Hurricane Tech – Advantage of Verizon FiOS vs Cablevision

One of the key advantages of having Verizon’s Fiber Optic Service (FiOS) for your Telephone service is that all of the equipment from the Central Telephone Office up to your home is completely powered by Verizon.  This is a significant difference from Cablevision which relies on the Utility Company to provide electricity to power its’ equipment on the Utility Poles.

When the Power goes out, Verizon is 100% self-reliant.  Verizon takes responsibility for making sure that all of its’ FiOS transmission equipment is properly powered by using a combination of backup electrical generators and battery backup units.  Verizon trucks will periodically visit Transmission equipment locations to re-charge batteries so that equipment stays fully operational when Utility power is out.  Even if it is days before Utility power is restored, there is a high degree of probability, short of physical damage to the FiOS transmission lines, that FiOS Services will stay operational.

With Cablevision, all Services start to fail shortly after Utility power is lost as the batteries in the Transmission Equipment drain to zero.  Once the Cablevision equipment batteries run-down, Services cannot be restored until Utility Power is restored.  (This is true for most Cable Providers, not just Cablevision.)

Important Note:  In both the case of Verizon FiOS and Cablevision, there is a piece of equipment installed in your home or office that requires “electricity” to work.  In the case of Verizon FiOS, this is called an “O.N.T.” or Optical Network Terminal.  For Cablevision, this is usually a Cable Modem.  (This is true for most Cable Providers, not just Cablevision.)

As discussed in my article, “Hurricane Tech – Powering your Land Line Phone Service”, with a properly installed Backup Battery, Telephone Service will remain operational, on average, for up to eight hours provided that your respective provider: Verizon FiOS or Cablevision has their Transmission Equipment powered and functioning.  If you add a decent size Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) of approximately a 1,500watt rating, you may get almost a full twelve hours of Internet and TV Service in addition to the Telephone service.

Case in point:  During Hurricane Irene, I lost power and even though I had a Generator to power my Cable Modem, within a few hours all of my Cablevision Services failed – No Telephone, No TV, No Internet – because Cablevision relies on Utility Power for its’ Transmission equipment on the poles.  My Cable modem had power but the Transmission facilities between my home and Cablevision were dead.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, even though power was out for several days, my neighbors who had Generators had their Verizon FiOS Telephone, TV, and Internet without issue.  In my case, even when Utility Power was restored it was another week before Cablevision services returned.

Considering the connected world I live in and the fact that I am in the “Technology Consulting” business, I thought it would make sense to hedge my bets against the next natural disaster and install Verizon FiOS alongside Cablevision so that I would have both for redundancy.  I had no idea at the time of my decision how fortuitous a move that would be.

On October 18th, 2012, just two weeks before Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy hit, I had the Verizon FiOS Ultimate Triple Play deal installed.  In the middle of Sandy, at approximately 9:30am on Monday, October 29th, my super reliable, traditional Copper Telephone Service, that usually always survives severe storms, failed.  It was not until around 5:45pm that Utility Power failed.  Since my phone system had a battery backup unit, as did my Verizon FiOS and Cable modem, I still had Telephone Service.  I powered up the Portable Gasoline powered Generator and TV and Internet immediately returned on my Verizon FiOS set-top box and Internet Router.  As expected, my Cablevision TV and Internet service had failed.

Remarkably, even though our area was without Utility power for over eight days, Verizon FiOS remained fully operational and completely without issue.  It was not until Utility Power was restored that any Cablevision services returned (TV, Phone, Internet) and then once they did, they went out the following day again for another twelve hours.

The reason Verizon FiOS was operational was because Verizon completely controls the Power for its Transmission equipment and is 100% self-sufficient.  Again, it is important to note that I had a Generator to keep the Verizon FiOS equipment in my home, the ONT, “powered” with electricity.

The combination of an extremely robust infrastructure, as designed and built by Verizon, along with my own Disaster Recovery Preparedness, (a Generator), allowed me to stay fully “connected” to the outside world during Hurrican/Tropical Storm Sandy and beyond.  With a working Verizon FiOS Triple Play package of Phone, TV, and Internet – including WiFi, I was able to receive critical Life Safety information from News Stations as well as the Suffolk County and Huntington Township Telephone and Email Emergency Alert Communications.

Verizon FiOs – It’s the next best thing to the reliability of Copper.

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