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Old 01-03-2016, 04:24 PM
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 2,521
Any Northern Virginia dopers with an opinion on Cox versus Fios?

I need to enter the 21st century. Currently I have Cox analog cable, Verizon telephone and no internet at home. The cable is changing to digital on the 19th and since I will then require a box for television it seems a good time to change to a bundle. Here is what I have found so far.
My needs:
Television: I need basic channels but no premium movie or sports channels
(want channels like Discovery, HGTV, TLC, msnbc, etc.). Need the ability to record 2 or 3 shows at once and watch on any TV with about 1000 hours of storage.
Internet: I need wifi for my iPhone and hopefully for a laptop that will let me stream television shows or movies or YouTube without constantly buffering or freezing.
Telephone: I need unlimited local and long distance but not foreign calls.

What my research shows is that the price is pretty much the same for both but most of the tech types recommend Fios because of Internet speed although the quoted speeds are 50 for both. Customers generally think that Verizon service isn't nearly as good as Cox. Verizon telephones also won't work if your power goes out which creates a problem with my alarm system although I can't seem to find out if Cox has the same problem.

Anybody here have experience with one or both of these companies and can tell me what else I am missing?

Last edited by psychobunny; 01-03-2016 at 04:26 PM.
Old 01-03-2016, 04:34 PM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 19,499
I'm in RVA. Sorry!

I switched to Fios a few months ago, after having been with Comcast forever. I don't have any complaints. I practically live on the internet, and I never have problems with speed or interruptions (which I used to deal with on occasion with Comcast). I don't have the TV/cable stuff, so I can't speak to that.
Old 01-03-2016, 04:42 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: The Swamp
Posts: 7,350
I have no experience with Fios or Northern Virginia, but I am a Cox customer and would drop them in a half-heartbeat if they didn't have a monopoly on reliable broadband in my area.

There is no entity in my life that causes me as much irritation and frustration as Cox customer service and tech support.
Old 01-03-2016, 05:37 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Upper left hand corner
Posts: 5,138
Outside your area but switched from Comcast to FiOS in 2009 and would not ever go back.

Technology is much better and more reliable. Internet speeds with my FiOS are symmetric, which never seems to be offered by cableco. Battery backup keeps phones (but not TV/internet going after loss of power).

I believe that Vz is less likely to cap your internet streaming as well.
Old 01-03-2016, 05:45 PM
Graphite is a great
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Akron, Ohio
Posts: 26,202
Arlington VA resident by proxy.

My sister has had fios for perhaps 6-7 years. NEVER a problem. Had cable problems before that.
Old 01-03-2016, 06:47 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: The end of the tunnel
Posts: 3,427
No question about it- FiOS.
Old 01-03-2016, 09:37 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 921
Just got back from a week at my parents in PWC, they had Cox for years, crappy service. Now have Fios, no problems in the first six months. The only thing they are pissed off about is that they signed a two year agreement but the introductory rate only lasts on year. They say the was buried in the fine print. Basically you don't get anything extra for signing a two year contract.
Old 01-03-2016, 11:15 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Falls Church, Va.
Posts: 13,701
I may be in the minority here, but I am a huge fan of Cox. I've had horrible customer-service experiences with Verizon back in the pre-FIOS days, and Cox has always been reliable and very responsive to problems. Maybe Vz has changed its culture, but when I last dealt with them, they still clearly thought of themselves as the old-style phone company whose customers didn't have a choice.

Vz's offers for switching have grown more and more generous, but the last time I made a detailed comparison, the price still worked out to be not much less, and Cox gave me a discount when I waved Verizon's offer at them.

Cox phones are similarly on a battery backup system. After a blackout of however long (8 hours? 12?), they stop working.

If you're a light enough user that you've never had internet at home before, I don't think you'll notice any difference in speeds between the two. I have no issues streaming from Cox.
Old 01-04-2016, 04:44 PM
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 2,521
Thanks for the help. The main concern I find is that customer service is apparently horrible at Verizon and good at Cox (Comcast is not in the picture and everybody knows how horrible their service is). It seems that I will need to purchase battery backup with either one. I am making them send me an actual breakdown of all costs including taxes and equipment fees before signing. I am also getting a price for year one, year two and thereafter. Verizon is a little cheaper but mostly because they throw in a $400 VISA card while Cox only gives you $200.
Old 01-05-2016, 10:18 AM
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Obama Country
Posts: 949
I'm in Arlington and we have a choice between Comcast, Verizon, and whatever satellite services are available.

In my experience, FIOS is the devil for TV if you have just a basic package. I haven't had a problem with our Internet or phone service. We always have 1 bajillion devices connected and I've never noticed a lag in speed or quality. Plus our WiFi connection is strong even 8 stories away in the parking garage, and across the street at my dentists office, which I think is pretty neat.

I am switching back to Comcast because even though their phone service was a little worse, their TV service was much, much better for OnDemand selections, and because I didn't get a fucking ad from the company I'm already fucking paying for service in the middle of my fucking screen at completely random times when I'm changing the channel or first turning on the TV. It is literally the equivalent of going to a website and having a video ad start playing as soon as the page loads. It is annoying as fuck when I'm already paying these people for service.

Plus with Comcast, when you're changing channels you don't have to wade through a bunch of channels you haven't bought, making it more pleasant and easier to channel surf.
Old 01-06-2016, 12:50 AM
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: New Middletown, Ohio
Posts: 5,825
Originally Posted by jasg View Post
I believe that Vz is less likely to cap your internet streaming as well.
Cox only caps data in the Cleveland area.

Verizon usually requires a contract, Cox does not.
Verizon's internet is usually more reliable.
Verizon's phone/internet is usually a lot more expensive (after promotions fall off)

With most services that have a "whole house" feature, you are usually required to have one of the top tier TV packages. Not sure about Verizon, but Cox usually requires the 200+ channel package.
Old 01-06-2016, 10:28 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 11,633
See if the Veridiots will give you a better deal than you'd get as a current Cox customer. Verizon frequently advertises great rates if you sign up for a contract, but won't give those rates to existing customers.

Seriously though it all boils down to the service you expect to receive. We had Cox cable for many years and they were quite notorious for having crappy service - I remember once the CEO actually saying, publicly, that they apologized, and would not raise anyone's rates for a long time to make amends (our rates went up a few months later despite that - the lying bastards).

When we moved to the current house, Cox was still the only game in town for TV. They had a slightly different interpretation of "come to the house between 1 and 6 PM to do the install" than we did - we, foolishly, thought that meant they'd actually show up at SOME point that day.

When they did not show up, but the cable TV still worked, we figured they just needed to do something outside and didn't need to actually come in the house. 3 days later, the cable quit working - they'd turned off the former owners' service and were surprised we thought we had service with them. I seem to recall they didn't quite make the *next* appointment either.

Then a year or two later the signal got really bad. They came, and installed a signal booster which helped a bit. But it got worse, and they said "we'll have to run a new line to the house - but wouldn't you really rather go with digital so you get more channels and we get to charge you for a cable box?".

The new line never got run, surprise, surprise.

A year or so later, FIOS came to the neighborhood and we jumped ship immediately.

Aside from one incident where they somehow disconnected the line to our house on the neighborhood junction box, they've been fine.

I looked at switching back to Cox at one point, just to see if I could get a better deal, and it would have basically saved us nothing so I decided not to hassle.

Verizon does not *require* a commitment but you may get a better deal if you do. Cox might as well (I don't recall noticing either way when I was shopping around).

Verizon announced a new TV plan a few months ago where you could pick and choose channel subsets. The unfortunate thing is, each subset is a dozen or so completely unrelated channels, so it's not like you can get one bundle with, say, Discovery Channel, Science Channel, National Geographic Wild and Animal Planet - the bundles are more like "CSPAN, Cartoon Network, Discover Channel and TNT". And some channels we watch were entirely unavailable with that approach, so that was a big bust for us.

I'd love to drop the cable service entirely, but there are too many channels we watch regularly that aren't available via streaming services. Maybe in a few years.
Old 01-10-2016, 05:15 PM
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 2,521
Here's an update:

I priced both and the Fios bundle (with all taxes and fees) was about the same for the first two years as I am paying now for television and telephone alone. They sent an estimate and I signed up since when I priced Cox it was much more expensive. I then signed up to their website where I found out that the custom TV package splits the channels into six thematic packages that make no sense (TVland is on the kid's package, Discovery is on the news package and Comedy Central is on the pop culture package). You get two free packages and each additional one is $10 a month and I want all except sports.

So I called and also wanted to change my installation date. The representative put me on hold to look for another date. After twenty minutes on hold I hung up and called back. The new representative informed me that I had now been changed to a basic plan with local TV only and 3/1 Internet instead of 50/50. She cancelled that plan and found that the price of a plan with all the basic channels I wanted (which basically included all six packages) was the same as if I got my original plan with two extra packages. She then informed me that one of the $10 credits for the first year was no longer available.

She sent me a copy of the new bill which was $50 a month more than my prior quote. Since the new channels should only have been $20 more I had her go over it to find out where the extra $30 came from.

She showed me that the original quote did not include a router, and that the original agent had put down a multi-room DVR but had only charged for a regular one ($10 in equipment fees for both), that since I now had sports channels there was an additional $5 a month fee and that taxes were now an additional $5. She also charged an $80 installation fee which the original agent had said was waived, but she said she had to charge since it didn't specifically say waived on the original invoice. After about two hours we concluded the call.

I then went to their online site to check on things and found that nothing had been updated except that my installation was now listed at a different time. I called back to check on this and to make sure that everything was ordered correctly and found that they had indeed changed the time and also changed my telephone number, which provided my online access so that was why the online site wasn't working. I asked her to give me back my number and she said it would be 2-3 days after installation which I told her was unacceptable but she said could not be corrected until after installation. She also informed me that the DVR service that I was promised was actually $5 a month more but said that she would try to waive that and the installation fee but could do nothing until I got my next bill in February.

She then promised to send me an updated invoice which I never got. My service is now $55 a month more than promised, I have no idea if or when I keep my old telephone number, I can't access any information online and I have a less than ideal installation time. According to my calculations, I am willing to pay the $20 extra a month for extra channels, and the $10 in equipment costs (because I need a router) and the $10 in taxes and fees but I feel they owe me the $10 a year discount for the first year on the original invoice, the $5 fee for the correct DVR and the $80 installation fee. (There were a few other issues too long to get into here where I got different answers from all three agents).

Tl:dr Verizon sucks!

Last edited by psychobunny; 01-10-2016 at 05:20 PM.
Old 01-10-2016, 06:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: The Swamp
Posts: 7,350
Buy your own router - equipment rental fees are an egregious ripoff.
Old 01-10-2016, 11:42 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Falls Church, Va.
Posts: 13,701
That's painful to hear, psychobunny. Here's hoping your experience settles down and gets better.
Old 01-11-2016, 08:43 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: AUS
Posts: 1,975
Cox customer support is absolutely atrocious. Worse than any experience I've ever had with Verizon or even Comcast. If you can get FIOS at your house, go with Verizon.
Old 01-13-2016, 09:17 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 11,633
Originally Posted by psychobunny View Post
....My service is now $55 a month more than promised, I have no idea if or when I keep my old telephone number,...
Egad, what a nightmare .

The bad news on the phone number is that if they released it, it has quite possibly been snatched up already. I had a problem with Verizon Wireless where we ported in my daughter's number from T-mobile to a prepaid Verizon account, then later wanted to add it (and get her a new phone). It took them several hours to figure out how to move the old number to the new phone, since it sort of required cancelling the old number (and the rep pretty much guaranteed it would get snapped up by someone else in the interim).
Old 01-14-2016, 11:36 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 19,671
If they are the same price go for Fios. If there is a significant price difference Cox is nearly as good.

If you really want to save money just go internet only and use your mobile devices and apps to simulate everything else.
Old 05-03-2016, 04:36 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Falls Church, Va.
Posts: 13,701
psychobunny, do you have any update on your experience? I was one of the Cox advocates in this thread, but Verizon is now offering me pretty much a straight-up $50/month savings, and I'm getting tempted to switch. FWIW, they offered a traditional tier of TV channels, too, rather than the Custom TV thematic setup.

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