What is FiOS?

FIOS is a fiber optic cable that delivers high quality voice, video and Internet connections.
The primary advantage of FIOS is its speed that operates at 30 megabits per second versus 1.5 megabits per second on DSL lines.
The speed of FIOS allows video conferences to occur in real time with minimal delays.
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  • Written By: David White
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2015
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FiOS, according to its creator Verizon, is a Gaelic word that means “knowledge” in English. It's a telecom service that is offered over fiber-optic lines.

Verizon is known primarily as a provider of mobile phone service. The company is now offering other kinds of phone service, including local and long distance, using traditional fiber-optic cables. Such cables can also carry Internet signals, and the company offers broadband access as well in some locations. With the mention of cables comes the thought of television, and Verizon offers services in that realm as well.

One of the main benefits of FiOS is its speed, which the company claims can reach 30 megabits a second. This is a huge improvement over current DSL lines, which deliver data at up to 1.5 megabits a second. The higher speeds can enable users to download full-length movies in just a few minutes.

Speed is a major incentive for users, since faster connections make possible not only text, but also audio and even video chats that take place in real time, with very small amounts of delay. Another selling point of a super-high-speed connection is the ability to play the latest in extremely detailed video games, especially multiplayer online versions, without experiencing hiccups in service speed.


Television is also part of the FiOS effort, and it takes advantage of wireless routers and Optical Network Terminals to provide fiber-optic network access for TV as well as Internet and phone service. TV offerings resemble those provided by satellite companies, with pricing comparable according to the channels provided.

Pricing is also a factor in the setup. The more advanced the computer operating system in each user’s home, the more possibilities that are available, with pricing comparable in that way as well. This technology works with both Windows® and Macintosh® operating systems.

FiOS is Verizon’s strategy to compete with other providers of similar products. The “triple play” of voice, video, and Internet is currently offered by AT&T and other regional carriers. Verizon hopes to cash in on its mobile phone reputation as it expands into new areas.

The first users of FiOS lived in or near Keller, Texas, and those who live in southern California were next to get access. This service continues to become available in more and more areas, as Verizon spreads its reach across the U.S.


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Discuss this Article

Post 18

@anon165706: 10 base T is 10 megabits a second, not gigabits. 10base T has been around since the 90's. It is the first widely accepted Ethernet that wasn't coaxial (I think my early network history is rusty.)

Post 17

I understand the speed and performance of FIOS. What I do not understand is the end performance after it terminates outside the house and is Coax to TV and CAT 5 to PC. What is the degradation of the performance from FIOS to hard wire?

Post 16

Verizon FiOS as a product might be good but Verizon as a service provider is nothing but problems. They pass the buck back to you and will never take any liability for issues. In addition their contracts are written in such a way so even if you think you can get out of it they have charges buried in the language that they keep hitting you with. Don't do it.

Post 15

Well all this talk seems to be out dated. I have verizon fios and my speeds are 120mbps down and 35mbps up. They did not have to dig up any ground to install fios (and that might be the city I live in). The phone service is crystal clear and the tv is outstanding. 2012 So we need to see some updated information.

Post 14

It’s great that Verizon is now able to provide TV services through FiOS but I think their new offering is still lacking. As a DISH customer and employee I realize how invaluable a dual tuner DVR is and Verizon is unable to offer this to their customers. On top of that, consumers can save up to $60 annually if they choose DISH Network with HD Free for Life instead of FiOS. In addition to their low prices, DISH is also known for their innovative technology with an award winning HD DuoDVR and more HD channels than any other provider. Now that’s what I call value!

Post 13

@anon54555: Sir, your math is wrong. 1000 mbps = 1 gigabit, fiber fios is upwards of 30 g/bits a sec not 1 g/b a sec, hell regular 10-base T UTP is 10 gigs/sec, cat 6 starts 100 gigs/sec. I get what you're saying, but you need to know 1000m/bits = 1 g/bit. Hope that helped clear up any confusion by the statement preceded by my comment.

Post 12

i live in an apartment complex and my phone line outlet is not working. in order for me to get fios in my apt. do i need a working line? frankly i do not know how it works.

Post 11

Decided to switch from high priced cable to Verizon Fios to go along with my satellite service. Our neighborhood's wiring is underground and today I have an individual surveying to dig a 10" trench through the yard to lay new line to the house. That was unexpected, but not unreasonable, since installation is free with the plan we have.

Post 10

The concept and truth of fiber optics is true. The problem is, Verizon does not know how to manage the technical support side. They toss you to a third party located in another country and you spend 24 hours trying to get them to understand the problem. Then they will tell you its your computer, OS, or maybe your sound card! It's anything but their side. Basically they love to pass the buck or not inform clients of firmware upgrades.

Bottom line: stick with what works.

Post 9

fios has tested and completed a 1000 mbps internet connection. it won't be available for a while but it is fact.

Post 8

What are the negative aspects of using fios vs high speed cable?

Post 7

What is the negative side to using fios by verizon? And there has to be some negative. How does it compare with line telephone service?

Post 6

Where can I find Verizon's Fiber Optical Cable map for my area?

Post 5

Qwest offers 40mg down and 20mg up in my area. That is plenty fast.

Post 4

Can you use Fios with Polycom videoconferencing equip?

Post 3

Also, Verizon DSL (AKA "High Speed Internet") offers downloads speeds up to 7.1 Mbps. Only Verizon has this DSL speed available.

Post 2

FiOS actually offers speeds at 50 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload. Coming in the summer of 2009, the download speeds at 75 Mbps.

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