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The Rich Get Richer: Verizon Ups FiOS to 150 Mbps

Updated: Verizon Communications (s vz) today announced an even faster tier of fiber-to-the-home service: 150 Mbps down and 35 Mbps up. For folks like myself still stuck on first generation DOCSIS cable or plain old DSL, the digital divide grew by a couple of feet. But for the lucky 12.5 million people living in an area where Verizon’s FiOS service is available, by the end of this year, they will have the fastest broadband from a major ISP in the nation for an eye-popping $194.99 per month (to get that price you need to sign up for Verizon voice service as well as commit to a one-year contract). Small businesses can purchase the service as well. Verizon will continue to offer its other FiOS service tiers that go all the way down to a 15 Mbps down/5 Mbps up offering.

Update: Shame on me for saying Verizon has the fastest broadband in the nation when I so clearly know better. For those that want more details, check out this post, this post and this post with details on other fast service providers in the U.S. For folks providing faster speeds internationally check out this list.

For those wondering what 150 Mbps is good for (other than bragging rights), Verizon says:

With a downstream speed of 150 Mbps, consumers can download a two-hour, standard-definition movie (1.5 gigabytes) in less than 80 seconds, and a two-hour HD movie (5 GB) in less than four and a half minutes. Downloading 20 high-resolution photographs (100 megabytes) would take less than five and a half seconds using the 150/35 Mbps service. With the 35 Mbps upstream speed, consumers can upload those same 20 high-resolution photos in less than 23 seconds.

Verizon said the faster service is all part of plans to bring services like remote backup, 3-D television and real-time video conferencing to the home. It also said it will eventually pass 18 million homes with its service. However, in a nation with about 115 million households, according to U.S. Census estimates, there are plenty who won’t get FiOS speeds. Sure, cable providers have pledged to bring out faster DOCSIS 3.0 technology by 2013 for much of the nation, which is currently delivering speeds of about 100 or 50 Mbps down and 15 Mbps up. And there’s Google’s (s goog) small fiber-to-the-home efforts, as well as municipal fiber to the home, but the race for better wireline broadband doesn’t feel like a priority. At the federal level, we have a goal of delivering 100 Mbps down to 100 million households by 2020, but that’s a goal in the same way managing to brush my teeth every morning is goal. It’s going to happen— and it’s not going to take a lot of effort or thought.

By letting companies such as Verizon set the pace of our broadband speed, the country lets ISPs set the pace of innovation in many ways. In areas where Verizon and cable aren’t battling for the title of the fastest provider, the speed of broadband connections isn’t rising as quickly and the costs aren’t going down. Sure, mobile Internet is the future, but wireline broadband is the platform on which mobile has to rest, for both offloading data and for the backhaul. Plus, for truly immersive virtual experiences, the home, schoolroom or work is still going to be the place one settles down for an intensive online session. So while Verizon’s speed boost announced today is a huge win for the 12.5 million customers who could get it, for the killer applications to develop and the end prices of such fast service to drop, the rest of the country has to see similar offerings as well. I hope it’s soon, because my 7 Mbps down and 480 kbps up have me realizing I’m on the wrong side of the divide.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Tycho Moon

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20 Responses to “The Rich Get Richer: Verizon Ups FiOS to 150 Mbps”

  1. It matters. I live in the southeast digital fortress dominated by Time Warner with AT&T running a far distant second. I have noticed an increase in my speed. I have a “best effort” connection of 7 mbps but in the early morning I can pull up to 16 mbps. That isn’t because they want to, it is because the competition is doing elsewhere. Nuff said

  2. Chattanooga even announced last week that they were doubling the speed of all their various tiers on December 16, meaning that not only can you get 1gbps symmetrical for $317, but my existing 100mbps which is $138 will be 200mbps soon. Verizon ever done anything like double connection speeds for free?

  3. The fastest in the nation? Stacey actually covered faster speeds – when Chattanooga announced a 150Mbps SYMMETRICAL tier over the summer and then in September, when they announced a 1Gbps symmetrical tier … both of which are certainly faster than what Verizon has planned for the end of the year.

  4. I’m in the same boat with ComCraptastic broadband. Which continues in decline as they fart around with several technologies to throttle any potential earth-threatening, bedroom-based, teenage centers of torrenting.

    The upload speeds available at my home office have actually increased 30-50%. Who made that decision?

    This has been matched by download speeds which have decreased 30-50%.

    Thank you, Comcast. I expect Verizon will offer FIOS in the capitol city region where I live in another 50 years or so.

  5. This would be wonderful, except that those of us with FiOS in NYC are stuck at 20/5 in many of the now wired buildings (and no TV either, though Verizon has been promoting triple play in the area for the last 2 years). Verizon’s VDSL implementation for most apartment buildings severely limits speeds, and they won’t provide any info on when any upgrades will happen (if they ever do). This has been going on for the past 2 years now!

  6. John Kalla

    So what’s the cap with FIOS? And will it be higher than the current cap (if there is one)? Nobody ever mentions caps anymore, though they’re very restrictive when you start getting into high speeds like this.

  7. John Houle

    The speed sounds great. The price not so great. This is probably a prelude to TV over the internet. When that reaches critical mass, I think we’ll be facing much higher internet service rates.

  8. Tyler Jewell5 year

    For what it’s worth, Paxio, a local provider in San Jose, has been running fiber into new developments for 6 years in the Bay Area. For those lucky enough to have this option, they offer 1 gbps up / down for around 320 / month. This contradicts the point about FIOS customers having the highest speeds in the country.

    The $45 / month plan offers about 30 mbps up & down, with the $20 / month plan around 10 mbps.