Metered Broadband Is the Future: Verizon CTO

dicklynchsmallVerizon (s vz) Chief Technology Officer Dick Lynch said today that in the coming years, wired broadband will likely be sold in packages based on the amount of data a person wants to consume, much like wireless broadband is sold today. In comments made to press at the 2009 Fiber to the Home Conference Expo in Houston, Lynch stressed that he wasn’t announcing a shift in pricing for Verizon, but that: “We’re going to have to consider pricing structures that allow us to sell packages of bytes, and at the end of the day the concept of a flat-rate infinitely expandable service is unachievable.”

He went on to explain that the pricing paradigm shift will mirror what already exists in the wireless world, rather than a per-GB pricing model. Verizon has been one of the last holdouts on the idea of metered broadband, in which an ISP charges users based on the amount of data they consume as opposed to charging a flat-rate fee for an always-on connection. The company has never said it would meter its broadband, but has defended the right of other carriers to do so.

Lynch’s comments came amid a broad discussion about net neutrality, notably how a carrier can manage its network and deliver quality applications without running afoul of the principles. Given the rise in high-bandwidth applications and services Lynch said, “We believe that you have to be allowed to have a level of service that is not on a public Internet. What you’re suggesting is different kind of IP service that’s not delivered over the public Internet and that needs to be part of the option set in the argument.”

While he admitted that there are legitimate fears around net neutrality that need to be addressed, he differentiated between the public Internet and the idea of services that will require more than a best effort attempt at delivery. However, he said, “There are services that will not be happy on the public Internet, and we don’t want to be in a place where we have to provide the public Internet as the only place to deliver those services.”

Below I’ve also include a video taken the evening before with Mark Wegleitner, senior VP of technology for Verizon. We talked about the history of Verizon’s FiOS push, a bit about what one might do with a symmetrical 100 Mbps connection (which Verizon doesn’t offer today, but could) and why wired will never be replaced by wireless broadband as the home connection to the web.