For most Americans, choosing an Internet provider means deciding between cable and DSL. For the lucky few in the relatively small Fios service area, fiber service from Verizon Fios is a long-awaited third option.
But fiber is more than just a buzzword — it’s first major upgrade for home Internet plans since broadband replaced dial-up in the late 90s. The speed upgrade is just as dramatic, offering “gigabit” service more than 10x faster than traditional cable and DSL.
Verizon Fios Plans
|Deals||Price Monthly||Internet Speed||Phone|
|Fios 100/100||$3999||100 Mbps Fiber||(855) 435-4574|
|50/50 Mbps Internet + Fios TV Local||$4999||50 Mbps Fiber||(855) 435-4574|
|Fios 150/150||$7499||150 Mbps Fiber||(855) 435-4574|
|Best Internet-Only Cord Cutter Deal Best Internet-Only Cord Cutter Deal||$7999||940 Mbps Fiber||(855) 435-4574|
|Best Fios Gigabit Triple Play Offer Best Fios Gigabit Triple Play Offer||$7999||940 Mbps Fiber||(855) 435-4574|
|Fios Gigabit Connection with Custom TV||$7499||940 Mbps Fiber||(855) 435-4574|
If you're looking to compare plans, make sure to check out our detailed guide on the latest Verizon Fios deals and promotions.
What make Fios special?
Fios is famous for providing an end-to-end optical fiber 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 of the Internet is made up of fiber networks — but the “last mile” between the mainstream Internet and your house has traditionally been bridged with existing cables installed for TV and phone service.
Why? Honestly, because it’s cheap, and most Internet providers don’t want to invest billions of dollars to upgrade something that already works.
Verizon Fios took that risk, and it’s been paying off for them. They’re consistently rated one of the best-liked providers in the country, and competing cable providers are struggling to earn customers in areas where they overlap.
How is Fios Faster?
If the Internet is an “information superhighway,” bandwidth can be thought of 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 speedy, resulting in much less latency for 100% fiber networks.
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
Verizon Fios’ drawback is that it’s only available in a few densely populated areas, since the high cost of installation makes it difficult for Verizon to serve rural customers.
Verizon also sold some of their network to Frontier Communications in 2016, although Frontier seems committed to continue expanding FTTH (Fiber to the Home) network development in those areas.
Verizon Fios speed data
Download Speeds Over Time
|City||Verizon Fios Average Speed||Verizon Fios Top 10% Speeds|
|Arlington, Virginia||60 Mbps||115 Mbps|
|Bronx, New York||60 Mbps||138 Mbps|
|Brooklyn, New York||66 Mbps||146 Mbps|
|Buffalo, New York||22 Mbps||55 Mbps|
|Flushing, New York||51 Mbps||100 Mbps|
|Jamaica, New York||61 Mbps||136 Mbps|
|Jersey City, New Jersey||54 Mbps||119 Mbps|
|New York, New York||82 Mbps||170 Mbps|
|Newark, New Jersey||56 Mbps||122 Mbps|
|Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||50 Mbps||101 Mbps|
|Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||44 Mbps||93 Mbps|
|Providence, Rhode Island||50 Mbps||98 Mbps|
|Richmond, Virginia||54 Mbps||97 Mbps|
|Silver Spring, Maryland||50 Mbps||96 Mbps|
|Staten Island, New York||54 Mbps||115 Mbps|
|Trenton, New Jersey||47 Mbps||95 Mbps|
|Virginia Beach, Virginia||49 Mbps||98 Mbps|
|Washington, District of Columbia||64 Mbps||146 Mbps|
|Woodbridge, Virginia||58 Mbps||112 Mbps|
|Yonkers, New York||63 Mbps||143 Mbps|
Fios Factors to Consider
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.
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
- Install ONT (Optical Network Terminal) box
- Connect cables to coaxial splitter to segregate TV/Internet traffic
- Re-wire home if existing coaxial cable is insufficient for your needs
- Install and configure set-top boxes and Internet router
Verizon is trying very hard to win over cable and DSL customers, and they’re doing it through aggressive pricing on Fios bundles.
Some of these bundle deals are great opportunities for customers who plan on using their TV and/or phone service regularly. Just be sure to check the promotional price against the final monthly price, especially if signing a two-year contract.
Compare Fios Bundles to other options in my area
Fios Hardware: What About My Router?
…And to be honest, using Verizon-branded equipment is a good idea for most customers (especially on the faster “gigabit” plans).
That said, 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.
First, understand 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 routerThis 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 EthernetFios 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 SorceryIf 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
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 beat, and the future-proof fiber network is sure to meet your needs for years to come as your bandwidth needs grow along with consumer technology.
Verizon Fios at a Glance
|Price Range||$39.99 - $79.99/mo+|
|Customer Recommendation Rating on BroadbandNow.com||61.9%|
|ACSI Customer Service Rating||73/100|
References and Footnotes
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.
James Webb is a tech and gadgets expert with a focus on educational content development. He draws on his background in the startup world to make complicated technologies and topics easy to understand for normal folks.
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.