Thursday, June 22, 2017

FiOS - A Cautionary Tale

I delayed signing up for Frontier FiOS because I was concerned they might screw things up. I should have been more concerned.

This is a long post. Consider it entertainment. Or just skip to the Answers.


The Need for Speed

I have had internet connectivity for decades, starting back with modems so slow, I knew people who had to pause in their typing to let the modem catch up. I appreciated every doubling of speed as each generation of modem arrived. I was surprised when modem speeds reached 4800 and then 9600 baud - how could you get more bits per second than the 3K bandwidth of a phone line? - and I was astounded with the jump to 56K modems.

When DSL came out, I waited impatiently for it to be available in my neighborhood, and signed up as soon as I could. After years of using a 56K modem, my 740Kbps DSL line was satisfyingly fast.

I lived with 740Kbps for six years, until one day my DSL modem broke. While researching new modems, I learned that I could have my service switched from Frame Relay to ATM and bump up my speed to 3Mbps. Normally this would mean my service would be out for 10 days while they did that, but since it was already out, it seemed like a good time to make the switch. The speed bump from 740Kbps to 3Mbps was a mere 4x, far less than the 13x increase from the 56K modem to 740Kbps DSL, but still, 3Mbps was satisfyingly fast.

Verizon actually offered FiOS in my neighborhood fairly early, but I was pretty happy with my DSL service, and I wasn't doing anything that I thought needed more than 3Mbps bandwidth. I remained happy with my 3Mbps for over a decade. But technology marches on; I bought some HDTVs, started watching more YouTube, and started working from home more often using bandwidth-hungry remote desktop applications. My 3Mbps connection was not sufficient to stream HDTV movies and YouTube clips, and my remote desktop experience was annoyingly slow. I was finally feeling the bandwidth squeeze.

Still, I delayed upgrading to FiOS. I had heard that I would have to give up my copper-wire land lines, which I was not keen to do. Some years ago our power was out for over a week; batteries everywhere ran down - even the local cell towers ran out of juice after a few days, so there was no cell service in our neighborhood - but, with our copper wires, we had phone service the whole time. I liked that.

In addition, by this time Verizon had sold to Frontier, and based on my experience and anecdotes I read, I was concerned that Frontier would mess something up when dealing with my service change request, particularly since my situation was rather unusual.

My Unusual Situation

In my case, there were a number of things about my situation that gave me pause when thinking about asking for any kind of change.
  1. I have a land line. This has become increasingly rare, and it seems Frontier is deprioritizing phone service so they can focus on providing internet and television service. It seems they want to provide packages that include everything, or at least include both internet and television.
  2. Actually, I have two land lines. I'm not sure I know anybody else who has two land lines at home any more. I used to have three, but finally got rid of the third line after disposing of my last FAX machine years ago. Although I have two lines, they have not both shown up on my monthly bill for many years now. Oh, I am paying for two lines, it's just that the second line is not itemized anywhere. If you didn't know a-priori that I had two phone lines, you would hardly be able to tell that by looking at my phone bill. Based on conversations I have had with support and billing people at Frontier, it's not obvious to them either, although after I point it out, and with enough digging, some of them could figure it out.
  3. I had a DSL line. As I mentioned, I delayed for quite some time in switching from DSL to FiOS. The longer I delayed, the fewer people had DSL lines, and the less Frontier cared about them. For this particular problem, I suppose my delaying upgrading perhaps made things worse.
  4. My DSL service provider was not Frontier. This caused a fair amount of frustration any time I had a service issue with my DSL line.
My DSL service was perhaps the most unusual part of my situation. Back in 1999, when I originally ordered DSL, GTE (yes, it was that long ago!) had partnerships with Internet Service Providers who provided the actual internet service. These are known as CLECs (Competitive Local Exchange Carriers). So GTE provided the line, and my selected ISP provided the internet service. Originally I paid GTE directly for the line and I paid the ISP for the internet service. But when I switched from Frame Relay to ATM service, my billing also changed so that I paid everything to the CLEC, and they paid Verizon for the line.

Back then many of the carrier ISPs had annoying policies such as blocking some ports, so it was nice to be a customer of a smaller ISP that was more interested in making its customers happy. The downside was that, whenever there was a service problem, I had to deal with two companies, and they each tended to say it was the other company's problem.

By the time I was considering switching from DSL to FiOS this year, it had become perhaps comically bad: when I talked to support and billing people at Frontier, they were completely unaware that I had DSL service on my Frontier phone line, and even with a lot of digging, nobody I talked to at Frontier this year was ever able to find even a trace of information about my DSL line.

On the other side, my ISP had been acquired multiple times over the years, each time by a larger and more remote company, until by this year they were no longer in the DSL business and no longer in the residential ISP business. Somehow through all this, my residential DSL line kept working, but I did start to feel I was skating on ever-thinning ice.

It was time to take the plunge and upgrade.


Before ordering FiOS service, I wanted to get the answers to four questions:
  1. What service options do I have?
  2. What equipment will be installed and where?
  3. What is the installation process?
  4. How much will it cost?
How does one answer questions like these in today's world? Hit up the internet, of course.


Frontier's Web Site

I started by browsing Frontier's web site looking for information about their service offerings.

NOTE: Frontier's offerings are regional, so you may see different web pages than what I describe.

Their FiOS page shows four levels of service: 50Mbps, 75Mbps, 100Mbps or 150Mbps. Since I wanted both internet and phone service, I headed over to the bundles page to see what I could get. I don't want their television service, so I unchecked the "Video" box. This shows three bundles: two that include 30Mbps internet service (30? that's not one of the speeds listed on their FiOS page!) and one that includes 50Mbps. Do they offer bundles that include internet service faster than 50Mbps? Their web site doesn't say.

Their Phone page shows me information about copper-line phone service (lower in the page it says "Our reliable copper power stays on even when the power goes out or in an emergency"), where they list two plans that differ by $3. Confusingly, this phone service - you know, POTS using analog signals on copper wires - is called "Digital Essentials." Are there any other optional add-ons? There are a fair number of features bundled with the basic phone service, and a lot more bundled with that extra $3, but is that it? Like, I currently have an unlisted phone number, what's the charge for that? Sorry, that kind of stuff is not on their web site. Ah, here on the the Digital Phone Unlimited page, it says "Optional international calling packages are available for great savings", so apparently there are other options available - but it's not a link, so I have no idea what kind of packages they might offer.

How about a second phone line, how much does that cost? Sorry, that's not on the web page. VoIP? Oh, maybe you mean FiOS Digital Voice. Beats me what the scoop is on that. If you go to Frontier's FiOS Bundles page, where it says the phone service in their bundles is Digital Phone Unlimited, and you click on the Learn More button for the phone service, it takes you to that phone page I mentioned above - you know, the one that says "Our reliable copper power stays on even when the power goes out or in an emergency." So, if I get a bundle that includes FiOS internet, does that bundle include Digital Phone Unlimited running on copper wires?

The details of the above web pages are what they look like now, in June 2017. I believe they have changed since I did my initial research a few months ago, but the gist is the same: I was unable to figure out what options were available to me by reading their web site.

Besides looking at Frontier's web pages, I did a lot of Googling and browsing of other web sites. I learned a lot in general about equipment, but it was hard to know how much of it would apply to my situation. Although I did not record the time I spent browsing Frontier's and others' web sites, I estimate it was probably about five hours.

It was time to move on to online chat to get more answers.

Online Chat

I had six online chats with Frontier, totaling about 4 1/2 hours. Between each chat I did more online research, looking for details about the equipment and the installation experience both inside and outside the house. It was difficult to get a good handle on these details, particularly since I sometimes got conflicting answers from the Frontier people I chatted with.

For example, one of my questions was whether I could keep my copper phone lines, or whether I would be required to switch my phone service to fiber. One of the people I chatted with said this:
You would have to switch to a digital phone service ! Voip. Which basically means Voice over Internet
Another one said I could keep my phone service on copper and get their "Simply FiOS" service, which is fiber with only internet service.


Once I reached the point where I felt I had as good answers as I could get - which admittedly were not always very good - it was time to place my order.

On April 9 I called Frontier to place my order. I would say the fact that it took me well over an hour to place my order was the first hint of trouble, but in truth there were plenty of hints during the many chats I had, where I was not getting consistent answers.

Part of the reason the phone call took so long was due to my unusual situation. The DSL was not much of an issue during ordering, since it was completely invisible to them and they couldn't do anything about it. The real trouble was that second phone line. Figuring out how to deal with that took probably 45 minutes.

When I asked if I was required to switch my phone service from copper to fiber, the service rep first said no, but then went and asked someone else, came back and said yes, I would have to switch. I would have preferred to keep my phones on copper (and especially I would have preferred it given how much trouble I have had with the switch), but I was not given that option. So I placed the order to switch both of my phone lines over to fiber.

At some point I learned that each phone number at Frontier is on a separate account. This was completely invisible to me because both of my phone lines are billed on the account for my primary number, so that's the only account I see. Some of the Frontier people I talked to were able to find the separate account for the secondary line, but it always seemed to take them a while. In the end, I think that the fact that the secondary phone was actually a separate account has saved me some hassle with it: because it was on a separate account, the order to change the second phone over to fiber was done with a separate work order, scheduled for the day following the primary work order. Once the trouble started, I was able to cancel that second work order before anything was done to the second line; but the work had already started on the first line, and that has been the headache. I wonder now if there was any way I could have convinced them to just treat the internet service as a new internet-only account and so leave the phone lines and their account completely untouched.

I was pleased that my installation was scheduled very quickly, just two days later, on April 11. I should not have been. As it turned out, I did not actually get my FiOS service until April 18.

I wonder, had I known then what I know now, what I might have been able to do to avoid any of the troubles I have had.


On the morning of April 11, I was a bit surprised that the installer did not call first to confirm I was home before coming by. When he arrived, I learned why: although he had two different phone numbers for me, somehow he had typos in both of them. These two numbers were for my two Frontier phone lines. I would have thought the computer would have just copied those numbers into the work order, but I assume now that a person manually put in those phone numbers, and somehow got them both wrong.

Unfortunately, the person who took my order scheduled my installer visit without first scheduling the preceding two steps of the installation process. As a result, when the installer came out for the April 11 appointment, he was unable to do his work, and had to leave having done nothing.

Before that first installer left, he told me he would call in the work orders to do the steps that should have been done before he got there. He might have done this right away, but when I called Frontier a little bit later that day, I was still unable to reschedule the installation because they didn't have the notes from that day's work order yet. So I had to wait and call back a couple of days later.

I was disappointed that I would have to wait longer to get my fast internet service, but that was just a mild disappointment. What was more annoying was that my DSL service went out on April 13, two days after that original installation date.

As I mentioned above, due to my unusual DSL situation, it was very difficult for me to get anyone to take any action on my DSL line. I called my ISP, and they said everything looked fine to them. I called Frontier and they couldn't help me at all; they had absolutely zero visibility into my DSL service. One tech said he would run a DSL line check on my line, but the computer wouldn't let him because it said there was no DSL service on my line.

My ISP suggested that my DSL modem may have died, and while I admit that is a possibility, the timing of the outage, plus the fact that the modem lights indicated no DSL carrier, leads me to believe that the work order to switch my copper line to fiber triggered some follow-on internal work order to turn off the DSL on that line, and because my DSL service was invisible to everyone who looked at my account, they had no way to manage that internal work order.

After a few frustrating and fruitless phone calls trying to get my DSL line fixed, I decided to forget it and hope that my new fiber internet connection would be running soon. In the meantime, I tethered my computer to my phone when I wanted to use the internet, so I did not have to suffer internet withdrawal while waiting for FiOS. Ironically, this gave me a faster connection than my 3Mbps DSL line, although I never got it working as a gateway for my entire LAN, but only used it on one computer at a time.

The first step in the installation process is for the utility locators to come out and spray lines marking the location of the existing utilities so that the people burying the fiber don't damage any existing buried utilities. Two days after the aborted initial installation appointment, on the same day my DSL service went out, various colored lines started appearing in my front yard marking the utilities. The following morning the fiber installers came out and buried the fiber cable running from the curb to my house (yay!). BUT - that afternoon, yet another utility locator came out to locate more utilities. So the fiber installers jumped the gun by installing the fiber before all of the utilities were located. Fortunately, they did not damage any of the unlocated utilities, so although they did not follow the prescribed procedure, at least no harm resulted from that mistake.

On April 18, now that the fiber was in place, the second installer came out to finish the installation. In about two hours he installed all the equipment and got the FiOS internet service working (yay!). For much of the next hour he worked over the phone with a technician trying to get the primary phone line working over fiber. After some discussion with me, they finally gave up and moved the phone line back to copper.

I was perfectly happy keeping my phone service on copper, as that's what I had originally wanted anyway. If only it had been so easy.

I learned from the installer that the second phone line was on a separate work order, to be moved from copper to fiber the next day. Given that they were unable to move the first line, and were willing to keep it on copper (I thought), I called and canceled the service call that was scheduled for the next day. I'm pretty sure doing that has saved me a lot of grief on my second phone line, as so far I have not had any problems with it, and it has continued working just fine on copper, as well as being billed properly.

On April 25, one week after the FiOS installation, I learned that my primary phone was not working properly. It may be that it stopped working a day or two sooner, but this is the day I realized it. It was broken in a strange way: I could place outgoing calls, and I could receive incoming calls from another phone number in the same exchange, such as my second phone line, but calls from outside the exchange would not go through. When I called from my mobile phone, which has a different area code, I could hear a ringback on my mobile, but my landline never rang. When I called from my wife's mobile phone, which is in the same area code but not in the same exchange, I immediately got a message saying "Your call can not be completed." I spent a couple of hours on the phone with Frontier over this.

On April 30, five days later, they finally managed to get the phone working again. We got a call at 8:15am that Sunday morning from a repair man testing to see if the line was working. Fortunately, we were already awake.

Two days later, on May 2, the phone service went out again, in the same way. Another hour on the phone with Frontier, and this time it "only" took them two days to get it fixed. So far, from then until now (mid-June), the phone service has not gone out again, so I am hopeful that they really have fixed it.

On May 8, I received my first bill from Frontier since getting my new FiOS service. It had a couple of minor errors on it, which I was able to deal with on the phone to Frontier in about 15 minutes.

On June 7, I received my second bill from Frontier since getting my new FiOS service. This one had more serious problems, and I spent closer to an hour on the phone with Frontier. The most significant problem is that, although my phone service never got switched over to fiber, which also would have included switching to a new service plan, the billing did get switched to the new plan. My old plan was $18.90/month, the new plan is $30.99/month. So I am being charged an extra $12.09 for exactly the same service that I was getting before the FiOS installation. The billing person I talked to told me she was unable to change my phone service back to the old plan because I had been grandfathered in at that old rate. I assume the computer did not provide her any way to go back to that grandfathered rate.

So here I am, two months after ordering FiOS, trying to figure out what I should do about my phone service. Try harder to get it back to the old rate? Try to get it changed to the service plan I am now being forced to pay for?

Or maybe I should just cancel it. Who has land lines these days anyway?


Here is a list of what I believe are the mistakes Frontier made that led to the above trouble.
  • When taking my order, the service rep scheduled the equipment installation without first scheduling utility location and fiber installation
  • Both of my phone numbers were entered incorrectly in the original work order
  • The fiber installers buried the fiber before all of the utilities were located
  • When the original installation was postponed, the order to disconnect my DSL service was not also postponed
  • When the installer was unable to move the phone service to fiber, and kept it on copper, he should have canceled the rest of the service order for moving the phone service (although I suspect the computer would not have let him do that, since he had already done some of the work on it)
  • When the phone went out the first time, and the repair man got it working again, he must have missed some piece of the puzzle, since it went out again two days later
  • Given that the phone service never actually got switched to the new plan on fiber, the billing likewise should not have changed

Good Stuff

While I think far more has gone badly than is reasonable, not everything has gone wrong. In fairness, I list here some good things.
  • The fiber installer did a very nice job burying the fiber line from the curb to the house. We could hardly see where they ran it, including through sod, and even where they had to run it under a bed of solid pachysandra, they only damaged a strip a few inches wide.
  • The equipment installer cheerfully ran ethernet cable from the ONT, across the ceiling in my garage, through a wall, into my network equipment closet, and to a wall-mounted jack.
  • My 100/100 internet service came up smoothly on the (second) scheduled date, and has been working well ever since. It is satisfyingly fast.
  • When I run speed tests, I consistently do get 100Mbps both up and down.
  • The Arris wifi router they included in the installation was actually pretty nice (although it would be better if there were some documentation available somewhere). If I were a less technically demanding customer, I would probably still be using it.
  • Both installers who came to my house were friendly and competent. A few of the tech support people I talked to also seemed quite competent.
  • Almost everyone I have communicated with at Frontier has been friendly and has (as far as I can tell) tried their best to help me. They always let me stay on the line asking questions as long as I wanted to; I never felt anyone was trying to get me to hang up.
  • I have not had any trouble getting credits applied to my bill.


This section lists what I think are the answers to the four questions I started with. YMMV: service, equipment, processes and prices may vary across regions and over time, and depending on your situation.

What service options do I have?

Sadly, I can't give you good answers here, so you will probably have to call or chat with Frontier and experience your own frustration at getting a different answer each time.

I do, however, have a few things to point out.

One point, that was always unclear to me when researching FiOS, is that there is no technical reason you can not keep your copper-wire phone along with FiOS. The fiber line is installed completely independently of the copper wires, and the service is likewise independent. Frontier may tell you that you must switch your phone service over to fiber service (either TDM, in which the phone signal is sent over the fiber separately from the Internet signal, or VoIP, where it is sent on top of the Internet signal), but that is purely a business issue.

A possible sticking point is the way Frontier handles their accounts: if your phone service is on the same account as your FiOS internet service, they are constrained as to what the computer will let them do with that phone service. If you want to keep your copper phone lines and they are telling you you can't, perhaps you can ask to put the Internet service on a separate account. You can then ask to have both accounts billed together. But you might lose out on some bundling discounts this way.

One of the differences between POTS over copper wires and VoIP is that POTS is regulated phone service, but VoIP is not. More specifically, under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 VoIP is considered an information service rather than a communications service, the upshot being that you don't have the same level of guarantees as POTS, which is regulated as a communications service. However, IANAL, and I was unable to determine whether or how later laws may have modified this situation, or whether those regulations are still being enforced, so this may be a moot point.

What equipment will be installed and where?

Not including the fiber from the street to your house that gets buried as part of the installation process, the installer installs three pieces of equipment:
  1. The ONT (Optical Network Terminal), which converts between the optical signal carried on the fiber to the electrical signals used in the house. The ONT has the following connections:
    • An optical connection that gets connected to the fiber from the street
    • Two 8P8C (RJ45) ethernet jacks for the internet connection
    • Two RJ-11 jacks for phone connections
    • A coaxial connector for the cable connection
    The ONT can be configured to provide internet service either through the 8P8C connector on a standard ethernet cable, or through the coaxial cable using MOCA.
    The ONT is typically mounted on the outside of the garage. The fiber from the street is routed first into a holding box, typically mounted behind the actual ONT, where the excess cable is wrapped in big loops to take up all the slack, then from there it enters the ONT.
  2. A power supply that includes a small battery backup for the ONT. This is typically mounted inside the garage, ideally just opposite where the ONT is mounted on the outside, and near a power outlet. The installer will then drill a hole through the garage wall to feed through the power wire from the supply to the ONT, and possibly another to bring the ethernet and coaxial cables into the garage if they will be routed through the garage. By default, the battery backup provides power only for the phone lines. It can be hacked to provide power for the internet portion of the ONT, or you can just buy your own UPS and plug the ONT power supply into that (although Frontier recommends plugging the ONT power supply directly into an outlet).
  3. A MOCA-capable router. In my case this was an Arris NVG468MQ, which is a reasonably nice wireless router, except that they didn't give me a manual, and I was unable to find anything of substance online. The router has the following connections:
    • A WAN ethernet port
    • Four LAN ethernet ports
    • A coax connector in case the internet signal is being supplied using MOCA
    • A four-wire RJ-11 phone jack for up to two phone lines
    If you have a good installer, they should be willing to let you decide where you want to put your router, and run ethernet cable (or coax if using MOCA) to that location, including drilling holes and installing a wall jack.
The internet signal from the ONT to the router can run either over an ethernet cable or over a coax cable. If you are getting TV service, they will have to run a coax cable for the TV service. If your internet service is slower than 100/100, it is possible to run the internet service over that same cable to the MOCA-capable router. If your internet service is 100/100 or faster, you probably want to run that over an ethernet cable; and you might someday want to upgrade to 100/100 or faster service later, so you probably should have them install that ethernet cable now anyway and have them run the internet signal through that to the router. Plus, that gives you the option of replacing their router with one of your own choice that doesn't do MOCA.

What is the installation process?

Installation of new FiOS service - not including preliminary research, placing the order, and post-installation followup to correct problems - consists of three sequential steps:
  1. Locate existing utilities: one or more people come out with metal detectors that they use to locate existing utilities such as power, water, sewer, gas, phone, and cable, and paint different colored lines marking those locations so that the fiber installers don't accidentally damage the existing utilities.
  2. Bury fiber from curb to house: a fiber installer puts in that last piece of fiber from the drop point (by the street near your house) to your house, typically to the garage. In the other direction, the fiber at the curb runs to a nearby junction box, where the installer connects it to an available port. At this point a signal is available at the fiber end by the house.
  3. Install equipment outside and inside the house: an equipment installer installs the equipment on the outside of your house and inside your house, and connects everything up. If you have existing POTS service and are switching to FiOS phone service, the phone lines that lead into the house are disconnected from the old copper lines and connected to the output of the ONT. The installer calls the plant and works with them to bring up the services you have ordered.

How much will it cost?

Perhaps because I am a long-time customer, Frontier did not charge me any kind of installation fee, which was nice. I don't know if that is standard. One person told me the regular installation fee is $80.

For the monthly fees, it may cost significantly more than you expect.

Frontier advertises their 100/100 internet service as $60 per month. They have not yet managed to send me a clean monthly bill since my upgrade, but based on my estimate of what that monthly amount is going to be, I believe the effective cost of my 100/100 service is actually over $100 per month. Here's how that breaks down:
  • The $60 rate is only if you sign a two year contract and only for the first six months. This is stated in the fine print on their web page, along with "Equip. and other fees apply." I did not sign a contract, so my monthly fee is $85.
  • After Frontier told me I was required to change my phone service to a new plan, and then was unable to deliver, my old grandfathered-in rate of $18.90 disappeared and was replaced by the $30.99 rate for Digital Phone Unlimited, despite the fact that I don't actually have that service. So I am currently paying an additional $12.09 per month for exactly the same phone service that I had before ordering FiOS internet service.
  • Taxes look like they will be about an additional $6 per month.
One other annoyance relating to cost: Frontier offered me a $100 gift card for signing up with them for FiOS internet. When I went to activate the gift card on their web site, I was presented with a terms and conditions screen requiring me to agree to a new 1 year term agreement. I had chosen not to sign a contract and to pay $85/month rather than $60/month, so it felt kind of like they were trying to pull a fast one on me by hoping I would activate the gift card without reading the fine print.

Frontier's Problems

  • Frontier's web site does not provide very good information about what service options are available.
  • If you call their Customer Service outside of their working hours, you get a message telling you they are closed, but that message does not tell you when they are open, and it's not an easy thing to find on their web site.
  • Different people at Frontier will give you different answers to the same questions. For example, I asked whether I would need to upgrade my copper-wire phone service to fiber; some said yes, some said no. Or sometimes first one answer then the other. One person suggested I put my phone service on a separate account from my internet service; another told me I could not do that.
  • Frontier's phone bills provide tons of details about taxes, but almost no details about regular charges. For example, I have two phone lines, and for most of the last few years they were billed as one line item labeled "Residence Line", with no indication that there were two lines.
  • Frontier's computers significantly constrain what their people can see and do. Or maybe their programs are just really hard to use. The customer service reps can't see the details of service calls, and the service techs can't see the account details. It is apparently not obvious when a customer has multiple accounts being billed together. And nobody could see anything about my DSL line.


Date Event
2017-03-02 Th Online chat #1 with Frontier (43 minutes)
2017-03-06 Mo Online chat #2 with Frontier (23 minutes)
2017-03-15 We Online chat #3 with Frontier (55 minutes)
2017-03-18 Sa Online chat #4 with Frontier (20 minutes, then cut off)
2017-03-20 Mo Online chat #5 with Frontier (estimated 20 minutes)
2017-03-21 Tu Online chat #6 with Frontier (1 hour and 38 minutes)
2017-04-09 Su Phone call with Frontier to order FiOS, service scheduled for Apr 11 (1 hour and 17 minutes)
2017-04-11 Tu Installer came out, couldn't do anything because they have not yet buried the fiber from the curb to the house
2017-04-11 Tu Called Frontier to reschedule installation, was told the current installer has not yet entered his notes, please call back in 24 hours (12 minutes)
2017-04-13 Th DSL service died at about 12:30pm
2017-04-13 Th Utility locators started painting colored lines where existing services are buried
2017-04-13 Th Called Frontier to try to get DSL line fixed (24 minutes)
2017-04-14 Fr Fiber installers installed the curb-to-house fiber (before all the locators had painted their lines)
2017-04-14 Fr Another locator came out to paint lines; when I pointed out that the fiber had already been installed, he stopped painting, took his final photos, and left
2017-04-14 Fr Called ISP to try to get DSL line fixed (12 minutes)
2017-04-14 Fr Called Frontier (multiple times) to check on status of FiOS order (the fiber was installed this morning, but they said the order had not yet been updated to show that) (8 minutes + 13 minutes + 12 minutes + 25 minutes)
2017-04-15 Sa Called Frontier to check on the status of my FiOS order (8 minutes)
2017-04-18 Tu Installer came out and completed the physical installation of the equipment, got the FiOS internet service working. He was unable to get the phones working over fiber, so switched everything back to copper and left, with everything working (3 hours and 10 minutes)
2017-04-18 Tu Called Frontier, canceled the remaining order to move the second line over to fiber (scheduled for tomorrow) (7 minutes)
2017-04-25 Tu Our main line stopped working, was unable to be reached from outside our exchange
2017-04-25 Tu Called Frontier to report our main phone line not working (44 minutes)
2017-04-26 We Called Frontier to continue discussions about non-working phone (1 hour and 35 minutes)
2017-04-30 Su Received a call from Frontier at about 8:15am this morning on the main line, he said it was now fixed (1 minute)
2017-05-01 Mo Phone seems to have been working today, we received at least one incoming phone call
2017-05-02 Tu Called Frontier in the morning because my main phone was not working again (39 minutes, then was cut off)
2017-05-02 Tu My wife called Frontier mid-day about the non-working phone (15 minutes)
2017-05-02 Tu Called Frontier in the evening to continue the call from this morning (14 minutes)
2017-05-04 Th Frontier called, the line is working again
2017-05-08 Mo Called Frontier to have them correct errors on my April bill (the first received since I started FiOS service) (12 minutes)
2017-06-07 We Received second bill since switching to FiOS - still wrong
2017-06-14 We Called Frontier to deal with problems on my May bill (48 minutes)

Total time (as of June 14): 20.3 hours
  • Web research: 5 hours
  • Chat: 4.3 hours
  • Place order: 1.3 hours
  • Installer: 3.2 hours
  • Followup phone calls (through June 14): 6.5 hours

Selected Quotes

I took notes on all my phone calls with Frontier, including writing down certain things verbatim. For your entertainment, I present here some of those quotes, in no particular order. I will let you imagine the context.
  • That is very confusing.
  • Why can't I see that one?
  • I don't know why they didn't just leave it alone.
  • The program is wrong.
  • How are you an R-U out of Washington?
  • ... and that's what I'm not seeing.
  • We don't do these very often.
  • Within our system we have nine different portals where we have to test things.
  • This is very new to me, I have never dealt with two lines like this.
  • Sorry this is taking so long, we'll get it figured out for you.
  • It's not giving me anything.

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