Technology Tips – Published April 2017 in the Guide and Digest
By Don Trauger – Kennett
The Switch to Verizon FIOS
By now most of you have heard of the switch Hershey’s Mill is making to Verizon FIOS for TV, Internet and telephone. Comcast, for some reason did not offer a competitive plan against Verizon. Comcast’s contract will end in May of 2018.
FIOS stands for “Fiber Optic Service”. Compared to Comcast it’s a totally different system that is utilized to bring TV, Internet, and Telephone to your home. Fiber optic cable, consisting of multiple strands of hair-like glass fiber, is used to distribute the necessary signals. The signals are generated by a laser. At your home these laser signals are converted by a box attached to either the inside or outside of your home to connect to your TVs, routers, and telephones.
Fiber offers a faster and more reliable infrastructure than cable. It doesn’t suffer from oxidation as does our present underground copper telephone and to some extent TV cables. Ch. 20 uses a fiber cable to transmit our signal to Comcast’s head end. This system has been operative for 17 years with no problems.
Here’s what to expect. It will take a Verizon installer up to 6 hours per home to install and test the FIOS system. For TVs they will use the same TV cable wall jacks you have now to connect their set top boxes to your existing TV equipment. It’s basically the same as Comcast’s set up. For Internet you can do one of 2 things. If you own your router you can keep it. Verizon will connect to it. You can also choose to use Verizon’s router which is part of the FIOS package. For telephones I don’t foresee any change that will be necessary. Verizon will handle all of the connections. During the installation Comcast equipment will be turned off and disconnected. All rented Comcast equipment must be returned to Comcast at some point.
Of course this FIOS installation is over a year away and there will be some changes along the way. The best way to know what is going on is to visit our website www.hersheysmill.org and scroll down to “Telecommunications Update”. Click it to find the latest information on the roll out, package upgrades and the channel listings. If you are a sports enthusiast you might want to compare the Preferred HD plan, which is part of the HM package, to the Extreme HD plan. The Extreme HD plan offers MLB, NHL, Tennis and Golf channels plus other sports channels.
Overall, I believe that FIOS will benefit Hershey’s Mill other than just offering a lower priced TV, Internet and phone package.
Please come to the PC Club meetings. There will be time for your general questions. We meet on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 7 PM in the Ardmore room upstairs in the Community Center.