Verizon Jacks Up the Speed

Verizon’s FiOS service has become very popular with some users for its outstanding broadband service speeds. It doesn’t seem that long ago that getting a couple Mbps over DSL was amazing; now FiOS service starts at 15 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload. And Verizon has now raised the ante.

Recognizing that broadband households are using more and more data from the Internet, Verizon has introduced “FiOS Quantum” service. This covers four new options: 50/25, 75/35, 150/65 and 300/65. (The first number is the download speed in Mbps, and the second number is the upload speed.) These rates are intended to support simultaneous streaming of video content from the Internet to multiple devices in the home at the same time. (Netflix recommends at least 3 Mbps download speeds for DVD quality, and 5 Mbps for HD quality.) It also will speed the downloading of content; Verizon estimates that you’ll be able to download a full-length DVD-quality move in about 20 seconds at the top speed of 300 Mbps, which can also suck down a full HD movie in a little over two minutes.

Triple-play bundles with the 50/25 service will start at $110, which is just $10 more than the starting price for triple-play bundles with 15/5 service. That’s more than triple the download speed, which could be attractive for many households.

Neither the press release nor the Verizon website makes any mention of monthly data caps, so presumably you get unlimited use at these speeds (unlike the company’s plans to put limits on wireless data transfers for their mobile phones and other devices).

This is a smart move for Verizon; it helps put some open water between them and their cable company competitors in terms of top speeds offered. It also sets up the FiOS service as the go-to choice for a fat data pipe into the home. It may also signal that Verizon recognizes that future success may lie in delivering data on-demand to consumers, as opposed to the linear broadcast of content that we still call “television.”