Verizon’s FiOS Home Internet Is Now a Deceptive Fixed Wireless Bait and Switch.
In the middle of watching Pawn Stars on YouTube, where the show was dedicated to top fakes that were brought into the infamous establishment for appraisal and a possible sale — it is interrupted by a new Verizon advertisement for a wireless broadband service (known as “FWA”, “Fixed Wireless”) that is a “bait and switch” being sold as “FiOS Home Internet”. Keep in mind that Verizon’s FiOS service has been a Fiber to the Home (FTTH) service for the delivery of voice, video and data services, and especially cable TV, since 2004.
And over the next week, a series of Verizon commercials were shown, mainly because the algorithm is tempting me, thinking I might want to buy this service, and that I want to see ads by Verizon for this new “broadband” service.
The advertisement on YouTube for Verizon FiOS Home Internet shows that this service now starts at $25 a month. The ad also claims there are no hidden fees, no data caps, and this service is based on the 100% fiber optic network.
None of this is remotely accurate or true. You can’t get the service for $25, ever, and it requires a massive hidden fee as it requires a customer to have purchased a separate 5G mobile wireless service (one line is now $70–90 a month), and these 5G services also have hidden taxes, fees and surcharges on top, adding an average 12%-47%. And this is not a 100% fiber optic service, as it is wireless and no fiber optic wire is connected to the home.
In fact, this is all just a deceptive play by Verizon to offer their fixed wireless service, with the obvious objective of fooling the public into thinking that this service is a reliable landline fiber optic service, or a substitute. And, to repeat, the FiOS brand has been based on a fiber optic wire that goes to the home or office, since 2004.
This is just a long standing plan by Verizon to pull off yet another “bait and switch”. Verizon has claimed that a wireless service can be a substitute for a fiber optic service and has made this claim for decades. This new wrinkle is that Verizon has been is using the state telecommunications public utility construction budgets to fund their mobile and fixed wireless networks. In this new version, Verizon is using ‘fixed’ wireless, where a cell antenna is attached to the house vs a mobile service, and the signal travels through the air to reach a near by cell site.
However, wireless service requires a fiber optic wire to the cell sites, and Verizon, it appears, has charged the wireline customers, in region, for these networks. Meanwhile the homes that should have been upgraded to a new fiber optic network were mostly never done. In fact, this failure to upgrade the utilities helped to create the Digital Divide, because the companies never replaced the copper, thus leaving large ‘unserved’ and ‘underserved’ locations in their franchised utility coverage areas.
So, in many Verizon states, there is this substitution of a wired service which should have been upraded to fiber, with an inferior wireless service, with labels like 5G, or 4G, LTE, or wideband, or some combination, and this is occurring in states that were never properly upgraded. And since no one remembers or knows that there were obligations over the last three decades for doing fiber optic upgrades, the companies can pull off this con yet again.
NOTE: We divided the rest of this story into 3 parts:
- Part 1: This focuses on just how deceptive Verizon’s FiOS Home Internet really is.
- Part 2: Why are America’s Wireless Prices Out of Control vs Overseas: — The new Rewheel Research for 1st quarter 2023 shows that the costs for a 5G service in the European Union countries is 19 Euro and the cost per GB is .03 Euro.
- (NOTE: As of this writing, 5/18/23, the dollar was $1.08 for 1 Euro. This means that the pricing is about $17.50 in US dollars and comes with over 630 Gigs.
- Verizon’s 5G Start and 5G Play more cost $70 and $80, (and this is without including the made up hidden fees and taxes) and the average cost per Gig is $18.20, and $2.08 per GB, respectively.
- Part 3 will detail the wireless bait and switch that has been underway for 2 decades, causing the Digital Divide, and we address why the government needs to investigate the massive financial cross-subsidy scheme underway.
The $25 Price Is a Put-On Job.
No one can call Verizon to subscribe to this $25 a month FiOS Home Internet service and actually get this service at that price because Verizon requires the customer to also buy an additional, (hidden fee), 5G mobile wireless service to qualify for this price.
When I go read more details about the price and Verizon’s claims of no hidden fees, a collection of swear words comes to mind, combined in many configurations.
There Are Major Hidden Fees
There are major hidden fees, even though the advertisement claims there are no hidden fees. The details show that a customer is required to have an additional 5G wireless service, or pay the price of $49.99 and that requires auto-pay; without it, the price goes up another $10.00.
I check the ‘fine print’ in the ad (as it keeps repeating) and it is unreadable, and in a color to make it harder to read. See for yourself.
This is in miniscule text in a color that blends and it flashes by, so even if the font was larger, it would still be unreadable.
Then, in tracking down another fine print, it confirms — This $25 price requires a customer to have a bundled services package — 5G Do More, or 5G Play More or Get More or Unlimited. On top of that, it cost an additional $10.00 if the customer doesn’t use autopay. This is the magnified version.
Thus, the advertising isn’t simply deceptive about the bottom-line costs, the hidden costs are absurd as it requires a second wireless service to be purchased.
And in tracking down some of the plans, Verizon’s 5G Start is $70 with 5 GB, and the $80 plan 5G More has 50 GB.
Thus, and adding injury to insult — If a person wants to get the $25 price, they have to pay over $80 a month for the 5G-really 4G, service, and that doesn’t include the hidden made up fees, surcharges and taxes that are applied to the mobile 5G services.
While the advertisement says no hidden fees, or taxes and no rate hikes, since you have to have another service, which does have hidden fees, and it does get rate hikes, then these advertisements are filthy with miss-information.
Verizon site claims this: Taxes, Surcharges and Fees
“We use your service address for each wireless service line to determine how we bill taxes, other governmental charges, and Verizon surcharges (which are Verizon’s charges, not taxes). As of April 10, 2023, for service other than 5G Home and LTE Home (which are not subject to these charges), these charges can add between 12% and 47% to your standard monthly access and other charges, and may include a Federal Universal Service Charge (29.0% of the interstate and international telecom charges; varies quarterly based on FCC rate), Regulatory Charge (9 cents per voice line, 2 cents per data-only line) and Administrative and Telco Recovery Charge ($3.30 per voice line, $1.40 per data-only line). Taxes, other governmental charges, and Verizon surcharges are subject to change. For more details on these charges, call 1–888–684–1888”.
What this says is — While the FWA Home Internet does not have taxes applied, the 5G mobile wireless service that is required for the $25 fee, does have hidden fees, surcharges and taxes, that can add 12%-47% more — and these are made up fees like ‘Telco Recovery Charge’, or the whopping 29% added for the Universal Service Fund, (which has gone up dramatically over the last 2 decades.)
At an average of 30% added in taxes and made up Verizon fees, the customer would have to have pay over $100 a month before they could get the $25 price.
And since the customer’s Verizon tab includes these 5G additions, which also have hidden fees, the combination leaves us with one conclusion — Verizon’s lawyers are attempting to use language that is just deceptive.
But then we have the actual network in use and the speed of the 5G wireless services.
Going to the Verizon website we find that these 5G services, are not only expensive and claim that they are ‘unlimited’, and yet they are not, we find that there are multiple versions of the service and they will slow down to a speed of 600Kbps. So much for 5G lightning speeds. This is for the mobile service, though there is overlap with the FWA home internet.
“During times of congestion, 5G Nationwide / 4G LTE hotspot data may be temporarily slower than other traffic after 25 GB/mo of 5G Nationwide / 4G LTE smartphone data. After exceeding 25 GB/mo of 5G Ultra Wideband, 5G Nationwide, or 4G LTE data, you can still use hotspot at lower speeds of 3 Mbps when on 5G Ultra Wideband and 600 Kbps when on 5G Nationwide / 4G LTE for the rest of the month. 5G access requires a 5G-capable device.”
While the ads also claim that the $25 service has no data caps, the wireless mobile service has severe limitations; with one package, after 25GB, the ‘hot spot’ speed can be 3Mbps, or worse 600Kbps — that is less than 1 Mbps and can not do serious streaming,
Returning to the FWA Home Internet Service
Not Really 5G, Not Really ‘Symmetrical’ Broadband and Not Really Available.
This is some more of that fine print, blown up to be readable, talking about the FiOS Home Internet service and caveats.
“Powered by 5G Ultra Wideband. Available in select areas. Speeds and plans vary depending on address/location, equipment, and network connection. All plans include 5G Nationwide/4G LTE backup with download speeds up to 70 Mbps. Unlimited data with no data usage caps. Depending on location, some customers may receive LTE Home with download speeds of 25–50 Mbps and upload speeds of 4–5 Mbps.”
What this seems to say:
Verizon is still using 4G, and different versions of 5G: Verizon’s networks have speeds that are all over the map, and that’s because they are still using LTE and 4G. Moreover, the speeds are ‘up to’, while LTE Home is offering slow speeds, especially upload speeds.
The FWA deployments are not offered as a ubiquitous coverage service covering a city, but is rather scattershot, and thus the quality of the service can be OK to it doesn’t work as advertised.
Problems with speed. It needs direct line of sight. Reports from around America have been documenting issues with the wireless services and thus the FWA.
- The service can slow down in peak hours or in high use areas,
- For 5G to work properly, it needs to have the home antenna properly in place so that there is as best as possible a ‘direct line of sight’ to the cell tower.
These speeds are not 2Gig; these speeds are asymmetrical — fast download, slow upload. Verizon is offering 1 and 2 Gig speed fiber optic based services that are symmetrical — fast in both directions. These 5G services are much slower and are mostly only fast for downloads.
This is Not a Reliable Broadband Service.
Just checking the comments about Verizon’s 5G mobile service in the Verizon forums clearly shows that there are problems throughout the US with their service, and considering that FWA requires a 5G wireless package, this list of issues, scattered throughout the US, is pertinent. Moreover, this is a very small sample of frustrated customers.
Now multiply each of these by thousands as most people do not go to tell their story unless they think it will help.
Using the FiOS name for wireless is another direct deceptive act. Verizon does not want the public to know that this is a wireless service, because it wants to claim that it can be a substitute for a fiber optic line.
It is Not 100% Fiber; It is a Fake FiOS Network. Verizon claims this is a using a “100% fiber optic network”. A wireless service, by definition, does not have a wire attached to the home from the network. And a cell site can be blocks away. And the differences can include the host of issues we just mentioned. But, simply put — — there is no wire from the house to the wired fiber optic network — and 100% fiber optic would mean a continuous wire, not a gap for blocks.
And all of this shows a gap in Verizon’s credibility.
Part 2: America’s prices for wireless services are outrageous when compared to countries overseas, such as the members of the European Union. We will examine the prices, based on the Verizon offerings, but also detail just how the companies have been able to dramatically inflate America’s communications costs.
And all of this is against the backdrop of America giving billions to the companies for broadband and subsidizing low income families, when the solution is to deal with how America’s prices have been inflated and going after the core issues, which include the wireless cross-subsidies.
PART 3: Verizon’s Focus Is Not On Fiber to the Home, but Fake Wireless Again.
The question for America is — We literally paid multiple times for fiber optic upgrades of the state telecommunications public utilities — and the construction budgets have been shifted to wireless instead of fiber to the home.
FWA is a bait and switch, and it is being done because the companies have figured out a scheme, a shell game that is funding wireless — and paid for the wireline customers. And without having to actually extend the fiber optic wires, they can save money and offer an inferior product, claiming it is a substitute.
On top of all of this, Verizon and AT&T are getting government subsidies.
So the question is — Isn’t time to solve the Digital Divide by addressing the hard issues, and going after these cross-subsidies, to get the funds to upgrade the states and the municipalities for a fiber optic future?