Fios is something that everybody who enjoys high-speed Internet in their homes should be looking out for. For over the the past year, Verizon has begun stringing high-speed fiber-optic connections directly to the home looking to replace cable or high-speed DSL connections over a phone line. DSL typically offers a download speed of 256k - 3M for 19.99-49.99 per month. Cable typically offers a download speed of 1.5M - 6M for 39.99-59.99 per month. Fios significantly ups the ante by offering 5-Mbit downloads/2-Mbit uploads for just $39.95 a month, or $34.95 a month as part of an existing Verizon plan. The mid-tier upgrade offers a whopping 15-Mbits/s down and 2-Mbits/s upstream for just $49.95 a month, or $44.95 a month with an existing Verizon plan. To cut to the chase here and give this information to you in its most simplistic terms.... Cable Internet was costing me $60 per month for a 5MB connection. Fios gives me 3 times that speed at $45 per month. I personally became aware of Fios well over a year ago when Verizon began introducing it in California, Texas and Florida. I knew this fiber-optic technology was something that was going to shake up the cable industry. After all, nobody likes the cable companies. (a little more on that in a second...) Imagine my excitement when three months ago, Verizon began stringing fiber optic cable in my neighborhood. It's a welcoming event that can't be ignored. There were trucks everywhere, some closing down portions of road as huge rolls of cable were unloaded onto poles. As soon as Verizon had completed their work, I signed up to be amongst the first in my neighborhood to have the service installed. I called the company on a Friday and was promised an install within 5 days. The installer who showed up was very polite and knowledgeable. He hands me a welcome kit, checks my operating system (XP is a must!) and goes through a lengthy explanation of the install process which will take 4 hours to do. Having Fios installed in the home is no small matter. Cable has to be strung into home. A new box must be erected on the side of the house. Inside, a medium-sized box is mounted on the wall. This houses a backup battery about the size of what is used on boats. Next to it sits a smaller sized power module. Both of these boxes must sit within 50' of the computer. I ordered a D-Link 802.11g wireless router with my setup since I have a laptop I use throughout the house. Verizon charged me an extra $60 for the router. I *think* they supply a basic wired router at no charge with the installation. Before Fios was activated, I checked my cable Internet speed and it averaged just at 5MBPS. After Fios, I was getting a connection speed of 15MBPS locally. The speed, however, was not consistent. A speed test cross country (NJ to Seattle) garnered much slower results at only 5MB (cable speed). That is scary! It's only natural to expect that speed greatly pends on the website you are visiting. Power websites like YAHOO instantly popped into place. However, there was still a lag when visiting HOME THEATER FORUM, a site we know to be slower than others. Also, older computers may not benefit from the boost in speed. My secondary computer, now 4 years old, did not come close to producing speeds of my brand-new computer. I expect that processing speed has a lot to do with how fast pages will load. Faster Internet is not going to improve the speed of a slower computer. Though cable was always fast, I could see improved speed. Pages just popped up with absolutely no hesitation. Downloads that took 12 minutes now were reduced to just under 5. The Fios installer informed me that unlike cable, the system will not slow down as more people in the neighborhood log on. Each home connection has a direct pipeline to the central office. Verizon offers up to 9 email accounts which is more than any one person needs. Configuring email for email programs such as Outlook or Eudora is not difficult, but there is an extra step where you have to make sure that your email program authenticates INCOMING and OUTGOING mail with your login name and password. If you want to grab your email while on the road from their webpage, be prepared to be disappointed. I found their web interface to be very clunky and not very intuitive. I am still looking for a better webside interface that lets me combine all my email accounts from different servers on one site. The Verizon email is capable of doing this, but I still have not been able to get it to work, and I greatly dislike the interface I am forced to work with. Comcast was far better in this regard. Overall, I think Fios is the best thing to come around since the cable companies entered the broadband market. I am suddenly finding myself back in the '90s looking at a revolutionary new product that will enhance my Internet experience. In Conclusion There is a noticeably improved difference in speed when in the 15MB Fios over cable broadband. Realize, however, speed is not always consitent as everything pends on the actual speed of the site you are visiting, though page loads on slower sites are shortened. The biggest improvements will be seen in downloads and uploads. I see a HUGE increase in speed working within an FTP environment. Fios is the real deal and I hope that Verizon continues their aggressive strategy to get as many people hooked up to the network as possible.