Fiber … now faster and cheaper

15 Comments

If you live in the US, probably you haven’t noticed it. But fiber networks are growing in popularity, luring people with faster speeds, and now lower prices. PointTopic, the company that tracks the broadband markets says that fiber networks for consumer broadband access are now in fact cheaper than cable connections.

According to a PointTopic report, FTTx tariffs went down 12% to US$28.1, three percent than the average monthly rental for cable modem services. Average access price for a monthly DSL connection is about $25; while cable costs $29.50 a month. Fiber is now going for $28.10 a month.


Fiber is getting a lot of traction in the overseas market, and has higher visibility in Asia and Europe. In the US, Verizon FiOS is the most visible manifestation of the FTTx trend.

Now we might not care much for the Verizon Wireless phone UI, but we would switch to FiOS with all its issues in a heartbeat.
Especially if Verizon promised us a future bandwidth upgrade, and of course if we live in Verizon territory. And better pricing.

Currently, for a 30Mbps/5Mbps Verizon FiOS connection you pay $179.95 per month and for a 15Mbps/2Mbps connection you pay $44.95 per month.
Regardless, the falling fiber access prices are going to help convince consumers switch away from DSL and cable.

‘DSL rentals had been undergoing major price reductions since the beginning of 2006’, points out Vince Chook. ‘But with such a small drop over the quarter, cable modem is certainly losing its price competitiveness.’

15 Comments

Anthony D

It is slowly becoming available all over. I’m in the northern Virginia area and just spoke with Verizon after getting a flyer by one of the FIOS installers. I’ve been wating 2 years for FIOS to catch up with me! My parent in Rhode Island got the 15Mbs FIOS a year ago. Now I can get 30Mbs/5Mbs for $54.95/month and a better TV package for less than what I have now. By next month I will have switched from Comcast services once I take action. My wife is just as excited for some of the channels/movies (FunImation, she loves anime) and for our online gaming and Netflix movie streaming. Had some issues only with Verizon home phone service but I chalk that up to a few individuals only. I bleive right now, more is less with Verizon…Meaning more good things for us for a little less money.

ET

When I left Japan 2 years ago I had just had my first experience with NTT’s “Hikari Fiber” or Fiber optic. Man it was great!! Now I am back in Hawaii and I have the same speed I had when I left!! In Hawaii we now have 3 choices:

  1. Cable (5 Mbps-ish on a good day)
  2. ADSL (1.5 Mbps Pretty consistant)
  3. Clearwire (? Mbps Not sure but I know its Wimax Technology and it is currently little slower than ADSL)
Tim

TO: smb

You are right, and most websites do cap their pipes, since there is a possibility of someone on a corporate connection hogging site’s bandwidth and leaving every one else staring at loading screens. At that rate, however, single user should be able to get whatever content they are after in a short period of time, however, it may interrupt streaming and response-dependant content.

I do think, however, that if average available bandwidth would increase to a true gig/sec – we would see some very interesting things appear on the web, some of which we can’t even imagine at this moment.

sbm

Pardon my ignorance but won’t we run into speed caps just because the serving website can only go so fast. Meaning, even if I can download at 30mbps, not sure how many online services are out there which have beefy hardware and network pipes to actually put out data at this rate. Or I am totally missing something?

John Thacker

But we all know the reality is a bit different.

No. Reality is exactly the speeds promised, at least as far as FiOS goes. Every speakeasy.net speed test I’ve tried gives me exactly the promised bandwidth (well, 14.95Mbs down and 1.95 up, accounting for overhead), and everyone with FiOS over at Broadband Reports says the same thing.

Now cable, of course, may not hit the theoretical maximums as much.

John Thacker

But we all know the reality is a bit different.

No. Reality is exactly the speeds promised, at least as far as FiOS goes. Every speakeasy.net speed test I’ve tried gives me exactly the promised bandwidth, and everyone with FiOS over at Broadband Reports says the same thing.

Now cable, of course, the theoretical maximums may not be hit as much.

John Thacker

Currently, for a 30Mbps/5Mbps Verizon FiOS connection you pay $179.95 per month

Depends on where, actually. In northern Virginia, it’s $54.95/month for 30Mbps/5Mbps. The NYC metro area is similar (strong competition with Cablevision).

And the greater “visibility” aside, fiber is pretty hard to get in most any country, unless you’re in one of a few big cities. It’s not like it’s in France outside of Paris. In Japan, NTT’s fiber to the home was the first to launch and has a nice head start, but was still limited to central Tokyo and Osaka until very recently.

Japan and France do have the advantage of having very high percentages of their populations in their capital cities (much higher than the US.) Pretending that everyone in France or Japan can get fiber, though, is just as ridiculous as pointing to Verizon’s FiOS and saying that its existence in some cities makes everything hunky-dory for everyone in the USA.

matthew

i see diminishing returns for consumers upgrading their dsl or cable connections. even if it is a few times faster, it won’t improve the overall user experience much except in a few cases, like surfing youtube or watching tv shows online.

CJ

In my area, our providers are Verizon for fiber, and Comcast for cable. The following figures are for download speeds.

Verizon’s prices according to
http://www22.verizon.com/content/consumerfios/packages+and+prices/packages+and+prices.htm

Up to 5 Mbps is $34.95
Up to 15 Mbps is $44.95
Up to 30 Mbps is $179.95

Comcast’s prices according to
http://www.comcast.com/shop/buyflow/default.ashx
Up to 6 Mbps $42.95
Up to 8 Mbps $52.95

Very interesting article! I didn’t realize this, so thanks for the heads up!

Karthik

the speeds mentioned are only maximum… But we all know the reality is a bit different. Now ofcourse if you are willing to pay more than $100 then I am sure you will achieve atleast 10MBps/2MBps. But if I want to stay within the $30-$40 range I am not sure I will achieve that much speedy n/w than what I get with my DSL today.
But yeah, as you say Om, the trend shown in the graph is definitely encouraging and in the user’s favor. I am confident the speed/price ratio for fiber optics is bound to drop…I just hope it does in time for iTV/TiVo announcement in 4 weeks :-)

Chris

Hi Om, why Korea and other countries can achieve 100Gbps while we are stuck at the low spectrum here. You wrote an article before but I feel this is ridiculous stifling our growth. I am surprised why leaders like Google, Microsoft can’t take initiatives on their own. The rates given by Verizon are not justified.

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