Frontier FiOS, also known as FiOS from Frontier or simply FiOS, is a bundled Internet access, telephone, and television service that operates over a fiber-optic communications network in 7 states, including California, Texas, Florida, Indiana, South Carolina, Oregon, and Washington.[1][2] Service is offered in some areas of the United States by Frontier Communications in areas built out and formerly served by Verizon, using the same infrastructure as its Fios service and continuing to license the FiOS name from Verizon. Other service providers often use fiber optics in the network backbone and existing copper or coax infrastructure for residential users. Frontier's service began in 2009 with the acquisition of portions of Verizon's network, and networked areas expanded through 2015 through similar acquisitions, although some areas do not have service or cannot receive TV and phone service because of franchise agreements.


Background of FiOS (2005–2010)

In September 2005, Verizon Communications, announced the launch of its FiOS television service, which first became available for 9,000 customers in Keller, Texas.[3] Verizon aimed to replace copper wires with optical fibers, which would allow greater speed and quality of communication.

In 2006, Verizon and Motorola partnered to bring its customers home DVR access, which allowed viewers to record and watch television programs simultaneously.[4] In 2006, The Wall Street Journal speculated:[5]

Verizon Communications Inc. is fielding offers for [sale] ... of traditional telephone lines ... part of the New York-based phone giant's strategy to delve deeper into the wireless and broadband arenas, while getting out of the traditional phone business in U.S. areas that aren't slated for fiber upgrades ... Verizon also has been shopping a package dubbed "GTE North" that comprises about 3.4 million access lines in former GTE Corp. territories in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan.

In July 2007 Verizon released FiOS 2.0, which enabled customers to use widgets,[clarification needed] allowing for more interactivity of the service.[6] Verizon announced in January 2008 that one million people subscribed to the service. That same year, Verizon FiOS expanded its HD channel selection to over 150 HD channels.[7] Price increases were announced in April 2008, when Fios was available to (not necessarily subscribed by) 6.5 million households.[8]

In January 2009, FiOS was available to 12.7 million homes, with about 2.5 million subscribing to the Internet service.[9] As of June 2009, FiOS Internet had 3.1 million customers.[10] Estimates on December 31, 2009, were 3.4 million Internet customers and 2.86 million for FiOS TV, with availability down to 12.2 million premises.[11]

Purchase of Verizon lines to Frontier

In May 2009, Frontier announced the signing of an $8.6 billion agreement with Verizon Communications to acquire Verizon's 4.8 million landlines leased to residential and small business customers.[12] The deal meant Frontier would acquire all wireline assets in Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin, placed into a holding company called New Communications ILEC Holdings. Also included were several of Verizon's exchanges in California, including those bordering Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon.[13] In all states other than West Virginia, this takeover primarily involved rural exchanges that were formerly a part of the GTE system when Verizon was formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE. However, in West Virginia, Frontier acquired Verizon West Virginia, formerly The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of West Virginia, a former Bell System unit. When combined with its existing subsidiary Citizens Telecommunications Company of West Virginia, Frontier became the local incumbent telephone company for all but five exchanges in the entire state.

On July 1, 2010, the change from Verizon to Frontier took place. In some states, Frontier was required not to raise rates, and in others, broadband access was to be expanded. Ninety-two percent of people in Frontier's existing service area had access to broadband, while just 65 percent did in the newly acquired areas. The goal was 85 percent in three years.[14]

Previous companies like Fairpoint Communications and Hawaiian Telcom went bankrupt after incurring a large amount of debt as a result of similar landline deals with Verizon Communications.[15] While Frontier has fared better, the stock has never regained its post acquisition high of $9.73 per share on Dec. 27, 2010.[16]

In addition to the purchase of copper lines from Verizon in 2009, Frontier also acquired the fiber-optic system built by Verizon in Fort Wayne, Indiana, around Portland, Oregon and in some eastern suburbs of Seattle, Washington.[17] The company kept the name FiOS for the fiber systems and licenses it acquired from Verizon. The initial transition was rocky, with Frontier initially claiming that it had no plans for changes after the transition but later attempted to institute a $500 installation fee for new television subscribers, backed out of franchise agreements in some cities in Oregon, and increased rates by 50% in Indiana.[18][19][20] Frontier later retracted the rate increases and installation fee but has not reclaimed franchises in the cities that it relinquished and not before losing FiOS TV subscribers.[21]

Frontier FiOS service in most markets operate on the same technology and software as the Verizon FiOS platform.

Stable footprint (2010–present)

Following relatively poor financial results for the wider company in early 2010,[22] Verizon announced in March 2010 that it was winding down its Fios expansion, concentrating on completing its network in areas that already had FiOS franchises but were not deploying to new areas, which included the cities of Baltimore and Boston, which had not yet secured municipal franchise agreements.[23] Doug Michelson, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, concluded that "Verizon has been overspending to acquire FiOS customers".[22] Some viewed the halt in expansion as a violation of Verizon's agreements with some municipalities and states, since Verizon has collected revenue to deploy infrastructure upgrades that never occurred.[24]

In April 2010, Verizon announced that three million people were subscribed to Verizon FiOS.[6] In July 2010, estimates were 3.8 million FiOS Internet subscribers and 3.2 million TV subscribers, with availability to 15 million homes.[25]

In May 2013, Verizon announced it had passed 18 million homes with FiOS and 5 million customers.[2][26]

On February 5, 2015, Frontier announced[27] a definitive agreement with Verizon under which Frontier will acquire Verizon's wireline, broadband and FiOS® operations that provide services to residential, commercial and wholesale customers in California, Texas and Florida. The network being acquired is the product of substantial capital investments and is 54 percent FiOS enabled. Starting on April 1, 2016, these Verizon services in the aforementioned states will be provided by Frontier Communications.[28] Current Verizon customers in California, Texas and Florida can create a Frontier ID in order to gain access to their online account and view the bills and manage their profile.[29]

Technical details

An old FiOS ONT installed in Montclair, New Jersey, with Ethernet (left) and telephone (right) connections, which is also used in Frontier FiOS' infrastructure

As described in 2007, like Verizon FiOS, Frontier FiOS services are delivered over a fiber-to-the-premises network using passive optical network technology. Voice, video, and data travel over three wavelengths in the infrared spectrum. To serve a home, a single-mode optical fiber extends from an optical line terminal at a Fios central office out to the neighborhoods where a passive optical splitter fans out the same signal on up to 32 fibers, thus serving up to 32 subscribers. At the subscriber's home, an optical network terminal (ONT) transfers data onto the corresponding in-home copper wiring for phone, video and Internet access.[30] Some Fios installations use an Ethernet cable for data and coaxial cable for video, while others use the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) protocol for both data and video over a single coaxial cable. Voice service is also connected to the ONT and carried over telephone cables already in the house.

One of the three wavelength bands is devoted to carrying television channels using standard QAM cable television technology. The other two wavelengths are devoted to all other data, one for outbound and the other for inbound data. This includes video on demand, telephone and Internet data.

This allocation of wavelengths adheres to the ITU-T G.983 standard, also known as an ATM passive optical network (APON). Verizon initially installed slower BPONs but now only installs GPONs specified in the ITU-T G.984 standard. These bands and speeds are:

  • 1310 nm wavelength for upstream data at 155 Mbit/s (1.2 Gbit/s with GPON)
  • 1490 nm wavelength for downstream data at 622 Mbit/s (2.4 Gbit/s with GPON)
  • 1550 nm wavelength for QAM cable television with 870 MHz of bandwidth

The set-top box (STB) receives IR code and channel subscription information through the out-of-band (OOB) channel just as other coax or RF-based STB's do. However, guide data, cover art, widgets and other data are sent via IP over the data channels. All upstream OOB requests (or responses) are sent via IP over the data channels. All non-OOB data transactions to or from STB's are carried over the MoCA channels. The MoCA channel is also used to carry out inter-STB transactions (multi-room DVR, synchronization, etc.).

FiOS is also compatible with CableCARD technology allowing FiOS TV subscribers to receive encrypted and premium cable channels on CableCARD-capable devices.[31]


Video Service

Frontier FiOS's broadcast video service is not IPTV (Internet Protocol television), unlike AT&T's U-verse product and CenturyLink's Prism product. However, video on demand content and interactive features, such as widgets and programming guide data, are delivered using IPTV-based technology. The majority of content is provided over a standard broadcast video signal that carries digital QAM content up to 870 MHz. The QAM system is identical to HFC cable TV, but is only one-way, and is not interactive, with no VOD or SDV content going over the QAM (VOD and SDV go over out of band IP). The 870 MHz QAM system was primarily done to satisfy franchise agreements that required a basic channel packaged with unencrypted, no STB required/cable-ready TV, channels. This broadcast content originates from a Super Head-End, which sends the signal to a Video Hub Office for distribution to FiOS TV customers.[32]

From the Optical Network Terminal (ONT) at the subscriber premises, the RF video is typically delivered with a coaxial connection to a FiOS set-top box that handles both RF and IPTV video. Interactive services such as VOD and widgets are delivered by IP and are only accessible through use of a FiOS set-top box and a Verizon/Frontier-supplied router. The router supports multimedia (MOCA) and provides the set-top boxes with programming guides and all SD channels, but high definition content (beyond local HD channels which are in clear QAM) requires HD equipment like a FiOS HD set-top box/DVR or a CableCARD-supporting device, such as TiVo. In 2008, Verizon ceased carrying analog television signals in parallel with digital channels, meaning televisions without a QAM tuner or a set-top digital adapter received no signal.[33]

FiOS TV Plans include:

Name SD Channels HD Channels
FiOS TV Local 20+ 5+
Preferred HD 245+ 70+
Extreme HD 325+ 95+
Ultimate HD 435+ 140+

FiOS Spanish TV Plans include:

Name SD Channels HD Channels
FiOS TV Mundo 200+ 35+
FiOS TV Mundo Total 205+ 40+

Quantum TV

In early January 2013, Verizon introduced Quantum TV service, to help expand the functionality of the conventional set-top box offered by Verizon FiOS. Frontier began offering Quantum TV across its FiOS territory after its 2016 acquisition of Verizon systems where Quantum TV had already been introduced. The VMS can also record up to twelve TV shows at the same time, and it allows the customer to pause and rewind live TV.[34] It also has up to one terabyte of internal storage which equates to 100 hours of HD content.[35]

The older Quantum boxes have Motorola branding on them, but the newer Quantum boxes have Arris branding on them, as a result of Arris' acquisition of Motorola's Home business.

As of January 6, 2017, Frontier's Quantum TV does not yet support FiOS TV Quantum Mobility (DVR-on-the-go) which would allow subscribers to watch their DVR recordings remotely. A service note in the 3.1.2 iOS app dated November 22, 2016 states "coming soon to qualified subscribers in CA, TX, and FL".

Internet access

FiOS offers several service tiers that are available individually, but are offered at discounts when combined in a bundle. The tiers are distinguished by data transmission speed measured in Mbit/s downstream and upstream.

On June 18, 2012, Verizon announced FiOS Quantum. The new release doubled every Internet tier of Verizon FiOS subscriber packages. This release also introduced the 300 Mbit/s download speeds to the available service packages.[36]

In July 2013 Verizon FiOS announced its highest speed tier at 500/100 Mbit/s for home and small businesses.[37]

In July 2014 Verizon FiOS announced it would increase customer upload speeds to match download speeds for new and existing customers; however, existing customers need to sign up for a promotional program called "My Rewards+" if they wanted to receive it before January 2015. As of January 2015, all FiOS customers, regardless of their enrollment in My Rewards+, have received the speed match.[38]

Frontier has discontinued the Verizon My Rewards+ program, but offers the following symmetrical speed tiers over FiOS:

Download/Upload Speed



Frontier FiOS Internet Availability By State

State Percentage of State's Population With Access to Frontier Fios Internet[39]
Oregon 17.9%
Florida 13.8%
California 12.7%
Washington 10.6%
Texas 5.8%
Indiana 4.8%
South Carolina 2.5%


Traditional telephone

Verizon offered plain old telephone service (POTS). There have been reports in various markets that Verizon physically disconnected the copper lines (or the network interface device, necessary for Copper-line phone service) at the time that FiOS was installed, and that Verizon customer service talked customers into upgrading from copper with false promises of no changes in service rates.[40]

Verizon sold landline operations in the markets of northern New England to FairPoint Communications in March 2008.[41] Fiber to the premises projects in those markets was renamed as FAST (Fiber Access Speed Technology).[42] In June 2010, Verizon sold landline operations scattered throughout 13 states to Frontier Communications.[43] Some of these areas already had FiOS service availability, for which Frontier became responsible. In 2015, Verizon sold Texas, California, and Florida landline and FiOS operations to Frontier.

VoIP service

FiOS Digital Voice, is a voice over IP service where the ONT serves as the VoIP gateway, generating the dial tone to enable traditional analog phone use.[44] The service began in September 2008.[45] FiOS Digital Voice replaced an earlier service called VoiceWing which was launched in 2004 and discontinued in early 2009, shortly after the launch of FiOS Digital Voice. It is the only phone option for new FiOS customers, and it offers an unlimited calling plan or $.05/minute plan.[46][47] FiOS Digital Voice has numerous international per minute calling plans as well.

See also


  1. ^ "Frontier Communications Overview and Coverage". broadbandnow.com. Retrieved 2015-06-01. 
  2. ^ a b Team, Trefis. "Verizon Reports Strong Q1 Earnings Amid Sluggish Subscriber Adds". Retrieved 2015-05-12. 
  3. ^ Belson, Ken (September 25, 2005). "Verizon Introduces Fiber Optic TV Service". The New York Times. Retrieved September 27, 2013. 
  4. ^ Corner, Stuart (Aug 15, 2006). "Verizon Launches the Three-channel DVR". ITWire. N.p.
  5. ^ Searcey, Dionne; Dennis Berman (May 10, 2006). "Verizon Fields Offers for Phone Lines; Value of Two Packages May Total Up to $8 Billion; Bigger Focus on Web Services". The Wall Street Journal. p. B4. ISSN 0099-9660. 
  6. ^ a b "Timeline: The Evolution of Fios TV". Blog. ARRIS Everywhere. August 19, 2010. Retrieved September 27, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Verizon Tops 1 Million Fios TV Customers". WebWire. N.p., January 29, 2008. Web. September 27, 2013.
  8. ^ Spangler, Todd (April 30, 2008). "Verizon Plans Q2 Rate Hike For Fios". Multichannel News. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 
  9. ^ Porges, Seth (February 12, 2009). "Fiber Optics Bring Faster Internet, DVDs on Demand". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 
  10. ^ Ng, Jansen (August 20, 2009). "Rogers Cable Launches 50 Megabit DOCSIS 3.0 Service". DailyTech. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Verizon Fios". FiberForAll.org. 2009. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 
  12. ^ Walker, Don (2009-05-13). "Article on Frontier's acquisition". Jsonline.com. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  13. ^ "Verizon's Press Release on Acquisition". Newscenter.verizon.com. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  14. ^ Murawski, John (2010-07-01). "Frontier phone switch starts". News & Observer. Archived from the original on 2010-07-04. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  15. ^ Canfield, Clarke. "FairPoint trust suit blames Verizon for bankruptcy". Associated Press. Retrieved 6 November 2012. 
  16. ^ Finance, Yahoo!. "Frontier Communications Corporation Stock Chart". Retrieved 6 November 2012. 
  17. ^ Butcher, Rob (2010-07-01). "Goodbye Verizon FiOS, Hello Frontier Communications". Kirkland Views. Archived from the original on 2016-03-10. 
  18. ^ "Frontier: No Changes For FiOS, DirecTV Customers For 9-12 Months - 2009-05-14 18:26:00 Multichannel News". Multichannel.com. Retrieved 2012-05-15. 
  19. ^ "News and information for McMinnville and Yamhill Valley, Oregon - wine country newspaper". NewsRegister.com. Retrieved 2012-05-15. 
  20. ^ "Frontier plans substantial rate hike for FIOS TV". Wane.com. Archived from the original on 2013-05-23. Retrieved 2012-05-15. 
  21. ^ "Updated: Frontier's Fiber Mess: Company Losing FiOS Subs, Landline Customers, But Adds Bonded DSL". Stop the Cap!. 2011-08-16. Retrieved 2012-05-15. 
  22. ^ a b Joseph N. DiStefano (January 26, 2010). "Verizon, Fios losing Comcast war; will cut over 10,000 jobs: reports". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  23. ^ Svensson, Peter (March 26, 2010). "Verizon winds down expensive Fios expansion". USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 
  24. ^ Kushnick, Bruce (May 19, 2012). "The Great Verizon Fios Ripoff". The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 12, 2012. 
  25. ^ Godinez, Victor (October 8, 2010). "If Verizon's Fios service isn't here, it's not coming". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 
  26. ^ Buckley, Sean (May 30, 2013). "Verizon's Shammo doubts Google Fiber will build in Fios areas". Retrieved August 8, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Frontier Communications to Acquire Verizon's Wireline Operations in California, Florida and Texas, Doubling Frontier's Size and Driving Shareholder Value". Retrieved 2016-03-29. 
  28. ^ "Frontier Has Exciting News for California, Texas and Florida Residents". Retrieved 2016-03-29. 
  29. ^ "How to Create Your Frontier ID". Retrieved 2016-03-29. 
  30. ^ Rowe, Martin (April 30, 2007). "Verizon's last mile". Test & Measurement World. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 
  31. ^ "CableCard features and services Fios TV Residential Support Verizon". 2.verizon.com. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  32. ^ Drawbaugh, Ben (December 17, 2009). "An inside look at a Verizon Fios Super Headend and Video Hub". Engadget. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 
  33. ^ "Your Fios TV service is becoming 100% Digital". web site. Verizon Communications. Archived from the original on May 13, 2008. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 
  34. ^ http://www.verizon.com/home/fiosquantumtv
  35. ^ "Verizon And Motorola Announce Fios TV Media Server That Can Record Six Shows at Once". web site. TechCrunch. Archived from the original on September 29, 2013. Retrieved October 1, 2013. 
  36. ^ Drawbaugh, Ben (June 18, 2012). "Verizon intros Quantum, officially priced up to 300 Mbps". Engadget. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  37. ^ Grey, Melissa (July 22, 2013). "Verizon Fios rolls out 500/100 Mbps broadband, its highest speed tier yet". EnGadget. Retrieved September 27, 2013. 
  38. ^ Brodkin, Jon (July 21, 2014). "Verizon Fios finally symmetrical, upload speeds boosted to match download". Ars Technica. Retrieved August 10, 2014. 
  39. ^ "Frontier Fios availability by state". HighSpeedInternet.com. Retrieved 2016-09-29. 
  40. ^ Yao, Deborah (July 11, 2007). "Verizon's copper cutoff traps customers, hampers rivals". Seattle Times. Associated Press. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 
  41. ^ "FairPoint Communications Reports second Quarter 2008 results" (PDF). news release. August 7, 2008. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 
  42. ^ "FairPoint FAST FAQ". Official web site. Archived from the original on March 21, 2009. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 
  43. ^ Whitney, Lance (May 13, 2009). "Verizon selling landline operations in 13 states". CNET Networks. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 
  44. ^ "Fios Digital Voice: Here's How It Works". June 3, 2010. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  45. ^ Bode, Karl (December 12, 2008). "Here Comes Fios Digital Voice". Broadband Reports. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 
  46. ^ Spangler, Todd (December 12, 2008). "FiOS to Raise Its Voice: Verizon Plans to Widely Roll Out Internet-Based Phone Service in Early 2009". Multichannel News. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 
  47. ^ "Verizon Fios Digital Voice". Commercial web site. Verizon. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 

Further reading

  • Marsan, C. D. (2008). Verizon Fios tech heading to enterprises; Claims new high-speed optical networks slash floor space, electricity needs. Network World, (1). Retrieved March 8, 2009.
  • Searcey, D. (2006). Telecommunications; Beyond Cable; Beyond DSL: Fiber-optic lines offer connection speeds up to 50 times faster than traditional services; Here's what early users have to say. The Wall Street Journal, (R9). Retrieved March 7, 2009.

External links