Fiber optic phonelines during power outage
LTrotter
Enthusiast - Level 3

I am a bit concerned about the apparent limitations of our fiber optic phone service during a power outage. On the old copper line, the power could be out for a week or more during a major storm, but we could still make and receive calls on the corded phone. With "Digital Voice," however, we'll only have eight hours of phone service during a power outage. We are therefore considering switching back to the copper phoneline but keeping FiOS TV and internet.

Before we decide to switch back, though, I have a question. I have been told that one of the advantages of "Digital Voice" is that the fiber optic line attempts to find another source of power within that eight-hour time frame, and it usually succeeds. I cannot, however, find anything online to verify this claim. So, is it true? Does the fiber optic line normally "reconnect" with a power source to keep the phones running longer than 8 hours during an outage? If it's not getting any power from our house or the battery, how is this possible?

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smith6612
Community Leader
Community Leader

I haven't heard of anything about an alternate power source for Digital Voice. I don't see how that is possible considering Digital Voice essentially works just like FiOS POTS does. The ONT still needs to be powered by the Battery Backup or AC Power, and that's all that would be to it.

Now that you have FiOS, it's going to be difficult to get the Copper service reconnected. Verizon will not normally reconnect the copper unless there's something extreme or there is a medical need that requires the assurance of a copper line. You can ask around to see if you can get it connected or not, but failing that, I would invest in a small generator (tiny camping one, power draw is basically idle run lol) to keep the ONT powered up as needed for the phone service, if it is at all possible to do. The Fiber Optic cabling will remain lit since the Central Office should remain powered off of Diesel Generators/Turbines/Batteries for quite a while.

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smith6612
Community Leader
Community Leader

I haven't heard of anything about an alternate power source for Digital Voice. I don't see how that is possible considering Digital Voice essentially works just like FiOS POTS does. The ONT still needs to be powered by the Battery Backup or AC Power, and that's all that would be to it.

Now that you have FiOS, it's going to be difficult to get the Copper service reconnected. Verizon will not normally reconnect the copper unless there's something extreme or there is a medical need that requires the assurance of a copper line. You can ask around to see if you can get it connected or not, but failing that, I would invest in a small generator (tiny camping one, power draw is basically idle run lol) to keep the ONT powered up as needed for the phone service, if it is at all possible to do. The Fiber Optic cabling will remain lit since the Central Office should remain powered off of Diesel Generators/Turbines/Batteries for quite a while.

LTrotter
Enthusiast - Level 3

Thank you for your response. I think the person who told me may have been mistaken, or perhaps I just didn't fully understand what he said. In any case, I think we've decided to just keep the digital service. We could go back to it (they said we could), but we've decided to just make due. Hopefully everything works out.

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lasagna
Community Leader
Community Leader

The FiOS ONT has a battery backup unit attached to it which keeps the ONT powered during outages typically up to about 8 hours to keep the phone working (view it this way -- there always was a "battery" for power outage situations - it's just that with FiOS instead of the battery being at the phone company end, it's now at your end -- not completely true, but good enough for this purpose).

If you want or need to account for additional outage time, as was suggested you could get a small generator (which is also handy for running a sump pump and some lights as well), or purchase a good size UPS from any office supply/computer/big box store (with only the ONT on it, a larger UPS could run for 48 hours or more), or even additional batteries for the ONT (the batteries are a customer replaceable part and there's nothing which prevents you from having more than one).  Optionally, invest in a power inverter for your car -- I have a Coleman 1200W inverter which can run at lower power levels via the cigarette lighter or can be direct attached to the car battery for higher power output requirements.  Also handy for long trips in the car to power the computer/DVD player, etc.  Inverters are reasonably inexpensive and can be found at most home/big box/discount warehouse stores.

Me personally, I don't use Verizon for phone service, but instead use an Internet VoIP service -- way cheaper -- which goes out as soon as the power goes out.  My backup plan is my cell phone (which I can charge off the car battery in extended outages).  My VoIP internet service has a "power fail" mode which automatically kicks in and forwards incoming calls to my cell phone if my home phone goes offline.