03-21-2016 07:10 AM - edited 03-21-2016 07:12 AM
This is a suggestion that I hope will be read by someone in Verizon. Yes, I know that this is a peer to peer user community, but I'm hoping that Verizon monitors it.
Here's the suggestion: Set up a feature in your website that allows anybody to find out the status of FIOS in some locality. This should be available to the general public, with no sign in necessary. Here's how it might work:
The user enters two three digit numbers into two boxes. The first is the area code, and the second is the exchange. I'm calling the three digits immediately after the area code the exchange. Then the user hits the "Inquire button". VZ looks up in a little database, and tells the person what VZ provides for internet access in that exchange. Nothing company private, just info that's in the public record.
1. Exchange not served by Verizon.
2. FIOS offered in Exchange (this is not the place to find out about outages).
3. FIOS to be offered at an announced future date.
4. DSL offered for the foreseeable future (VZ may have undisclosed plans here)
5. Verizon offers phone service but only dial-up internet access.
This is not a huge database. Maybe about a million rows in a big table. It's eminently manageable. And it doesn't have to reveal anything VZ would rather keep to itself.
As things stand now, I have to sign in, go through a big rigmarole to reach the button to ask about FIOS, only to be told that I have to call my sales rep. You can do better than that, without spending much money.
An exchange is a rather large area.
There are people that complain that people on the other side of the street have it, but not them.
So it really needs to be down to the street address to give a good answer.
And Verizon (as well as most other providers) won't give an its coming.
1) Without a defined time frame, people will keep asking when.
2) They don't want to tip their hand for competitive reasons.
Your comment made two important points, namely that an exchange covers a wide area and that Verizon might want to keep some of its information private. I addressed both of those points, somewhat, in my suggestion.
First, I had an idea that some users might not want to enter their entire phone number, out of concern that the information would be misusued. The area code and exchange is much less personal.
Second, I wanted to keep the costs down for Verizon. The cost of maintaining current data for each exchange in the country is a tiny fraction of the cost of doing the same thing for each household in the country.
Third, Verizon may wish to keep some of its future plans private, but not always. Certainly, for every exchange where FIOS is offered, that information is public knowledge. And for every exchange not served by Verizon, that information is public, too. Where my suggestion might cause Verizon to be less than fully candid is where they are offering only DSL, but have an undisclosed plan to upgrade to FIOS service. In such cases, the user might only be given public information, and not really told what Verizon plans to do.
Given these limitations, what benefit does the user get? What benefit does Verizon get? I claim that 90% of the time, the user gets the info needed to skip a useless call to a Verizon sales rep. And likewise, Verizon doesn't have to field a mountains of sales calls that can't possibly result in a sale.
That's the way I see it. But your points are important ones, and they deserve full consideration.
It turns out that Verizon already has a section of this website designed to answer questions about FIOS availability. I'm not sure whether non customers can access it or not.
Only one thing wrong: it doesn't work! If you try to use it, it gets caught in an endless loop. First, it wants your street address. Then, once it gets that, it notices that there is an existing customer at that address, ansk oyu, if you are that customer, to login. Once you log in, it asks you if you want to change your service. When you click "yes", it loops back to asking you for your address. And so on, endlessly.
Unless other people have a better experience, my expectation is that this feature has resulted in zero sales. I wonder if Verizon tests their own stuff, as if they were a user...