Reliability. It's at the heart of FiOS.
A few quick war stories ...
October 29, 2011. A huge snowstorm wallops NJ and causes massive damage - trees down everywhere, power lines snapped in half, hundreds of thousands of homes without power. Thankfully, I was spared - our power was out for about 12 hours in total... not so bad.
But a good friend of mine who lives close by was not so lucky. These were the telephone poles in his neighborhood:
As the temperature in his house continued to drop due to loss of power, I offered up my portable generator. When I got to his house, it was 49 degrees inside. We wired up a plug to his furnace, started the generator, and had heat running in no time. We then added his refrigerator and a few indoor lights.
Just for fun, we thought, let's see what FiOS looks like. We ran a cord to his ONT, and powered it up... after a few blinking lights, it synced up! Given the damage to the power poles in the neighborhood, we never expected that.... but that then forced us to run more power cords to his Internet router, laptop, plasma TV & DVR.
He was the only person in that neighborhood with a warm house, cold beer, Internet & TV! Life is sweet with FiOS.
.... and that brings us to Hurricane Sandy.
I cannot begin to tell you how THANKFUL I was for FiOS when Hurricane Sandy came by. I lost power for 8 days - and throughout those 8 days, the only constant was FiOS. I have a SmartUPS-1500 hooked up to my ONT, which gives me about 8 hours of runtime. I was running the generator 8 hours on, 4 hours off for those 8 days. The Smart-UPS recharged during the 8 "on" hours, so it was more than enough juice to make it through the "off" hours. I had 24x7 Internet and telephone connectivity, and TV any time the generator was running to power the Plasma & LCD TVs.
How is FiOS so reliable? Great design.
#1 - The entire "outdoor" part of FiOS is a "passive optical network" (PON). That means that ALL of the outdoor components need no electricity; this is in direct contrast to the cable company's network, where the outdoor "nodes" require power.
#2 - The outdoor cabling is kevlar-sheathed. They're TOUGH. We always think of fiber as fragile; not so. When FiOS gets deployed on the outdoor poles, you'll see extra cable bundled up - that's designed so that if there is a strain on the cable, the slack loosens and allows the FiOS lines to hit the ground without breaking. Really great stuff.
FiOS was our lifeline through Hurricane Sandy. We stayed in touch with family, had immediate updates and were able to go on "as close to normal as possible". Kudos to Verizon for building such a robust, reliable product! It was truly our lifeline to the outside world, since without it, we were completely stuck - trees down meant we couldn't leave the neighborhood, power out meant no other way for connectivity.