Verizon unveiled a package of incentives today that give users the triple-play bundle of voice, video and data for $100 a month. The incentives are aimed at getting customers to switch from cable bundles to Verizon’s FiOS TV, and I can’t help but compare what Verizon is offering to my own package of communications services and see how true broadband competition would benefit consumers.
For $100 a month (with an annual contract) Verizon is offering customers unlimited local and long distance calling with Voice Mail, Caller ID and Call Waiting, FiOS Internet with 10/2 Mbps speeds and FiOS TV with up to 295 digital channels, including 14 HD channels. A triple-play bundle from my local cable company costs $140 and the bandwidth is slower (I won’t go into the HD channel debate here). Nor does Verizon limit customers with data tiers or caps, and reiterated that stance to me again today. Yet the company is still making money.
It’s hard to compare apples to apples on bundled plans, because the service offerings are so different, but in a time when cable bills are up by 7.5 percent and broadband providers are talking about caps and metered service, Verizon’s plans to deploy fiber to the home will put pressure on providers that end up competing with the carrier’s FiOS products. FiOS doesn’t just mean a potential check on pricing, but could also galvanize ISPs to offer better services (perhaps even ones customers will pay extra for), which would be a real win.