21st century technology in a 1960s house(hold).
January 6, 2009 7:39 AM   Subscribe

Our house has no coaxial cable installed... but I want FiOS. Do I need to get something done before Verizon comes? How much will it cost?

I have FINALLY convinced my mom to switch from dialup to wireless.
I just ordered a beautiful LCD tv.

Our house, which is beaten up and old (but at least we own it), has only been hooked up to regular cable once. Our former tenant had cable in our back bedroom on the bottom floor, but my mom was so convinced that she didn't NEED cable (and that we would never WANT it), that she had someone come and tear that cable out. That is the only place coaxial cable has ever been.

I want to hook up the new tv in our family room on the same floor as that bedroom. It'd also be nice to hook up the 19" LCD I just bought for mom in her bedroom on the third floor, but not essential.

The Verizon site says they do yaddayadda with that box on the outside of the house, but then use the existing coaxial cable inside the house. I've found some sort of relevant descriptions via Google, but nothing that directly addresses my situation. Sooo, do I need to get someone else to install coaxial before Verizon comes? (I have not yet ordered the service.) What does that entail (something about in the walls and drilling a hole in the wall, that much I know)? Or will they be able to do it for a fee? Can I convince them not to charge me?

Please guide me. I'll give you more info if necessary.

(FYI, in case it matters, my area goes with Cox for regular cable, not Comcast, and Cox prices for TV/Internet services are not to my liking.)
posted by hellogoodbye to Technology (12 answers total)
If Verizon confirms that they can supply FIOS to your house, then they should also run the coaxial cable for you (if you do not have it). This is standard procedure for most cable companies since they realize you're not going to pay a monthly service fee if you can't actually watch the television.

The FIOS install takes up to 6 hours, depending on the technician and how ready your house is.

Your best bet is to call your local Verizon FIOS office and ask. Explain to them that you need a technician to drill holes and run coax for you from the FIOS fiber terminal on the side of your house to the room you want the TV in. They shouldn't be charging you a fee for this.
posted by camworld at 7:56 AM on January 6, 2009

Seconding camworld. No one expects you to lay down your own coax. They will do it.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:29 AM on January 6, 2009

Some providers have limits too, like 2 or 3 rooms. I think after that they might start charging you. If you order three boxes then they'll do three drops. That's pretty typical.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:30 AM on January 6, 2009

I've had the comms companies install new taps at a few locations - for data and for cable TV.

They will mount the box to the side of your house, and then drill a hole in your wall to feed a length of co-ax through, and mount it to a wall-plate. They will, if the room is internal, feed it into your cellar instead, and then run it along one of the floor-joists until they feed it up through the wall of the room you need the tap in. A standard drill-thru-the-wall tap costs pretty much nothing, but trickier cable runs may cost extra, depending on how long the cable needs to be.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:32 AM on January 6, 2009

No one expects you to lay down your own coax. They will do it.

Then again, you have to wonder how they're going to do it. They won't start ripping up your walls, laying cables, and putting in jacks, and then replaster and repaint your walls. If your house is small enough, perhaps they will just snake it around the house, tacking it to the baseboards.

Either that, or they will run it outside around the house to the different rooms, drill in from the outside to a jack they put in on the inside.

Personally, I don't like those options, but you probably have no choice unless you want to do it yourself.
posted by poppo at 8:34 AM on January 6, 2009

You need to make sure that you're very clear regarding how you would like them to install the in-house portion of your wiring.

In my experience, most "free cable" installs involve stapling as much cable as is required along baseboards, up and over doorframes, up stairs, maybe even over the family dog if it's in the way. This can make for a pretty sloppy looking install.

If that's not what you want, you may have to go with a contractor to do the in-house portion (unless you are able to do it yourself, it's a pretty simple process - esp. if you have access from the basement)
posted by davey_darling at 8:35 AM on January 6, 2009

Response by poster: hmm, all this talk about cellars and basements... we have neither, our lowest floor is the one i want the tv on . if cable runs along the baseboards, how easily can it be messed up? we have a dog with a history of jostling the phone jacks .

thanks for the answers though, that's 95% of what i wanted to know .
posted by hellogoodbye at 9:46 AM on January 6, 2009

Can your dog pull out big heavy duty staples? I don't think I could do it without a good pair of pliers.

The Verizon guy who did our install put the box in the basement, ran a cable through the floor joists to feed the first floor TV, and then ran a cable outside the house and through the wall to feed the second floor (where he split it to feed the TV and the wireless router). This took him a few hours but certainly not all day, and I think it was about $150, split over our first three bills.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 10:18 AM on January 6, 2009

Along the lines of poppo and davey, a cable installer you find in the yellow pages is going to be much more competent than the Verizon installers. It may cost a couple hundred to have the cable run from where you want it to the cable company's header/box, but it'll be done right. By a human.
posted by rhizome at 11:41 AM on January 6, 2009

Hmm. It probably wouldn't hurt to have an installer do it -- it'll be a lot nicer. But, I have some experience to share. I have just the FiOS internet, and the installer ran an ethernet cable up the side of my house (next to the chimney) and into a bedroom. He then put a jack (one of the outside of the wall stick on types though) there. They probably can do a similar thing with you.
posted by majikstreet at 12:36 PM on January 6, 2009

majikstreet: Where I come from, stapling a cable to the side of a house and terminating with a stick-on jack is the very definition of "incompetent" I'm working with. :) Certainly won't hurt, but it's not great for a house that you own.
posted by rhizome at 6:10 PM on January 6, 2009

Hey, the house is "beaten up and old" so why get all fussy about how the coax is installed? Just get Verizon to do it for free, and enjoy.
posted by exphysicist345 at 6:43 PM on January 6, 2009

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