TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Coverage Areas of FiOS?

Re: Coverage Areas of FiOS?

Neal McLain (
Tue, 25 Jul 2006 02:23:38 -0400 wrote:

> I found them [Verizon FiOS call center] not helpful and
> uncooperative. My area has FIOS and they advertise it heavilly, but
> they did not come into my complex. I cannot find out why (they don't
> want to or my complex doesn't want them???, probably they don't want
> to.) Their rep said they don't like doing multi family complexes
> which makes no sense to me since shorter cable runs will serve more
> people. We are, though, underground wiring, not pole.

If it's a true FTTH network (which means fiber all the way to the end
customer's home), Verizon would have to run a fiber all the way into
each apartment or condo unit. Which means installing fiber cables
*inside* existing MDU buildings. For several reasons (minimum
inconvenience to residents; minimum disruption to structures and
landscaping; lowest cost to Verizon), Verizon would (presumably) want
to wire all units at the same time, even if only one unit signed up
for the service.

It's the same hassle that the cable TV industry went through back in
the 1970s and 80s when we were installing coax in MDU buildings. Back
in my cable TV days, we dragged our feet about MDUs too. We didnít
want to invest in wiring an entire building until we had enough
residents signed up to justify the cost. On a few occasions, building
owners agreed to assist: either they'd pick up part of the
construction cost, or they'd contract for bulk billing (basic cable to
every unit with the cost buried in the rent). But most building
owners refused to contribute anything, and many of them were outright
hostile. Some even demanded a "deal" (i.e., money) as a condition for
signing an easement.

Another reason for dragging our feet: hackers. It's a lot easier to
hack wiring inside an MDU building than wiring on a pole or in a ped.
The worst offenders were fraternities: I've encountered frat boys
hacking coax wiring within an hour after the installer left.

Verizon is facing this whole hassle all over again. Only it's worse
this time around because fiber can't be spliced, so each fiber
cable would have to be run continuously from the building entrance to
the apartment/condo without any splices. Furthermore, fiber is just
as vulnerable to physical hacking by residents as coax, but it's far
more difficult to repair -- again, the splicing problem.

Alternatively, Verizon could run a fiber bundle to some secure common
area (basement, telephone closet, etc.) in the building, and utilize
existing coax and telco wiring from there. Assuming, of course, that
the existing coax and telco wiring is in usable condition, with no bad
splices, no hidden splitters buried behind drywall or under the attic
insulation, no smashed shields, no ground faults, no illegal taps,
etc. Anybody who's read the horror stories posted on this list over
the past several years might question the advisability that approach.

Eventually, of course, all this will pass. Coax wiring is now as
common in MDU buildings as power and telephone. In another decade or
two, fiber will be just as common.

So just be patient, Lisa!

Neal McLain

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