You probably expect Internet service in your new home. I know the answer is yes…
But it is important to understand, early on, the scope of your post-Settlement “project” especially completing the last 100 feet getting Fios into your new home.
Vienna, Virginia is active with construction these days with builders paying high prices to tear down 1950 era split-level houses to build today’s Custom Craftsman.
For the most part, these are smart homes delivered with energy star appliances and ratings.
But the missing link is the final hook-up to high speed internet. You need to know: high speed internet isn’t automatic like power, gas , or water service.
Vienna is served by Verizon Fios and by Cox Communications providingcompetitive high speed, digital communications bundles.
They want to set up digital service with new home owners after Settlement, and hopefully keep them (you) paying $89.99 every month for the next decade.
Going the last 100 feet…
If you are considering a new home in Vienna, here are a few tips to consider now so you will understand the potential scope of this project… getting digital service from the pole into your house.
Getting Fios from the telephone pole to the house is a project you will have to tackle.
- Are the utilities underground?
- Or, are there wires (aerial)?
Although you will be a customer for the next decade, they will need to schedule with the contractor if any digging is required and charge you for the work.
It is imperative that you take a look at this project before settlement possibly with your home inspector or real estate agent. Ask them what they see when it comes to telecommunications equipment in the neighborhood.
- Where are the utility poles
- Are the utilities underground?
- Is the utility pole across the street?
Over the years I have reminded clients to contact utilities prior to Settlement. And I have always told them it may take a week days to set up Fios or Cox.
Since most new construction in Vienna involves tear downs and infill homes, Verizon or Cox typically has old records showing wires (aerial) connections.
Typically they send an aerial technician out to establish service who will say, “you have underground service, and I don’t do that work.”
Then a couple of days later another technician shows up to connect service, often leaving a wire running across the lawn or across a sidewalk because it is the sub-contractor who buries the wire.
Connecting the service seems pretty low-tech if you ask me, but this is what you need to expect.
The perfect Fios storm
Recently, when a client was establishing service on a new home located at the end of a cul-de-sac, a new Verizon vs. Builder problem was revealed.
They seem to be fighting a little and forgetting about the consumer.
In this case, the utility pole was located about 250′ diagonally across the street. When power was established, the contractor installed an underground conduit for the power cable.
Previously, this contractor would have installed an additional conduit for future communications wires. But recently the agreement to install that communications conduit expired and, in this case, was not installed.
The estimate to dig up the street again and install the conduit was $5,000 to $7,000. All at the new owner’s expense!
The engineering involved coordination with the Town of Vienna and VDOT and may take weeks before any work could start.
Imagine, buying a new home and finding out you won’t have internet for weeks? And requiring you, the subscriber, to pay thousands?
In the end, the remedy was adding an aerial line from the pole.
What to look for and a recommendation
New homes in Vienna VA are being built in older neighborhoods where telephone poles dot the streets.
Underground utilities such as incoming water lines and sewer laterals should have been replaced (you need to ask), and natural gas lines are typically replaced too.
Interior smart-home technology is installed by a sub-contractor during construction often placing a central communications hub in a utility area and labeling wiring. That sub-contractor is contacted after Settlement and digital communication service is established.
You need to look at the existing utility poles near or on the property. If the pole is on “your” property then connecting to Fios or Cox won’t be too hard, but remember if there is a sidewalk between the pole and the house then it may take a few weeks to get the proper contractor to place the conduit under the sidewalk.
On a personal note, when I walk my dog I have seen these cables lying across sidewalks for a month or more!
The biggest issue is when the only pole is across the street… and a communications conduit wasn’t installed.
- Ask the builder why the conduit wasn’t installed
- Understand the scope of the project
- Ask for a set-aside amount to be used to pay the bill after settlement
High speed internet is a first-world luxury, I admit, but it has become a necessity especially for those who work at home where big files get shared and video is a fact of life.
Take the time and understand your situation early so you will know what to expect. Good luck!