Why does FiOS Digital Voice goes out when it rains?

I have seen a great many posts about landlines going dead every time it rains, but many of the posts I've seen don't specify the type of landline the posters have: POTS (copper lines) or VOIP (Verizon Digital Voice service). Some people specifically refer to copper lines, but I've not been able to find someone who specifically says they have FiOS Digital Voice service. I think most customers don't really know (and they shouldn't have to: they buy phone service, it should just freakin' work, dammit. People should not have to be technicians to use their telephones).

I have a pretty good understanding of why a lot of copper line service goes out when it rains (basically aging infrastructure that isn't well maintained because there's a boatload of it and it's time consuming and expensive to maintain and update and repair and replace and, well, when you put stuff up decades ago, it tends to go pretty much all at the same time, etc etc etc). So I think I get why POTS customers have rainy-day(s) problems.

However, I don't have much understanding of how VOIP (Verizon FiOS Digital Voice) is delivered to my house. I understand what VOIP is - I've not had a POTS line for well over a decade. I've used various VOIP companies over the years, several of which went belly-up so I had to switch to a new provider, etc., as far as I can remember, I've had VOIP with at least four different providers. With all of these providers, I never had a problem with my service going out, regardless of weather (unless my Internet went out). None of these VOIP providers were associated with my Internet provider.

A year ago, I took Verizon up on a great offer to switch to FiOS (I'd been with Comcast for cable and Internet only for a long time and had had soooooo many hair-pulling problems with them that had entered the realm of the surreal (seriously). The offer actually made it cheaper to get Digital Voice than to not get it, so I got it.

I started having issues immediately which aren't germane to this discussion, but I ended up turning off the ringer, then enabling "Do Not Disturb," but still using the phone to make outgoing calls.

That's the background info. 

Here's the crux of the matter: 

Since I don't use the phone often (I have a mobile with unlimited minutes), I don't know if this problem has always existed. But since I do like to use the FiOS landline for outgoing calls to save on battery life on my mobile, I did start to notice it going dead periodically. Verizon's automated troubleshooting didn't help (and often got stuck in a loop) and I was always directed to an agent who said they'd need to send out a technician but that it would cost me boatloads of $$ if the problem was not their fault. Honestly, I don't trust them to honesty assess whose fault it is and they have a financial incentive to "decide" it's my fault, and I don't actually need the landline, so I never have a technician come out - and the problem always goes away by itself with hours or, lately, days.

Today, my landline cordless handsets were displaying a "line in use" message. I went on this forum to try to figure that problem out and found a suggestion to unplug the base, wait a couple of minutes, then plug it back in. This did remove the "line in use" message - but the line is dead.

So since I was already here, I looked around for the "phone line is dead" problem and that's when I discovered soooo many people having problems specifically when it rains and I thought "you know what, it's raining right now and has been all day."

I don't understand how Verizon delivers FiOS Digital Voice to my house, so I don't understand why my landline goes out when it rains. The FiOS TV and Internet work fine.

The problem annoys me because I'm paying for a service that is completely unreliable. It seems that Verizon wants to bundle Digital Voice with a great promo so that I'll come to love it and want to keep it when my promo period ends. Yeah, that's not going to happen, Verizon.

I have no expectation that Verizon will fix this problem - this forum, and the Web in general, are filled to overflowing with people complaining about this problem all over the country and Verizon's inability or unwillingness to fix it. Many of these people are on POTS service and, like I said earlier, I think I understand the reasons for the outages. 

What I don't understand is why does my FiOS Digital Voice go out when it rains (I haven't really tracked weather conditions during outages before today, but I think there is probably a correlation) but my VOIP service, through several different providers, never, ever, ever, ever did?

Can anybody explain it? 

Note: my elderly father, who does not live in my town but who does live in the next town over which is a wealthy suburb outside of Annapolis, MD, has had Verizon FiOS Digital Voice for YEARS with no outages no matter the weather.

An interesting note: when I was Googling this problem, I came across a PDF from the FCC that is just a list of customer complaints, culled from this very Verizon Community Forum, of complaints from customers whose phone lines go dead. Guess the FCC is looking into it? (Hahahahahahahaha.) Click here for the FCC list of complaints PDF. Here's the URL: http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view;NEWECFSSESSION=hW1zV2yCNlHbWNyYy1KP3dwLDH6v7XQLhWCY2ZZrLGT1q9...

1 Reply
Community Leader
Community Leader

Where is your ONT?  Is it exposed to the weather.  How is your wiring from your ONT to your phone.  its probably less subject to the weather but FIOS DV does have those exposures.

FIOS DIGITAL VOICE is delivered to your ONT over the optical fiber.  The ONT converts it to a traditional POTS for access from the ONT to your phone or cordless base station.