Plenty Of Broadband Providers Pretending They're Offering Fiber To The Home

from the false-advertising dept

Earlier this year, we wrote about Verizon suing Time Warner Cable over a misleading advertisement, where Time Warner Cable claims that Verizon is "catching up" to Time Warner Cable in offering fiber optics. This is misleading, at best. Verizon is installing fiber to the home with its FiOS service, providing significantly faster connections. What Time Warner Cable is claiming is that it uses fiber in its network, not to the home. It's true that TWC and plenty of other broadband providers have used hybrid fiber solutions at the network level for many years, but that's totally different than connecting all the way to the home with a fiber optic connection.

Now it turns out that TWC is hardly the only broadband provider doing this. Apparently lots of broadband providers are now running ads against Verizon where they claim that they've offered fiber for longer than Verizon. That's totally misleading. Having fiber somewhere in the network is not at all an equal comparison to running fiber all the way to the home. As Broadband Reports asks, it's difficult to see how these claims from others isn't false advertising. They're clearly implying that their fiber is the same thing as FiOS when that's not true at all.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2008 @ 2:11pm

    Yep, the add on TWC's website sure does give that impression

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), 29 Aug 2008 @ 2:38pm

    Qwest ad

    I saw a Qwest ad for fiber and I got a little excited. After I checked the details (fine print) online it was obvious they weren't going to run fiber to my house. Plus, it wasn't available in my area yet. I suspected this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    B (profile), 29 Aug 2008 @ 2:49pm

    Bell is doing that in Canada!

    Read the following press release and tell me what you think it is saying:
    "Introducing Sympatico Optimax Internet service now available in Toronto! With Fibre Optic technology, this new Internet service consistently delivers maximum speeds of 10 or 16 Mbps... Sympatico Optimax Internet service is the next generation of Internet service that uses the latest in Fibre Optic technology to deliver an optimized Internet experience..."

    Besides us Canadians spelling Fiber wrong, doesn't it sound like some sort of fiber to the home service? Even the (idiot) installer who came to set it up said it was fiber. When asked how they would be running the fiber line into my home, he said they conveniently push the fiber optic informtion through my existing phone line! Duh! It's actually ADSL2 with a guaranteed speed at the local node.

    Turns out it would be better to call Bell's service "Fibre to the Node" but maybe that wouldn't attract as many gullible customers.

    It's actually a pretty good service as far as consumer level DSL goes. They guarantee the 16 Megabit speed (to their test server) and with their convenient 40 Gigabyte per month caps, I can finish all of my surfing for the month in just over SIX hours! What a time saver.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Colorado, 29 Aug 2008 @ 2:56pm

    Qwest is talking...

    "fiber" too, when in fact all they can offer is the old DSL.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ken, 29 Aug 2008 @ 3:07pm

    Corporate strategy...

    The corporations lie until they get caught, then defend the lie until a court MAKES them pay for the lie. They’re just doing what politicians do, lie to us. Who's going to stop them, you?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2008 @ 3:20pm

    Capitalism is good, in theory. Until companies stop going from 'who can provide the best product innovation and value' to 'who can make the public eat the most marketing BS'.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Edward Gibbon, 29 Aug 2008 @ 3:36pm

    Who is enforcing the law?

    Sad thing is that it was VERIZON who had to sue to have the law enforced. It should have been investigated by the FTC, but their budget had been slashed so much that it's unable to enforce the law.

    The sad thing is that this is also happening in other Departments of this administration too- Budgets have been slashed so much that the Government can't even afford to litigate cases. Attorneys are forced to settle virtually every case.

    Another wonderful tidbit of the Bush Administration.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2008 @ 4:29pm

      Re: Who is enforcing the law?

      This daily strained bush bashing brought to you by edward gibbon. hey, its a hobby. i dont blame you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous of Course, 29 Aug 2008 @ 4:58pm


    Bah! Verizon ran fiber PAST my house about seven
    years ago. They did this with money from the government.
    But they won't spend their own money to upgrade the
    central office, so there it sits... in the ground,
    unconnected and dark.

    Yeah, I know it's a business and the decision is based
    on ROI. The unreliable early 1970's electronics in the
    pillar by the roadside belong in a museum. I feel sorry
    for the techs that have to keep all that haywired junk
    patched together and running. But I hope it will become
    enough of a burden to merit replacement soon.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    High Fiber Diet, 29 Aug 2008 @ 8:09pm

    Damn bran flakes...

    I have more fiber than I need... GTG

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bunch of Junk, 29 Aug 2008 @ 8:46pm


    Quit whining.....

    All TWC states is that its a hybrid fiber network. Most cable companies have been using this for quite a few years.
    Its Verizons claim to fame with the Fios service, so its only natural that its used in this manner. Its advertising.......

    Besides, currently having fiber to your house is overkill. In the future it may be needed, but now its just a waste of Verizons money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Greevar, 29 Aug 2008 @ 9:58pm

    This why we're so behind the rest of the world

    Other developed countries get 50-100Mbit connections for the price we pay for 3Mbit. We pay for that level of service, but we aren't guaranteed to get that much speed (my 1.5Mbit is more like 1Mbit). The telcos have a monopoly in every market. In fact, where I live, Qwest is the only option most people have here. We are still 15th in the world for broadband penetration. But sure, we don't need an up to date network. We just need to cap everybody's access so we don't over tax the existing one while the ISP's get to pocket the savings.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    iHME, 30 Aug 2008 @ 5:21am

    100mb fiber just came to the market here 50eur/month +installation and gear. If you have a cable you can get a 110mb connection for 44,90eur/month(you get the gear for free)

    Tough the Sweeds have had that for few years allready there 100mb is nothing out of the ordinary, tough something like 18% population admit using warez.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Washii (profile), 30 Aug 2008 @ 5:30pm

    Charter Does This Too.

    In my area (North-central Washington), Charter Communications has been running the same "We've had fiber for decades!" tag-lines, which makes my blood boil.

    Amusingly enough, though Verizon is our major service-provider, they will never offer FiOS here. The three closest Public Utility Districts in my area (including my own) already have fiber networks, residential and business. I'm actually getting FTTH installed within the next week, 2M/2M for 40$ (admittedly changing to 4M/768K with my provider's restructuring, though).

    Could be cheaper, but to get anything near that from DSL (which I'm too far away from the Central Office for ten years, though being de facto city-incorporated for at least 8 years) or Charter cable would be impossible.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous, 31 Aug 2008 @ 12:31am

    Fuck Time Warner Inc.

    Asshole are shaping my packets, and fucking up my connection.
    I pay $122.xx give or take 2-4 bucks every month for a supposed 10megabit internet connection, and basic cable with the "entertainment package" as they call it.
    It fucking sucks.
    I get about 60-80 channels (including 2-13), nick, comedy central, tbs, tnt, and a few of their supposed HD clones. If i want to get HBO, showtime, skinimax, or any of their "premium" channels it's 10-12 bucks a month extra for the first one, add 8 to the 10-12 if i want to add a second teir, and add a 5 spot on top of the 10-12+8 if i want a third movie tier.
    I wish that in my area I had another choice but i'm stuck with fucking TWC.
    they shape my packets, my internet connection drops constantly, my tv picture is shitty, and constantly pixels out, and deblocks, if i download too many files at a time with downthemall my whole internet stops for a few seconds.
    TWC sucks!
    they fucking suck!
    I hope they fucking die.
    the second that another option comes my way i'm jumping ship.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous, 31 Aug 2008 @ 4:48pm

      Re: Fuck Time Warner Inc.

      I know exactly what you're going through.
      TWC is doing the exact same crap to me, and every time I call them to ask them WTF is going on, I'm placed on hold for long periods of time after which they tell me that they're probably experiencing some network congestion (Insert Peak Hours Bullshit Speech Here), and then they basically tell me that it's my fault I'm experiencing shitty service.
      They hint that I must be doing either suspicious activity (Bittorrent), or that I'm saturating my internet by exceeding my allotted download/upload speeds.
      I wish I had another choice...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bob L, 31 Aug 2008 @ 7:10am

    Fiber to the home

    Our local provider Adelphia then Comcast ran fiber to the pole before Verizon did. I still have the same cable from the pole to my house since it was first installed many moons ago. This has not improved my service at all. Verizon also installed fiber in our neighborhood, I was just waiting for them to offer the option that included TV and then they sold their landline business to Fairpoint. Since Fairpoint could not support the fiber, they will not offer the service and Verizon would up wasting a nice chunk of change installing the fiber. Verizon did well getting out of the diminishing land line business and Fairpoint is in way over their heads.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    JJ, 31 Aug 2008 @ 8:56am

    Even the author of this techdirt article seems to be under the impression that Verizon's fiber provides "significantly faster" connections. But where I live, Verizon provides only 3 Mbps Fios, while Time Warner provides 10Mbps over copper. My personal home network offers 1000Mbps over copper within my house. So really I don't care much about what media my carrier is using to carry my data nearly as much as I care about how much of it they'll let me use.

    The question of who has fiber where is irrelevant, and both companies have every right to claim they use fiber - which they do. If Time Warner is misleading customers by talking about fiber and not saying where it is, then Verizon is misleading them far more by implying that fiber to the house is fundamentally better for customers than copper (where I live the service is actually slower), and Time Warner is merely playing off of their misinformation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John, 31 Aug 2008 @ 12:12pm

    Comcast runs these in my area. The bad thing is the general public has no idea what the differences.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ferin (profile), 2 Sep 2008 @ 5:10am

    AT&T U-verse does it

    My family recently got U-verse, and I was there when the guy was selling it to my dad. (Don't even start on it, I live with my parent's cause I'm paying off my car)

    My dad asked him if it was a fiber or wire based network, and the guys says "Oh, it's a fiber all the way in. It's just like Verizon Fios, only we don't have to install anything or put in new wires" He was so proud and excited.

    I almost felt bad mentioning that it'd be tough for it to be just like Fios if they weren't installing anything, considering Fios has managed to burn down a couple of houses when their installers hit power lines while putting in the fiber.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2008 @ 8:52am

    FIOS phone/net/TV here in SoCal, 10mbit is the slowest they offer. In fact, I already had 5mbit FIOS internet and was waiting for the TV to become available. When they installed my TV, they upgraded me to 10mbit for free. The TV is much better than my previous Dish Network although I don't like their HD DVR as much.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Finance Guy, 27 Mar 2009 @ 3:23pm


    Lol, they are pursuing after the ignorance of the mass population ... If they'd just bother to know enough to even know how hard they are being bullshitted!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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