Last week, I slowly started to move into a new home outside of Washington, D.C., in an area of Maryland named Frederick County. The area is lovely—very rural, lots of rolling hills, farms and cows. Lots of cows.
Of course, as many people who need a fast high-speed internet connection know all too well, a rural setting is not conducive to state-of-the-art broadband. In fact, rural areas in many parts of the United States can’t even get quality internet. Yes, that means dial-up, AOL and Compuserve-style.
For anyone who is a regular reader of my cable industry posts, I don’t exactly have a place in my heart for Comcast’s overall customer experience, equipment or customer service. I do like their TV service, but that soon will be canceled as I make the switch to becoming a cord-cutter.
That means my choice for internet was already made for me—Fios all the way.
The good news is that Fios Gigabit internet is, in my opinion, the best you can get anywhere in the country. And quality internet these days is vital, considering the spread of the coronavirus means tens of millions of Americans are now being forced to work from home for the foreseeable future.
But what makes Fios so great? Let me offer five very basic reasons why Verizon and their gigabyte speed of internet service should be your only choice—provided you can get it in your part of the country.
1. Ordering Is Easy:
All you have to do is go to verizon.com, see if the service is in your area, and set up an appointment for a technician to come out and install it. A professional installation is free most of the time, thanks to promotional offers. Many times if Fios service has been in your location before you moved in, you can have a wireless router mailed to you for free for a simple self-installation that should take no more than thirty minutes to complete. You could, in theory, be up and running within 24-48 hours if you can pick up the modem in a Fios office, as I have done in the past for friends and family who needed help installing the equipment.
The service where I live is $89.95 per month. Normally, there is a rental fee for the wireless router. However, many times it is free for a certain amount of time thanks to promotional pricing. You can also get an additional $10.00 per month discount if you agree to have your bills paid automatically every month from a checking or credit card account. At then $79.95, you can’t get a better value for such service and speed. Speaking of speed…
3. Speed: Verizon offering gigabit speed is not revolutionary, as many service providers around the country offer such service. However, Fios offers that level of speed for download and upload connections. That matters because if you have, for example, Comcast or Cox Communications version of this service, you only get gigabit speeds when you download something.
Upload speeds matter now more than ever. If you are doing things like video conferencing, sending large files, Skyping for office work—all things people need to do now that they are forced to work from home—you will do this at no more than 40 Mbps, a fraction of what Fios can offer you in terms of upload. Imagine trying to do upload intensive work when your kids are home from school trying to stream their online classroom—also using upload speed. You will quickly run out of upload capability—and fast.
4. Equipment: While I will offer a more comprehensive review later, Fios has a new router out that is one of the best I have ever tested. In my home, it was installed in a basement utility closet. Even two floors up passing internet signal near a steel beam I still get 50 percent of my total upload and download speed—and that is amazing. Comcast’s equipment, at least from my own experience, could never offer something like that.
5. Customer Service: The Fios tech who came to my home for install was on time, professional, answered all of my questions and was great to work with. While I can’t say this has always been the case when I have ordered Fios services for their bundled products in the past, at least on the installation and technical side of the house, my recent experiences have been great.
While I will have more to say in the coming weeks on Fios in a more complete review on the service, one thing is clear: in the age of the coronavirus you need the best internet service possible to keep connected to your family, friends and coworkers and perhaps to continue to get a paycheck. Verizon Fios is the best way to do that and provides hands-down the best internet you can get.
Harry J. Kazianis serves as a senior director at the Center for the National Interest and Executive Editor of their publishing arm, the National Interest. You can follow him (or yell at him) on Twitter: @Grecianformula.