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Verizon ISP Review & Reader Survey Results

Overall: 3 ½ Stars

Given the company's noticeably higher scores in every category, it shouldn't surprise anyone that Verizon's overall score of 3 1/2 (3.47) out of five stars also tops the charts in our survey. The two most important factors, according to our Verizon survey participants, performance and reliability, were also the two highest-scoring categories for the company, each earning higher than four stars. These scores were more favorable than those of competing ISPs, and their weighted importance pushed the overall score above the three-star threshold and into the lead.

Interestingly, the company with the highest-rated price score in our survey doesn't actually offer the best price-to-speed ratio. The lead in that category is not obvious compared to other categories and companies. Verizon nudges itself into the lead there because it is one of the only ISPs offering fiber-optic Internet services, with upload speeds as fast as its download bandwidth. This was not lost on our readers, who went hard on every company for pricing, but at least saw the value that fiber-optic technology provides. They therefore judged Verizon's pricing slightly more favorably than they did other ISPs.

"The network is 100 percent fiber," summed up one generally satisfied reader, who rated Verizon at or above three stars in every category. "It really makes the difference."

Our surveyed Verizon readers voted customer support the least-important factor in their decision, but the category still scored an impressive 3¼ stars. It was more important to readers subscribing to other ISPs, and resulted in overall lower ratings for those companies. Perhaps Verizon scored higher because support wasn't as much of a determining factor for these surveyed readers, or maybe the company is just that good with customer service. Either way, an overall score of 3¼ stars out of five gives Verizon the edge in our survey.

Conclusion

At this point, to say Verizon is the winner would be an understatement. Although the price-to-performance ratio isn't the best (on paper), and even though the majority of surveyed DSL subscribers rated each category lower than two stars, Verizon still takes the gold across the board.

Delivering on its customers' primary pain points looks like Verizon's formula for success, with the most important categories rating the highest for the company, and in our review.

Price (3)Performance (1) Reliability (2) Support (4)Overall
★★ ¾ (2.66)★★★★ (3.94)★★★★ ¼ (4.16)★★★ ¼ (3.20)★★★ ½ (3.47)

The table above details the full results of our survey, with each category labeled by the least and most important factors when deciding on an ISP, with (1) being the most important and (4) being the least. Each category is tallied with its rounded one- to five-star rating and its mathematical average, for comparison later (although there isn't much comparison to be had at this point).

The race to the top comes to a screeching finish, with Verizon taking top honors in Tom's Hardware's ISP Review Survey. Before we end our series for the year, we'll take a closer look at the reviewed service providers and compare each directly. Though the winner may be obvious, each company has its merits, and we we'll revisit them in a final analysis.

A special thanks goes out to our readers for participating, following along and providing lots of interesting feedback, which made it possible to take on the monumental task of rating an Internet service provider. We hope this review series was informative, represented your viewpoint in an honorable manner and created some compelling content for your enjoyment.

Derek Forrest is an Associate Contributing Writer for Tom’s Hardware. Follow him on Twitter.

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Derek Forrest
Derek Forrest is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes hardware news and reviews gaming desktops and laptops.
  • The original Derfman
    What? No Google fiber review?
    Reply
  • okcnaline
    How the **** did Verizon get top notch scores?!!! Their phone bootloader unlock policy and dirty CS practices should make them the worst!!!
    Reply
  • c0rr0sive
    Wait, did Toms forget to mention that Verizon was forced to deploy fiber since they refused to repair the aged copper lines that they had neglected for years? This looks more and more like an advertisement campaign.
    Reply
  • burtzum
    I was paying $50 a month for 25/25 FIOS about two years ago. It has gradually raised to $67 now. I saw on their page that even 50/50 should be less, at $55, so I was about to call them and ask for my speed to be raised since I am apparently already paying for it. Then I decided against it, as I noticed an additional $10 a month modem rental fee in the fine print. Tack on that, taxes, and all the other BS add-on fees and I'm sure it would come out to over $70 a month for the 50/50 plan in actuality. And I don't even want 50/50, I'm fine with 25/25. But they don't offer 25/25 anymore, and I'm sure jacking up my price is an attempt to get me to accept the new 50/50 plan with its higher price.

    I also remember when I was still fairly new with them they were constantly trying to get me to sign up for automatic billing. I was reluctant because they had overcharged me at one point. Eventually I ended up with automatic billing anyway, as it was apparently a requirement in order to switch to paperless billing. Things go smoothly for a couple years, then one day I get something in the mail saying I haven't paid for 3 months and owe a bunch of late fees. Their automatic billing system broke down and they expected me to pay late fees over it. Guess it serves me right, not looking out for and paying close attention to my Verizon bill every month, given my past experience. Since then I've been paying manually every month like I wanted to in the first place. So automatic billing wasn't a requirement after all, as they claimed. Or they've changed their policy since then. *shrug* At least they haven't yet tried to charge me for a modem that I returned, claiming to have no record of it, I guess... as Comcast did years ago.

    All cable companies are absolute garbage. Sometimes I wish the government would seize it all and take over, but our government is so incompetent it would probably end up worse.
    Reply
  • razor512
    If you are ever charged a rental fee, then buy your own equipment, it will pay for its self within a year.

    Your location also highly influences your performance. If you have the choice between fios and time Warner, then you get around 5-10 more performance than advertised. if there is no alternative, then you get 5-15% under what you pay for, with additional slowdowns during prime time (with speeds as low ad 2mbit/s on a 100mbit plan).
    When there is a lack of competition, any ISO will take that as an opportunity to screw you over.
    Reply
  • xvegan
    I've been around the USA enough to know that in any market, the lack of competition will raise prices and cause a condescending attitude from the carrier's billing depts and help desks. This applies to all of them. Some are so ridiculous as to charge almost $100 for a help desk inquiry regarding a service outage.

    Competition is the name of the game. When there are alternatives it's amazing how nice they become and will likely lower your monthly bill to keep you as a customer.
    Reply
  • Anders235
    Those prices for Fios look about $20 low, at least for Texas. $65 p/m for 50-50 was all I could get, then 75/75 (not shown in this article), and up.

    Which seems high.

    Quality of the service is excellent 100% throughput up and down is normal and reliability is outstanding.

    Customer Service is extremely poor. It takes hours to get ahold of tech support and the disconnect between Verizon Central and your local Verizon Fios center is near total so its very hard to get them to agree on the phone that there might be a problem in your area. Luckily, problems are very rare...

    The only alternative to the service is Time Warner, which is terrible in every single respect and therefore not an alternative.
    Reply
  • wussupi83
    Really Toms, an Ad between every section of the SAME article. That's an A**hole move, especially when they are sound producing videos. I will note related to the article - I do find Verizons networks pretty reliable for Internet. Although a few years ago I had FIOS 150Mbps service and Youtube was without a doubt throttled, as every other video service was fine except Youtube, it didn't matter if you chose 240p or 1080p, you had to wait for buffering. That was certainly intentional. I read recently that you could update the DNS to a 3rd party and it solved the problem but I no longer have the service to verify.
    Reply
  • dennphill
    Poor review. How do you compare one provider? C'mon now! I was up in Alexandria, VA when they were putting fiber in the neighborhood..but moved away before I could dump Cox Cable and see how FIOS was. (I was told it would be better/cheaper, etc.) So now I'm in Panhandle, FL and (again) with Cox the only show in town (unless I want Dish or DirecTV and phone line Centruy Link). Worthless article, because it will be a while before fiber gets to my neighborhood....and Cox is reliably giving me "Preferred" access (promising up to 50 Mbps d/l (and 6.5 u/l) and Ookla says I get upwards of nearly 60 Mbps and nearly 7 Mbps. Century Link, OOTH, promises me only 6 MBPS d/l (and says that's all I really need)! Sos - though I hate it - I stick with Cox - the devil I already know.
    Reply
  • rayden54
    I do wonder how much these results are skewed by availability.

    For example, back when we had Verizon, speeds were terrible, prices were terrible (the up to 3 Mbps plan cost something like $50 a month), and support was terrible, but since they were the only ISP around, that's what we had. Only reason we're not still with Verizon is that they sold our area to Frontier.

    It's pretty much the same deal with Frontier too except the Up to 3, 5, and 7 Mbps plans are gone and everyone gets the 1 Mbps plan. I don't think they can offer more without redoing the cables--which of course they won't do.
    Reply