FiOS sounds like good stuff, if you can get it

According to Verizon (NYSE: VZ), 134,000 people signed up for FiOS video service in the fourth quarter of 2012. I was not one of them.

Also according to Verizon, 144,000 people signed up to get high-speed broadband service. Again, I was not one of them.

This is not to say that I am not a Verizon subscriber. I am part of the dwindling group of consumers who have Verizon voice services (POTS, in the vernacular) and a Verizon-partnered DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) video service and a Verizon wireless phone. Hell, my e-mail used to end in "verizon.net" until I realized that Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) Business provided better service and speeds than Verizon DSL--which, perhaps you've figured out now, is all I can get.

My strange arrangement which, I'm sure, costs me more on an average monthly basis than a conventional services bundle, has more to do with past dealings with my local MSO than any great love of Verizon.

The fact is, I might actually want to be a Verizon FiOS subscriber. I, like many of my neighbors, would love the opportunity to at least see what FiOS is all about. We've heard about it, and some recent neighborhood transplants who have already experienced it report good things, on the whole.

The service is scattered all around South Jersey. It's just not in my neighborhood--which is new and has fiber and all the right connections still peeking their ugly heads out of the ground, where the crews left them in anticipation of… you guessed it, providing FiOS service.

Now, all of this wouldn't be so bad if the Philadelphia market weren't bombarded with commercials about the wonders of FiOS; if trucks with the huge FiOS logo didn't park just outside our neighborhood to work on the electronics housed just outside our neighborhood; and if Verizon didn't take up a position seeking to sign up new FiOS subscribers at almost every local event.

All these reasons definitely contribute to a bit of cynicism on my part about the whole FiOS experience. I can hear Fran Shammo, Verizon's CFO, spout the fact that "providing customers with a greater opportunity to purchase FiOS services is also gaining some traction" in an earnings webcast this morning. And then I can turn on my TV and notice that, despite what the local ads say, FiOS is not my service provider.

I can listen to the reasoning that FiOS deployments were noticeably slowed by Superstorm Sandy. And then I can recall the night Sandy's eye crossed over my house, causing no damage and minimally impacting the entire neighborhood, and wonder what this has to do with me or Millville, N.J., in particular.

And then I can settle down for a night's entertainment in front of my DirecTV-fueled TV and listen to the FiOS-Comcast war of commercial words, only wondering what I've done so wrong--aside, possibly, from residing in a poor, rural part of the state--that I can't be part of the fun.

"Our FiOS customer growth in the fourth quarter was very good," Shammo told analysts hanging on his every word this morning.

Minus one, I might add. -Jim

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