Comparing Verizon FIOS and Comcast Cable

This article compares Verizon FiOS and Comcast (and, by default, most other cable providers). Until recently, telephone companies and cable TV companies were in separate, non-competitive businesses. Within the last decade however, companies in both business categories have started marketing high speed internet connections, television channels, and telephone services.

Though Verison FiOS is a fiber-optic system, so also are most cable systems. The primary difference is how each system connects to customers’ homes. ‘Total’ fiber-optic systems, such as Verizon FiOS, connect to homes directly. In contrast, ‘cable’ fiber-optic systems, such as Comcast, connect only to neighborhood distribution hubs, from which coaxial cables then connect to homes.

Although this article focuses on Verizon FiOS and Comcast televisioninternet services, both also sell various TV-programming and phone-service packages. This article presents no pricing details because they can change quickly, and vary among regions.

Comparing Verizon FiOS and Comcast TV Packages

Verizon FiOS and Comcast both sell TV-programming packages that range from only a few channels to hundreds of channels. The premium packages include extra features such as recording capabilities, and pay-per-view channels. For both companies, packages with the most channels and extra features are the most expensive. For more information, see:

  • Verizon FiOS TV
  • Comcast Digital Cable with On Demand

Comparing Verizon FiOS and Comcast Internet Speeds

Internet speeds are measured in Mbps (megabits per second). Verizon FiOS and Comcast both sell multiple internet speeds. Regardless which company you choose, you pay more for each higher speed.

As shown in FiOS Internet, Verizon FiOS advertises internet speeds in three tiers:

  • “Fast” downloads at (as fast as) 15 Mbps and uploads at 5 Mbps.
  • “Faster” downloads at 25 Mbps and uploads at 15 Mbps.
  • “Fastest” downloads at 50 Mbps and uploads at 20 Mbps.

As shown in High-Speed Internet, Comcast advertises internet speeds in seven tiers:

  • “Performance” downloads at (as fast as) 12 Mbps and uploads at 2 Mbps.
  • “Performance” with “PowerBoost” downloads at 15 Mbps and uploads at 3 Mbps.
  • “Blast” downloads at 16 Mbps and uploads at 2 Mbps.
  • “Blast” with “PowerBoost” downloads at 20 Mbps and uploads at 4 Mbps.
  • “Ultra” downloads at 22 Mbps and uploads at 5 Mbps.
  • “Ultra” with “PowerBoost” downloads at 30 Mbps and uploads at 7 Mbps.
  • “Extreme 50″ downloads at 50 Mbps and uploads at 10 Mbps.

Verizon FiOS and Comcast both sell VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone services as supplements to their internet services. VOIP phones operate over the internet rather than through copper wires in the POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service). When you switch from POTS to VOIP, you can keep your existing pulse-tone phones.

Note: You need not subscribe to the VOIP service offered by Verizon FiOS or Comcast (or any cable provider). your internet provider. You can choose any independent VOIP service, such as Vonage or ITP. For more information, see: VoipReview.org.

Testing Your Local Internet Speeds

An internet speed checker lets you test the download and upload speed at any internet connection. Speakeasy is a good, no cost, speed checker. Many others are available on the web.

Before choosing between Verizon FiOS and Comcast in your area, you can test their internet speeds. For example, if one neighbor has Verison FiOS and another has Comcast, you can ask both to run a speed checker, and then give you the results. If possible, make sure both neighbors have selected similar internet speeds from their two separate providers.

Customer Opinions

Here are two links showing that Verizon FiOS seems to be gaining support through consumer satisfaction:

  • HighDef Forum
  • Consumer Reports’ Survey

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