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Whoa: Verizon to bring FiOS to Boston

Mayor Walsh today announced a deal in which Verizon will spend $300 million to bring its FiOS fiber-optic cable/Internet service to Boston.

Under the deal, the company will also attach wireless modems to city street lights and utility poles to provide better 4G and eventually 5G services to its wireless customers.

Verizon had been locked in a death battle with former Mayor Menino and, aside from one small section of Dorchester, famously refused to have anything to do with wired broadband faster than DSL speeds in Boston.

The build out, planned to take six years, could end Comcast's effective monopoly in the parts of the city it currently serves alone - and could put added pressure on RCN, which provides broadband and cable TV in roughly a third of the city.

According to the mayor's office:

Initially, the project will begin in Dorchester, West Roxbury and the Dudley Square neighborhood of Roxbury in 2016, followed by Hyde Park, Mattapan, and other areas of Roxbury and Jamaica Plain. The city has also agreed to provide an expedited permitting process to encourage this build.

But Verizon says it will speed delivery to areas where residents and business owners vote the most for their neighborhoods.

In addition to licensing the use of city poles and rights of way, Boston also has to sign a formal license with Verizon to allow its cable TV signals to beam across its cables.

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Comments

I'm told that when they install FIOS they yank out your other wiring which means you can't switch carriers if FIOS sucks. Anybody know if this is true?

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Only your landline. Everything else remains the same.

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Competition is certainly better than no competition but after waiting SOOOO long and serious talk about a community fiber network, it's somewhat disappointing to see Boston partner with Verizon. Are they as bad as Comcast, definitely not...but they're far from great. Ask anyone in NYC (which was "guaranteed" to have 100% FiOS coverage by 2014, per their city's deal with Verizon how that's working out.

If the citywide network build-out only costs $300m, I'm shocked the city didn't want to go the community internet route. The only thing that Verizon gives you is the ability to have TV service, but something tells me that by 2030 (about 8 years after this build-out is expected to be complete) we'll all be watching TV over the internet (a la Netflix) anyway...

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That is not true. Verizon FiOS intalls a box that then sends the fiber optic signal through your existing wiring.

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They'll often remove old telephone wires, but not old cable-tv cable, or such...

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copper, but leave it in place. In older houses with terminal blocks, they will also disconnect the internal wiring from the terminal blocks and connect it directly to the leads from the FIOS box with wire nuts.

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I know that they will yank out your copper phone line, and won't let you switch back to copper (DSL) from fiber, but I'm pretty sure that doing any harm to Comcast or RCN lines would be a crime.

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True. Once a building has FIOS they will never allow copper to return. Deregulation allows them to do that.

Once Boston has FIOS and all those pole antennas watch for verizon to pull out of the copper market here. They have already sold off NH, ME, and VT in this region and more-recently sold off California as their plan to go all FIOS and wireless continues.

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FIOS requires a special translator box that converts the fiber optic signal to what we know as Ethernet, like what is available on cable internet systems. This means that wheer the fiber line comes in to the house you will need space for that converter box. The box has to be plugged in and have power 24/7. That box then supplies a cable line to your TV(s) and to a router for Internet, usually wireless.

The converter box has a back-up battery so if the power goes out you will still have power to your system but that lasts only for as long as the drain you place on it. They claim up to 5-6 hours but that assumes you won't try to use the internet or TV and only have it on stand by for telephone needs.

Verizon's policy is to remove copper wire when the fiber line is put in unless you put up a super stink.

Your best bet is to convert your copper wire line sot a low-cost service such as local dialing only and then contract FIOS under another name. that way you always have the copper as a back-up.

The copper wire system is powered at Verizon on low-voltage DC and even if FIOS goes out the copper wire would offer back up for incoming calls and emergency calls were the FIOS battery to go dead after an extended power outage.

Of course if a power outage were extensive and wide nothing would work anyway.

If you have a cell phone and a back-up battery pack you can do just as well I guess.

So if you have a copper wire service now that works, start researching on the net to see how other people managed to keep it run into the house when FIOS was also brought in. You may want it.

By the way the back-up batteries are wet cells much like what you have in an automobile and they will wear out after a few years and have to be replaced. There are longer-lasting types out there but like any monopoly, Verizon will not support them.

The whole issue with menino was to get Verizon to give public access to communities much like Comcast and RCN does. But also Verizon wanted to be exempt from other things that cable systems have been held to at both the city and state level.

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VZ has actually been changing their policies lately.

First off, they no longer are supplying battery backups, the FCC changed the rules so they're not required to anymore. you now have the option of buying an "emergency power pack" or something that is basically a box with 12 D-Batteries and an On/Off switch. when the power goes out you can turn the switch on and get 8 hours of extra phone time.

Also VZ has been desperately trying to retire the copper network. in many places that are already wired for fios leaked VZ documents indicate that in the event of a line problem a mandatory fios switch is going to be forced. If it's declined the line will be left as-is and your non-fios choices are basically to deal with it (if its a line quality issue) or cancel.

I know that everyone is worried about power outages, but personally I have my ONT on a decently sized UPS (Back ups 1500 with the external battery). By my math, and given how little power the ONT draws I probably have almost a full day of run-time. Fios also doesn't depend on neighborhood nodes, just the central offices, so if a user currently has Comcast or RCN and they do put their ONT on a battery they may see substantially more up-time in a storm or power outage than their neighbors.

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Any indication on timing for East Boston? Anyone know if Fios covers content that could cut into the dish market share?

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one of the later stages.

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Good get, Mr. Mayor. Time to make Comcast actually do something beyond dumping bigger and bigger bills on their customers. There's also a piece in the press release about Verizon installing monitoring equipment on Mass Ave as part of Vision Zero efforts and monitoring. Even better.

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A fios technician, while installing fios (in a location not in Boston) told me once that fios would never come to Boston as long as Menino was mayor. He claimed that it was because some relative of Menino was a bigwig at Comcast. I've heard other versions of "it's Menino's fault" too.

So now Marty is our mayor, and now we will have fios. Hmmm.

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wanted more concessions from Verizon.

When Verizon balked, the Mayor played hardball and closed the City to Verizon expansion.

As told to me from a relative who was involved in some of the discussions - on the Verizon side.

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Yeah, but we also have Godsmack day so...

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Just hoping Starry gets their act together and their technology works in the rain and snow.

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there's a new post on this site after 6 hours of nothing.

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Well, first I had to get to the licensing board. Then I had to take notes during the hearings. And then I went over to Quincy Market to write up some stuff over lunch, only there were no free tables, and I know myself well enough to know that trying to balance a laptop on my lap while consuming pizza carries a pretty high risk that I will end up with both the laptop and the pizza falling to the floor. So now here I am in Bates Hall at the Copley Square library, with a good solid table under my laptop and my fingers flying across the keyboard ...

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And wondering why a little bit of that BPL renovation money couldn't have been spent toward faster wifi?

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Can Cambridge get a chance to kick Comcast in the ass as well? I'd drop them in a Fiber Optic synapse.

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I highly recommend a listen to the newest episode of the podcast Reply All, which is about bringing FiOS to New York. Makes me think that this will not be an easy process.

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that we don't wind up in a scenario like NYC where FIOS is "available" across the city but is actually not, a story detailed in a Reply All podcast here.

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I am thrilled to see this agreement come to fruition!

At first glance; it looked like Roslindale would be completed in one of the later stages. I was disappointed, but figured when it happens...it happens.

Then looking at the map from the Verizon voting link; it appears that Roslindale has once again been included as part of West Roxbury. If I read the map correctly - Roslindale is scheduled ahead of West Roxbury and Hyde Park. Could it be?!?!

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Dedham has fios, so one would assume the would continue off of their existing structure through Westie then Rozie.

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Actually yes, a section of Rosi+WRox (although not including all of Rosi) is slated to be among the first sections built out.

It makes sense, as Verizon probably already owns, or is going to own, that big-a* trunk of (mostly) dark cable that runs underneath Washington St into the city center.

You can go to the Verizon site and plug in your address to see when/if your neighborhood is scheduled to be built out.

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The most densely populated neighborhoods and the LMA/Fenway(also densely populated) with all the universities are last?

It's like they don't want FIOS customers in hard to install areas and just want the access for their phone and WiFi network.

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But I'm going to bet that it's a lot faster and easier to string fiber optic along existing utility poles than to dig up the street. And it seems like large swaths of the neighborhoods they announced first still have utility poles.

Some of us also remember that parts of the Back Bay were the last to get any sort of cable TV, because the cable company (at the time, Cablevision) wanted to string its cables along the alleys and residents, of course, objected on the grounds that would detract from the history nature of the alleys.

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Some of us also remember that parts of the Back Bay were the last to get any sort of cable TV, because the cable company (at the time, Cablevision) wanted to string its cables along the alleys and residents, of course, objected on the grounds that would detract from the history nature of the alleys.

It's still run that way. So many places in the BB and SoEnd (offices and apartments) are all wired back to front. Meaning the service comes in the rear and and brought to the front. So if you lived in the front unit, you had to get access to the rear unit to get your apartment wired up for cable.

Most of Newbury Street is like that.. at least for the businesses. I had a side business going for a while doing 'on the call support' and I helped set up many networks that way. All phones and cable TV connections always come thru the alley way out back.

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UniversalHub participants could contribute data to Chart a Table of services' Rates from customer call centers. It's like calling for airline fares!

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Something is being rolled out to Boston and Savin Hill is among the first areas to get it? I'm amazed.

While I wish the city would look into municipal broadband solutions, having a non-zero level of competition in our broadband market can only help.

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Savin Hill is among the first areas to get it?

And who lives in Savin Hill that also works at City Hall....... HMMM?

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...at least not anymore...

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I am both thrilled and frightened by the implications of this surprise news!

In my particular block of West Roxbury, all cables except for Verizon phone/DSL lines are under the ground. Even the phone lines are underground until they pop out of the ground every couple houses. It makes for a lovely view out the windows but the problem is that Comcast (or its predecessors) never pulled cable into the area.

To trench 241 feet of Comcast cable from the nearest Comcast-serviced pole has been quoted at nearly $60,000. Yep, not a typo. Sixty *grand*.

Is Verizon really going to dig cable into all the roads where needed, or are they also going to skip the neighborhoods with such "no visible wire" codes?

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In many parts of the city, the fiber optic cabling already exists.

And even if it isn't for FiOS.. much of Verizon's network (wireless or wireline) is already connected with fiber optics. So the wiring is probably there.

Its rare these days for end to end copper (i.e. Copper from your home to the central office). They usually bring fiber to some box in your neighborhood and run copper from there.

So the wiring is there.

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Menino aside... The community center in Rossie Sq has a fiber line feeding its house internet. It's been there since the building was renovated in 2008.

They have great inside service and that is one of the buildings that feeds the city's "WickedFree WiFi" to the square. The library is the other location.

So there are fiber lines out there.

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Longtime (10yr?) FIOS user here. I signed up as soon as they ran the cables the pole in Medford. Here are my experiences: For many years the services was great. I got the speeds advertised, the pricing was high but not unreasonable, and they generally left me alone.

About two years ago that all changed. I should have 50/50 Mbps service. I'm luckily if I get 10 and often only get 3-4Mbps. No, it's not my router, etc. (Networking is part of my job.) They've raised the prices several times so now it's close to $90/month. (I don't have TV or phone -- internet only.) Verizon flat-out said they don't give a shit about my account. Cancel if I want. There no way in hell I'll get a lower price, they say, but for even more money I can also have Cable. (I don't have a TV.)

Pretty soon we'll transfer the service to my partner's name to get a slightly better "introductory" rate which I'm sure will climb through the roof in short order.

In short, VERIZON SUCKS. They know they have us by the balls. The only alternative is Comcast which is happy to screw you over in their own right.

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Does Verizon have any competition in your area? I'm not counting on FiOS being much faster than my current comcast connection, but I'm hoping the competition will drive prices down a little bit and I won't have to call every 3 or 4 months to get them to *lower* my bill to $150/month.

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Verizon or Comcast. Pick one.

Much like airlines they work together indirectly. When one raises their rates the other follows suit. They know most people aren't going to jump ship just to save $5/month (and have contracts ensuring such) so it's in both of their own interests to RAISE prices.

Without ease of switching and many providers there is no real competition. The regulators should do the following:

  • Make "Bundling" illegal. Have each service stand on it's own.
  • Prohibit the addition of fees beyond the advertised price.
  • Prohibit contracts, sign-up fees, and anything else which makes it hard to switch.
  • Regularly test connection speeds and mandate refunds when they are not met.

But Comcast and Verizon are the two biggest spenders on lobbying in the US. Nothing will ever change.

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you're not missing much by not having fios tv. my mom has it out in the 'burbs and it is awful. the on demand features are crappy, and the navigation is terrible. it takes about a minute to get the channel guide to load, changing pages in it takes forever, the dvr is not intuitive and they are constantly dropping channels or reshuffling the channel numbers.

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I agree., same scenario here. Mom had FIOS, I had Comcast. Her TV sucked. Comcast is much better.

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but refuses to budge on the concessions it wants its 39,000 workers in this region to take in its next contract. Perhaps they should focus on settling a good contract with these workers before it makes major announcements like this that may be unfeasible if these same workers are on strike (sounds likely this will happen as of tomorrow morning).

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But am I the only one thinking "Okay, what's in it for Mahty [or one of his associates]?"

I'm just waiting to hear how the lead contractor for installation turns out to be one of Walsh's campaign aides and early staffers or something.

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There's some greasy palms involved in this. There's absolutely no way VZW would backflip on this without something in it for them.

Just look at NYC and how well a 'forced' roll out is going.. (it's not..)

We will soon find out who's palms got greased to let this happen.

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Under the deal, the company will also attach wireless modems to city street lights and utility poles to provide better 4G and eventually 5G services to its wireless customers.

More Cancer for everyone!!! YAY!

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Remember, Verizon is so hell bent on dumping the wireline business (including FiOS). This must be one of the 'tipping points' to get them to agree to install FiOS everywhere.

Now who wants to place bets that Verizon will take the city up it's light pole thing for Verizon Wireless Customers, and those "modems" (which is an incorrect term for those devices) will go up very quickly. Anything to make the VZW side better.

FiOS... I bet it will be a super slow roll out, if any at all, and/or Verizon will drag its heels as much as possible. Again, just look at NYC to see how well a city wide rollout is going (or not going..) Even with a possible lawsuit (because Verizon took tax breaks as incentive by city officials to get FiOS rolled out), it's still moving slower than shit.

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Yep, not modems, but what?

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I know it's not "Modem".

I would say "Micro Cell Site" or "Cell Site". Or in laments terms "radio transmitter".

I think what they would install would look like this...

IMAGE( http://www.rcrwireless.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/small-cell-light-pole.jpg )

IMAGE( http://www.opinionpole.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Light-Pole-on-I-805-in-San-Diego2.jpg )

IMAGE( http://img.weburbanist.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/light-poles-telegraph-poles-cellular-masts.jpg )

Or something similar. Many cellular providers already use them, you may not even notice them. All Verizon is doing is adding capacity to areas where larger cell sites are not possible.

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The more people from an area that signs into the "voting", the earlier you could get your neighborhood wired up. Allston/Brighton currently in the 4th phase (a few years away) - vote early and often!!

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Back in 2011, I moved into an apartment on Commonwealth Ave in Allston. The apartment wasn't listed on either Comcast's or Verizon's site as offering services, even though the other apartments in the building were. It turned out to be a Comcast building, and the internet was so slow as to be unusable (I couldn't load this site because it would time out before it loaded.)

I just went to the VOTE site to see if I could cast a vote for my old building, and lo and behold, five years later, all of the apartments except my old one are appearing on Verizon's list. Verizon says the apartment doesn't exist. So apartments B-26 and 28-30 exist, but not poor apartment 27.

Of course.

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Maybe they want your address for marketing purposes and "voting" doesn't really accomplish anything.

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is so 1970's....and yet the emergent paradigm

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First the parade now fiber optics.

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As someone who follows telecom stuff.. I'll file this under..

"I'll believe it when I see it"

Because I think it's all talk. NYC is a prime example.. Verizon got tax breaks to roll out FiOS city wide, and as of today, they still have even come close to finishing. And from the looks of it, they never will. And even with a pending lawsuit (because they took huge tax breaks to roll out FiOS but have done little to do so), they still have not sped up installs, so they just don't care. They have enough money to keep lawyers at bay for many years.

I won't hold my breath folks, especially if you live in "poor" areas like Roxbury, Dorchester, and East Boston. You may be waiting a very long time. But good news if you live in the South End, BackBay, or Beacon Hill, You'll get it soon.

This is exactly why Menino was hesitant against letting them do this, because Menino wanted it city-wide, while Verizon wanted to cherry pick neighborhoods. Watch, This is exactly what will happen.

And as I said above.. Since this also involves Verizon Wireless. How much do you wanna get those "modems" (bad term for that) will get quickly installed, and waiting FiOS customers will be waiting for a very long time to have service come to them. Remember, Verizon could give a crap about its wireline business (including FiOS) but loves expanding its wireless network. So wireless will happen first, wireline.. eh, not so much.

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Wait, hasn't Verizon dropped TV channels over payment disputes? I don't ever remember that happening with Comcast.

http://www.universalhub.com/2014/maybe-its-just-well-verizon-never-rolle...

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par-tay to say no to Boston High Speed Internet 2016. With School budgets being cut by billions and out of control police we must take our city back from...whoever we need to take our city back from.

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It's going to be great when they go on strike and the employees cut the lines to prove a point. Meaning good luck without cable internet and phone till the strike is over. That is what Boston will look foward to after they get there new contract and there fiber is in!!!!!!!!!
No thanks Verizon sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I am a Verizon DSL customer (can't bring myself to go to Comcast) and I lost internet last night for a half hour. Was wondering if it was a strike thing - not likely, but you never know.

Verizon's DSL has quality has deteriorated for me. Used to be able to stream audio for hours, now it is usually no more than 15 minutes before I get a pause.

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I hope this isn't our experience but it's worth listening if you're interested to hear about NYC's experience with Fios.

https://gimletmedia.com/episode/60-a-simple-question/

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Check out...
Earthlink
https://www.earthlink.net/access/cable.faces

NetBlazr
http://www.netblazr.com/

Any others?...

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I've asked netBlazr constantly on whether they cover West Roxbury. The answer has always been "not yet", and when pressed they give the reason that I think probably also applies to Starry Internet: there's not yet a clear landmark high enough to give line-of-sight to the neighborhood.

Our only hope is cable or fiber either under-the-ground or on utility posts. Sadly Earthlink doesn't handle my particular block in WRox, so that leaves Comcast, RCN, and now Verizon FiOS.

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It's important to contact a second agent, get a second response at each service when making these kinds of enquiries to confirm the first response. Or contact the supervisor to confirm the earlier response.

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I think Netblazr is also focusing on large buildings. Working on the economy of scale. Since I live in a four unit condo near MGH I don't think it will be coming to me any time soon. Seems like they should be able to find a tall building to put one of their devices on, but I think unless the building also has paying customers they aren't interested.

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Is supposed to come to Boston this summer. I guess I will believe it when I see it.
https://starry.com/internet

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Still bitter here from when they bought my dial up service (remember dial up, all you old codgers?) and ruined it.

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Earthlink cable internet
http://www.earthlink.net/access/cable.faces

Table 1: Cambridge Telecom Service Offerings Landscape, page 6 at
http://www.cambridgema.gov/~/media/Files/citymanagersoffice/files/broadb...

Provider .... Residential Internet .... Small Business Internet .... Residential Voice .... Small Business Voice .... Wireless Voice & Data .... Live Broadcast Video Service .... Enterprise Level Internet .... Dark Fiber

Comcast X X X X X
Verizon DSL X X X X
Verizon FiOS Limited Limited Limited Limited
netBlazr X X

DISH X
AT&T d/b/a DIRECTV X
MegaPath X X X
Verizon d/b/a XO Comm. X X X X

RCN Business X X
Wicked Bandwidth Limited X
Verizon Wireless X
AT&T X

Sprint X
T-Mobile X
Lightower X X
Last Mile Solutions X

Level 3 Communications X X
Sunesys X X
Zayo

Table 2: Internet Service Providers in Cambridge, page 7 at
http://www.cambridgema.gov/~/media/Files/citymanagersoffice/files/broadb...

Target Market .... Provider .... Business Model .... Technology .... Maximum advertised download speed .... Maximum advertised upload speed

Residential .... Comcast Cable Franchise DOCSIS 3.0 150 Mb/s 20 Mb/s
Residential & Small Business .... Verizon ILEC DSL 7 Mb/s 0.75 Mb/s
Residential & Small Business .... netBlazr Wireless ISP Fixed wireless 50 Mb/s 50 Mb/s
Small Business .... Comcast Business CLEC FTTP 150 Mb/s 20 Mb/s

Small Business .... RCN Business CLEC DOCSIS 3.0 110 Mb/s 15 Mb/s
Enterprise .... MegaPath CLEC DSL 20 Mb/s 2 Mb/s
Enterprise .... Wicked Bandwidth CLEC Ethernet 1 Gb/s 1 Gb/s
Enterprise .... XO Communications CLEC Ethernet 100 Mb/s 100 Mb/s

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... The Internet Access Company otherwise known as TIAC? :) Great company with great customer service.

I too am shocked EarthLink is still around. I kept them forever until I tried to switch to their DSL service which they insisted I was eligible for but could never get to work.

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Huffington Post posted an article a few weeks ago surmising real fios is not coming to Boston after all based on recent statements from verizon executives.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-kushnick/fiber-to-the-home-is-dead_b...

Francis Shammo, EVP, Verizon, stated at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference, September 22, 2016:

“But it’s going to be a fixed broadband wireless solution.
“And if you think about the cost benefit of that, today, if you think about FiOS and what it costs me to connect a prem to FiOS. I have to lay the fiber down the street, but then I also have to then connect the home, go into the home, make sure the wiring is right, put in install the boxes, install the routers.
“If you think about 5G, you put the fiber down the road, which is what we’re doing in Boston. Then all of the labor and the expense of drilling up your driveway connecting the OT to your house and all the labor involved with that, all that goes away, because now I can deliver a beam into your - into a window with a credit card size receptor on it that delivers it to a wireless router, and there’s really no labor involved and there’s no real hardware other than the router in the credit card. So the cost benefit of this is pretty substantial, at least, we believe it is.”

This is in contrast to the statement verizon made at a public meeting that they will roll out Fiber to the Premises for all of Boston in 5-6 years, which Adam relayed in his August posting.

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