardware requirements. Rather than simply configuring a new modem/router on your existing cable or phone jack, the Fios technician will have to install a completely new system, including an ONT (Optical Network Terminal), new in-house cabling, and configure all your set-top boxes for TV service.

The process usually looks like this:

Verizon Fios Installation Steps

  1. Install ONT (Optical Network Terminal) box
  2. Connect cables to coaxial splitter to segregate TV/Internet traffic
  3. Re-wire home if existing coaxial cable is insufficient for your needs
  4. Install and configure set-top boxes and Internet router


Don’t worry, you won’t have to do any of this yourself.

Bundles

Verizon is trying very hard to win over cable and DSL customers, and they’re doing it through aggressive pricing on Fios bundles.

You can see the latest Verizon Fios Deals and promotions on their bundles.

It’s important to note that unlike their internet-only plans, which are typically contract-free, most Verizon Fios bundles require signing a two-year contract.

Still, some of their bundle deals are great opportunities for customers who plan on using TV and/or phone service regularly. Just be sure to check the promotional price against the final monthly price when signing a two-year contract.

If you get stuck in a contract with Fios and you aren’t happy with the amount you’re paying for internet, TV and phone service, you can always try and negotiate your Fios bill.

Be warned, we’ve found Verizon Fios to be one of the more difficult providers to negotiate with. But there are a few tactics that just might work to save you some money.

Can I Use My Own Router with Verizon Fios

In short, yes — you can use your own router with Verizon Fios.

When you sign up, Fios will probably make it seem like using your own router isn’t an option. In fact, they only offer one rental option: the Fios Quantum Gateway (Which replaced the older Actiontec Gateway).

To be honest, using Verizon-branded equipment is a good idea for most customers, especially on the faster “gigabit” plans.

However, using your own router is absolutely an option if you’re willing to put in the extra elbow grease to set it up. This will save you the monthly rental fee, and open up advanced home networking possibilities for Internet power users.

If you aren’t sure which routers are compatible and which one you should use with your Fios internet service, read our recently updated guide on the best routers for Verizon Fios in 2019.

Be sure to know that Verizon Fios uses a slightly different hardware setup than cable and DSL:

Traditional cable/DSL setup: The modem/router gateway plugs into your existing cable/phone jack.

Verizon Fios setup: The modem/router gateway plugs into an ONT (Optical Network Terminal) box outside your home or apartment via a coaxial cable.

You have three options for hooking up your own router to the Fios ONT system:

Option 1: Use Verizon router as a bridge to your own router

This doesn’t save you the up-front cost of the Verizon router, but it’s the best option if you simply want to expand your home network and unlock advanced router features.

Simply attach your new router to the LAN port of the Verizon gateway and follow the new router’s setup wizard to establish an Internet connection and disable Wi-Fi on the old router.


Option 2: Connect your router directly to ONT with Ethernet

Fios will push for coaxial cable in-home when they install the ONT box because it’s a good choice the TV services they offer alongside Internet. If you have an Internet-only plan under 100Mbps up/down, you can simply use the ONT’s Ethernet jack and use it as the “modem” for your router.

First, find an Ethernet wire long enough to connect the router in your house to the ONT box. Then call Verizon customer care and ask for a DHCP release/renew. They’ll walk you through it over the phone, and once it’s been switched you should be able to set up your router as normal.


Option 3: Advanced Sorcery

If you want to maintain your set-top box functionality and other Fios TV features intact, or expand your home network radically on a gigabit plan, setting up a custom network becomes more complex than we can cover here.

Methods change depending on the hardware that’s current and service offerings in your area. Until we publish our guide to advanced home networking with Verizon Fios, customer reports on hacks and workarounds can be found through searching online forums.

Conclusion: Verizon Fios is the Top-Shelf Option for Internet and TV in 2019

A highway as a metaphor for bandwidth.
Fios is a must-have for anyone who identifies as a techie.

If your primary concern as an internet user is cost, Verizon Fios might not be the best place to look.

If your top priority is quality of service, however, then you should absolutely try it out.

The speeds can’t be beaten, and the future-proof fiber network is sure to meet your needs for years to come as your bandwidth requirements grow along with consumer technology.

Verizon Fios at a Glance

StatisticVerizon Fios
Price Range$39.99 - $79.99/mo+
Connection Type(s) Fiber
Customer Recommendation Rating on BroadbandNow.com62.5%
ACSI Customer Service Rating73/100
Netflix Ranking5th
Population Served34,396,280

Experts

Jessica Sims

Jessica Sims

Jessica Sims is a technology blogger and broadband industry veteran. Her background as an administrator and customer support employee for a major ISP informs her passion for helping consumers understand their service options.

Questions & Answers

1 ANSWERED QUESTIONS

Is 50mbps through FiOS sufficient for just streaming and light internet use for my home?

Absolutely, 50 Mbps download should be more than enough to handle HD streaming, especially if you’re only sharing the connection with one or two other people. The “symmetrical” 50 Mbps upload speeds are the main perk at this tier — most cable/DSL providers will have much slower uploads in the 2–20 Mbps range, even on premium plan with download speeds in the 100–200 Mbps range.

The upload speeds won’t matter so much for streaming and light Internet use, but they’re helpful for uploading files, talking on Skype or Google Hangouts, and other real-time or sharing uses.

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