Burning Questions About FiOS

4:00 PM -- Verizon finds itself at the center of an interesting FiOS controversy these days. The New York Public Service Commission, weeks ago, apparently became convinced that the carrier's FiOS installations weren't grounded properly.

So Verizon crafted a Network Review Plan Verizon and submitted the plan to the NYPSC on July 15. Here's a link to that document.

The document states that a special team of folks called the Optical Network Quality Assurance Team (ONQAT), will "prepare monthly reports identifying the number of New Installations that it inspected during the month and the number of those installations that deviated in any material respect from the Grounding M&Ps [Methods & Procedures]."

The ONQAT will then, according to the Verizon proposal, include "specific locations visited and the nature and location of any material non-conformities that were discovered" in the special reports that will be filed with the NYPSC.

As I await a conversation with Verizon's top PR ninja on this very subject, I have some observations and questions:

  • Has the ONQAT been formed yet? If not, how long before it is formed and how long will it take to present its first report? Will its findings be available for public inspection?

  • It's reasonable to assume that if some FiOS installations were improperly grounded in New York, then we'll likely hear of similar grounding issues in other states as well. How much of each installation comes down to the installer's ability to follow procedures versus his ability to think on his feet? How does Verizon measure the quality of its installers versus the wildebeests that the cable companies use? Is there any advantage in hiring non-union installers for services like FiOS, outside of the obvious payroll costs?

  • What's the estimated annual cost of implementing Verizon's Network Review Plan as written? Is the cost of inspecting FiOS installations considered opex or capex?

  • A news story that hit most papers Friday offhandedly mentions that Verizon FiOS installations caused fires in homes in Pennsylvania and Virginia. What were the circumstances surrounding those fires? Would those incidents have been prevented if a ONQAT team were also working in Verizon's non-New York territories?

That should get the ball rolling. Does anyone have something I'm missing?

— Phil Harvey, Editor, Light Reading

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 3:33:57 PM
re: Burning Questions About FiOS On my last question... The fires related to FiOS installations happened a while ago, were well-documented, and had nothing to do with improper grounding.

The fact that they were mentioned in a wire service story around the same time that all this grounding stuff was getting off the ground (ouch!) was coincidental.

Here's a story that covered one of the fires in more detail:

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 3:33:57 PM
re: Burning Questions About FiOS "WeGÇÖve been talking to the NYPSC staff for a while now about procedures in some FiOS installations," says John Bonomo, a Verizon spokesman.

He continues: "Since FiOS is a new technology, questions about proper procedures naturally arise. We are working cooperatively with the Commission as part of its proceeding to ensure that they are comfortable with our installation approach and that we understand what their expectations are.

"The bottom line is we put safety first. We are confident that our FiOS installation procedures are in compliance with prescribed standards. In more than four years of installing FiOS, there have been no problems resulting from our installation practices."

It's worth noting, too, that Bonomo says Verizon has already started collecting data as prescribed in its Network Review Plan, even ahead of the NYPSC's approval. So they're taking this stuff very seriously, indeed.


Mac 12/5/2012 | 3:33:39 PM
re: Burning Questions About FiOS I have been inspecting CATV grounds for over 25 years. How would I go about being hired as a consultant in the Buffalo area?
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