FiOS from Frontier

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Frontier FiOS, also known as FiOS from Frontier or simply FiOS, is a bundled Internet access, telephone, and television service that operates over a fiber-optic communications network in 7 states, including California, Texas, Florida, Indiana, South Carolina, Oregon, and Washington.[1][2] Service is offered in some areas of the United States by Frontier Communications in areas built out and formerly served by Verizon, using the same infrastructure as its Fios service and continuing to license the FiOS name from Verizon. Other service providers often use fiber optics in the network backbone and existing copper or coax infrastructure for residential users. Frontier's service began in 2009 with the acquisition of portions of Verizon's network, and networked areas expanded through 2015 through similar acquisitions, although some areas do not have service or cannot receive TV and phone service because of franchise agreements.

History

In May 2009, Frontier announced that it would acquire Verizon Communications' 4.8 million landlines leased to residential and small business customers in Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, for $8.6 billion.[3][4] In addition to the purchase of copper lines, Frontier also acquired the fiber-optic system built by Verizon in Fort Wayne, around Portland, and in some eastern suburbs of Seattle. These operations would continue to operate under the FiOS branding used by Verizon.[5]

Frontier initially stated that it had no plans for changes after the transition. However, the company later attempted to institute a $500 installation fee for new television subscribers, backed out of franchise agreements in some cities in Oregon, and increased rates by 50% in Indiana.[6][7][8] Frontier later retracted the rate increases and installation fee but has not reclaimed franchises in the cities that it relinquished and not before losing FiOS TV subscribers.[9][better source needed]

On February 5, 2015, Frontier announced that it would also acquire Verizon's wireline assets in California, Florida and Texas for $10.5 billion.[10] The transition took effect April 1, 2016; technical issues with the integration resulted in a disruption of service for many FiOS users in the markets, which continued for some in the weeks that followed. In May 2016, California assemblyman Mike Gatto announced a hearing over the matter, stating that "there has been an alarming rate of telephone and Internet outages in Southern California and consumers are frustrated with the lack of a solution to this months-long ordeal".[11][12]

During the hearing, Frontier West president Melinda White stated that most of the issues were caused by incomplete customer data provided by Verizon for importation into its systems. White stated that less than 1 percent of its customers were affected, and that it would provide service credits to affected subscribers while it finished addressing the issues. Republican assemblyman Jim Patterson accused the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) of not placing enough oversight on the transition, deeming it a "failure of the fundamental role and responsibility" of the commission.[13]

Technical details

An old FiOS ONT installed in Montclair, New Jersey, with Ethernet (left) and telephone (right) connections, which is also used in Frontier FiOS' infrastructure

As described in 2007, like Verizon FiOS, Frontier FiOS services are delivered over a fiber-to-the-premises network using passive optical network technology. Voice, video, and data travel over three wavelengths in the infrared spectrum. To serve a home, a single-mode optical fiber extends from an optical line terminal at a Fios central office out to the neighborhoods where a passive optical splitter fans out the same signal on up to 32 fibers, thus serving up to 32 subscribers. At the subscriber's home, an optical network terminal (ONT) transfers data onto the corresponding in-home copper wiring for phone, video and Internet access.[14] Some Fios installations use an Ethernet cable for data and coaxial cable for video, while others use the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) protocol for both data and video over a single coaxial cable. Voice service is also connected to the ONT and carried over telephone cables already in the house.

One of the three wavelength bands is devoted to carrying television channels using standard QAM cable television technology. The other two wavelengths are devoted to all other data, one for outbound and the other for inbound data. This includes video on demand, telephone and Internet data.

This allocation of wavelengths adheres to the ITU-T G.983 standard, also known as an ATM passive optical network (APON). Verizon initially installed slower BPONs but now only installs GPONs specified in the ITU-T G.984 standard. These bands and speeds are:

  • 1310 nm wavelength for upstream data at 155 Mbit/s (1.2 Gbit/s with GPON)
  • 1490 nm wavelength for downstream data at 622 Mbit/s (2.4 Gbit/s with GPON)
  • 1550 nm wavelength for QAM cable television with 870 MHz of bandwidth

The set-top box (STB) receives IR code and channel subscription information through the out-of-band (OOB) channel just as other coax or RF-based STB's do. However, guide data, cover art, widgets and other data are sent via IP over the data channels. All upstream OOB requests (or responses) are sent via IP over the data channels. All non-OOB data transactions to or from STB's are carried over the MoCA channels. The MoCA channel is also used to carry out inter-STB transactions (multi-room DVR, synchronization, etc.).

FiOS is also compatible with CableCARD technology allowing FiOS TV subscribers to receive encrypted and premium cable channels on CableCARD-capable devices.[15]

Television

Video Service

Frontier FiOS's broadcast video service is not IPTV (Internet Protocol television), unlike AT&T's U-verse product and CenturyLink's Prism product. However, video on demand content and interactive features, such as widgets and programming guide data, are delivered using IPTV-based technology. The majority of content is provided over a standard broadcast video signal that carries digital QAM content up to 870 MHz. The QAM system is identical to HFC cable TV, but is only one-way, and is not interactive, with no VOD or SDV content going over the QAM (VOD and SDV go over out of band IP). The 870 MHz QAM system was primarily done to satisfy franchise agreements that required a basic channel packaged with unencrypted, no STB required/cable-ready TV, channels. This broadcast content originates from a Super Head-End, which sends the signal to a Video Hub Office for distribution to FiOS TV customers.[16]

From the Optical Network Terminal (ONT) at the subscriber premises, the RF video is typically delivered with a coaxial connection to a FiOS set-top box that handles both RF and IPTV video. Interactive services such as VOD and widgets are delivered by IP and are only accessible through use of a FiOS set-top box and a Verizon/Frontier-supplied router. The router supports multimedia (MOCA) and provides the set-top boxes with programming guides and all SD channels, but high definition content (beyond local HD channels which are in clear QAM) requires HD equipment like a FiOS HD set-top box/DVR or a CableCARD-supporting device, such as TiVo. In 2008, Verizon ceased carrying analog television signals in parallel with digital channels, meaning televisions without a QAM tuner or a set-top digital adapter received no signal.[17]

FiOS TV Plans include:

Name SD Channels HD Channels
FiOS TV Local 20+ 5+
Preferred HD 245+ 70+
Extreme HD 325+ 95+
Ultimate HD 435+ 140+

FiOS Spanish TV Plans include:

Name SD Channels HD Channels
FiOS TV Mundo 200+ 35+
FiOS TV Mundo Total 205+ 40+

Quantum TV

In early January 2013, Verizon introduced Quantum TV service, to help expand the functionality of the conventional set-top box offered by Verizon FiOS. Frontier began offering Quantum TV across its FiOS territory after its 2016 acquisition of Verizon systems where Quantum TV had already been introduced. One VMS can also record up to six TV shows at the same time, can be deployed in a paired configuration to record twelve TV shows at a time, and it allows the customer to pause and rewind live TV.[18] It also has up to one terabyte of internal storage which equates to 100 hours of HD content.[19]

The older Quantum boxes have Motorola branding on them, but the newer Quantum boxes have Arris branding on them, as a result of Arris' acquisition of Motorola's Home business.

As of January 6, 2017, Frontier's Quantum TV does not yet support FiOS TV Quantum Mobility (DVR-on-the-go) which would allow subscribers to watch their DVR recordings remotely. A service note in the 3.1.2 iOS app dated November 22, 2016 states "coming soon to qualified subscribers in CA, TX, and FL".

Internet access

FiOS offers several service tiers that are available individually, but are offered at discounts when combined in a bundle. The tiers are distinguished by data transmission speed measured in Mbit/s downstream and upstream.

On June 18, 2012, Verizon announced FiOS Quantum. The new release doubled every Internet tier of Verizon FiOS subscriber packages. This release also introduced the 300 Mbit/s download speeds to the available service packages.[20]

In July 2013 Verizon FiOS announced its highest speed tier at 500/100 Mbit/s for home and small businesses.[21]

In July 2014 Verizon FiOS announced it would increase customer upload speeds to match download speeds for new and existing customers; however, existing customers need to sign up for a promotional program called "My Rewards+" if they wanted to receive it before January 2015. As of January 2015, all FiOS customers, regardless of their enrollment in My Rewards+, have received the speed match.[22]

Frontier has discontinued the Verizon My Rewards+ program, but offers the following symmetrical speed tiers over FiOS:

Download/Upload Speed

(Mbps)

50/50
75/75
100/100
150/150
300/300
500/500

Frontier FiOS Internet Availability By State

State Percentage of State's Population With Access to Frontier Fios Internet[23]
Oregon 17.9%
Florida 13.8%
California 12.7%
Washington 10.6%
Texas 5.8%
Indiana 4.8%
South Carolina 2.5%

Telephone

Traditional telephone

Verizon offered plain old telephone service (POTS). There have been reports in various markets that Verizon physically disconnected the copper lines (or the network interface device, necessary for Copper-line phone service) at the time that FiOS was installed, and that Verizon customer service talked customers into upgrading from copper with false promises of no changes in service rates.[24]

Verizon sold landline operations in the markets of northern New England to FairPoint Communications in March 2008.[25] Fiber to the premises projects in those markets was renamed as FAST (Fiber Access Speed Technology).[26] In June 2010, Verizon sold landline operations scattered throughout 13 states to Frontier Communications.[27] Some of these areas already had FiOS service availability, for which Frontier became responsible. In 2015, Verizon sold Texas, California, and Florida landline and FiOS operations to Frontier.

VoIP service

FiOS Digital Voice, is a voice over IP service where the ONT serves as the VoIP gateway, generating the dial tone to enable traditional analog phone use.[28] The service began in September 2008.[29] FiOS Digital Voice replaced an earlier service called VoiceWing which was launched in 2004 and discontinued in early 2009, shortly after the launch of FiOS Digital Voice. It is the only phone option for new FiOS customers, and it offers an unlimited calling plan or $.05/minute plan.[30][31] FiOS Digital Voice has numerous international per minute calling plans as well.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Frontier Communications Overview and Coverage". broadbandnow.com. Retrieved 2015-06-01.
  2. ^ Team, Trefis. "Verizon Reports Strong Q1 Earnings Amid Sluggish Subscriber Adds". Retrieved 2015-05-12.
  3. ^ Hansell, Saul (2009-05-13). "Frontier to Buy Verizon Lines for $8.5 Billion". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  4. ^ Alexander, Dave (2010-07-01). "Goodbye Verizon, hello Frontier Communications". mlive.com. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  5. ^ Butcher, Rob (2010-07-01). "Goodbye Verizon FiOS, Hello Frontier Communications". Kirkland Views. Archived from the original on 2016-03-10.
  6. ^ "Frontier: No Changes For FiOS, DirecTV Customers For 9-12 Months - 2009-05-14 18:26:00 | Multichannel News". Multichannel.com. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
  7. ^ "News and information for McMinnville and Yamhill Valley, Oregon - wine country newspaper". NewsRegister.com. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
  8. ^ "Frontier plans substantial rate hike for FIOS TV". Wane.com. Archived from the original on 2013-05-23. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
  9. ^ "Updated: Frontier's Fiber Mess: Company Losing FiOS Subs, Landline Customers, But Adds Bonded DSL". Stop the Cap!. 2011-08-16. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
  10. ^ "Frontier acquires Verizon wireline assets in 3 states for $10.5B". FierceTelecom. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  11. ^ Brodkin, Jon (2016-05-05). "Nightmarish transition from Verizon to Frontier has no end in sight". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  12. ^ Brodkin, Jon (2016-04-01). "After Verizon FiOS changeover to Frontier, some customers lose service". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  13. ^ Brodkin, Jon (2016-05-19). "Verizon's corrupt data to blame for weeks-long outages, Frontier says". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  14. ^ Rowe, Martin (April 30, 2007). "Verizon's last mile". Test & Measurement World. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  15. ^ "CableCard features and services | Fios TV | Residential Support | Verizon". 2.verizon.com. Retrieved 2012-11-21.
  16. ^ Drawbaugh, Ben (December 17, 2009). "An inside look at a Verizon Fios Super Headend and Video Hub". Engadget. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  17. ^ "Your Fios TV service is becoming 100% Digital". web site. Verizon Communications. Archived from the original on May 13, 2008. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  18. ^ http://www.verizon.com/home/fiosquantumtv
  19. ^ "Verizon And Motorola Announce Fios TV Media Server That Can Record Six Shows at Once". web site. TechCrunch. Archived from the original on September 29, 2013. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  20. ^ Drawbaugh, Ben (June 18, 2012). "Verizon intros Quantum, officially priced up to 300 Mbps". Engadget. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
  21. ^ Grey, Melissa (July 22, 2013). "Verizon Fios rolls out 500/100 Mbps broadband, its highest speed tier yet". EnGadget. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
  22. ^ Brodkin, Jon (July 21, 2014). "Verizon Fios finally symmetrical, upload speeds boosted to match download". Ars Technica. Retrieved August 10, 2014.
  23. ^ "Frontier Fios availability by state". HighSpeedInternet.com. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  24. ^ Yao, Deborah (July 11, 2007). "Verizon's copper cutoff traps customers, hampers rivals". Seattle Times. Associated Press. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  25. ^ "FairPoint Communications Reports second Quarter 2008 results" (PDF). news release. August 7, 2008. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  26. ^ "FairPoint FAST FAQ". Official web site. Archived from the original on March 21, 2009. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  27. ^ Whitney, Lance (May 13, 2009). "Verizon selling landline operations in 13 states". CNET Networks. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  28. ^ "Fios Digital Voice: Here's How It Works". June 3, 2010. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  29. ^ Bode, Karl (December 12, 2008). "Here Comes Fios Digital Voice". Broadband Reports. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  30. ^ Spangler, Todd (December 12, 2008). "FiOS to Raise Its Voice: Verizon Plans to Widely Roll Out Internet-Based Phone Service in Early 2009". Multichannel News. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  31. ^ "Verizon Fios Digital Voice". Commercial web site. Verizon. Retrieved July 24, 2011.

Further reading

  • Marsan, C. D. (2008). Verizon Fios tech heading to enterprises; Claims new high-speed optical networks slash floor space, electricity needs. Network World, (1). Retrieved March 8, 2009.
  • Searcey, D. (2006). Telecommunications; Beyond Cable; Beyond DSL: Fiber-optic lines offer connection speeds up to 50 times faster than traditional services; Here's what early users have to say. The Wall Street Journal, (R9). Retrieved March 7, 2009.

External links

  • Official website
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