Three months ago I wrote about my worries regarding the sale of Verizon’s FIOS customers in the Portland area to Frontier Communications. Yesterday’s news brought a great example of what some smaller companies will do to get an opportunity to grow.
A large part of my concern about Frontier is whether they’re ready and capable of running a data network at the level FIOS customers have come to expect. While the current FCC bureaucrats thankfully seem to be heading towards enforcing network neutrality, that only covers active disruptions of service by the provider in order to create more billable events to the customer. It doesn’t do anything to insure that a provider is capable of providing reasonable latencies and bandwidths. If the Frontier sale goes through I will still have a 15Mbps dedicated data line, but it’s anybody’s guess what will happen as data goes through Frontier’s network. The Frontier network and its connections to the internet will matter more than the fibre coming into my house.
Given that Verizon had a stake in the Fairport sale going through, I have to attribute some blame to them, not just Fairport, for faking the Fairport network readiness testing done before outside auditors. Which then makes me quite skeptical of Verizon and Frontier assertions in the news media that Frontier is ready and capable and that service will not be degraded as a result of the pending sale.
Unfortunately, not many people are aware of these things or understand how they “get on the internet” and how it can go wrong. The Verizon FIOS service is really quite fantastic currently. There is a lot of room here for future disappointment. Comcast certainly sees the opportunity, is advertising heavily and working hard (seemingly with success) to lure people to what is ultimately a worse product offering.