Top that, cable! Verizon offers 300 Mbps home broadband

Bored with your 100 Mbps connection? Verizon (s vz) plans to offer customers up to 300 Mbps down via its FiOS fiber service next month. That’s double Verizon’s current top speed of 150 Mbps down and a slam against cable companies trying to compete with Big Red. Current cable technology tops out at about 100 Mbps although across the Atlantic, Virgin has taken the top speeds using cable broadband technology up to 200 Mbps.

Verizon will also add a 75/35 tier with download speeds of 75 MBps and upload speeds of 35 Mbps. On the upload side, the 300 Mbps package will feature 65 Mbps upload speeds. Verizon hasn’t yet disclosed the cost for these speeds, but all excepting the 300 Mbps service can also be bundled with Verizon’s pay TV and voice services. And because there’s no data cap on Verizon, you can blow out your modem with your usage and not get cut off or charged more for a bucket of 50 more gigabytes per month.

Verizon clearly understands how people are using the Internet to consume more of their entertainment and do most of their communications. It also understands the impact of more devices in the home. For example it recommends its new 75/35 Mbps for a household that “streams HD movies to the TV, downloads or uploads video files, participates in multiplayer gaming, and has three or more Internet-connected users on multiple devices.”

The higher 150/65 and 300/65 Mbps speed tiers are aimed at larger families with 5 or more people doing streaming, gaming, etc. things on a variety of devices. And thanks to new routers coming out that will support gigabit Wi-Fi, the networks inside our homes will be able to pass along the faster network experience throughout the home.

Verizon offers the following comparisons of the top speeds:

With a 300 Mbps speed, consumers can download a two-hour, standard-definition movie (1.5 gigabytes) in less than 40 seconds; and a two-hour, high-definition movie (5 GB) in 2.2 minutes. On a 150 Mbps connection, the same two-hour, SD movie can be downloaded in less than 80 seconds, and the two-hour, HD movie in less than four-and-a-half minutes.

And most important are the things we don’t even know that we want to download. Fast, low-latency fiber-to-the-home connections offer the possibility of medical care in the home, video presence in HD, or maybe even your own personal holodeck. As efforts to build gigabit networks expand around the country, we’re going to see new applications. Verizon at least is letting its customers get a taste of what those might be. With faster speeds and without a data cap to keep them in check.