Earlier this evening, a Verizon spokesperson sent out a link to a post on Verizon’s blog about the recently announced 100 Mbps broadband offer from Cablevision, a Bethpage, N.Y.-based cable company. The offer was a “parlor trick,” Verizon said. That argument is one we’ve heard often when it comes to cable broadband.
With today’s technology, you don’t have to break much of a sweat to deliver 100 Mbps to a few customers. But given the inherent limits of the cable platform, a cluster of bandwidth junkies living near each other could be a real problem. One estimate is that a single 101 Mbps customer would use some 60% of the capacity in a neighborhood. Other users? Outta luck.
DSL Reports’ Karl Bode has the best response to that charge. “We watched Cablevision completely take the brakes off of DOCSIS 2.0 by offering consumers uncapped (in the true sense of the word) 30Mbps connections, and the company managed to survive the last three years without any sort of ‘coaxapocalypse,'” he writes.
I had the same thought and had a back-and-forth with Verizon’s spokesperson, who essentially said that GPON is a better technology option and they deliver what they promise. Fair enough — I have yet to hear anyone complain about bandwidth delivered by Verizon’s FiOS. At the same time, no major hue and cry has broken out over Cablevision’s cable broadband performance. Cablevision is selling broadband to half the homes in its service area, so any problems would be aired pretty quickly.
To me, Verizon’s response to the Cablevision offer shows that they are finding themselves on the back foot. They don’t have a 100 Mbps service. Cablevision’s offer puts pricing pressure on Verizon’s 50 Mbps offer, which costs upwards of $140 a month. Any price competition gives Verizon, which has spent $23 billion on its FiOS buildout, fiscal heartburn.
I bet we haven’t heard the last of this battle of broadband service providers. That’s OK — I’m glad to see that at least in one part of the country, broadband competition is working and resulting in better options for consumers. I wish that were the case in San Francisco.