Verizon launches Fios at near gigabit speeds, rivaling Google Fiber

Edward C. Baig

NEW YORK — When it comes to your home Internet, you can never have enough bandwidth. Verizon understands this and said on Monday it was ready to roll out near gigabit speeds to more than 8 million potential customers in eight east coast markets. .

The move puts pressure on Verizon’s competitors in the rapidly evolving broadband market. Rivals Comcast, Google Fiber, and AT&T are also pushing hard on their own gigabit per second networks. Competing builds are generally good news for consumers.

How fast is it? Verizon promises downloads as fast as 940 megabits per second (Mbps) and downloads as fast as 880 Mbps. You’ll be able to grab an epic Hollywood blockbuster in seconds and share fast broadband among the growing number of home internet connected devices.

The price is right, but there is a catch. Verizon’s Gigabit Fios connection service will cost $ 69.99 for standalone service and start at $ 79.99 as part of a “triple play” package with TV and digital voice service. Prices, however, apply only to new customers who order online; the price of the second-year package (on a two-year deal) climbs to $ 84.99.

Existing Fios customers will be able to upgrade online starting April 30, at prices that will vary based on your current level of service and what you are currently paying for. For example, a Fios subscriber getting 150 Mbps today will be able, starting April 30, to upgrade to Fios Gigabit for $ 20 more than they are currently paying, says Verizon.

Upgrade or fall behind

Verizon isn’t the only company to offer blazing bandwidth speeds. Google Fiber and its heavy rivals in telecommunications and cable are all competing in the same gigabit game. Cable companies have adopted an industry standard known as DOCSIS 3.1. It is short for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification, an approach to provide speeds similar to those of fiber over existing cable lines.

“Wherever there is FiOS, there is also a cable operator who is now upgrading to DOCSIS 3.1,” says analyst Roger Entner of Recon Analytics. “This means Verizon must switch to Gigabit Ethernet or become uncompetitive. In some markets Verizon is ahead of cable companies, in some it is lagging behind.”

Google Fiber was announced in 2010, and it was an early catalyst to alleviate fast gigabit speeds as it tried to disrupt the lockdown that telecom and cable companies had on broadband. The rollout did not go as planned and parent company Alphabet eventually halted its expansion into new markets, providing an opening for rivals.

Whether you as a consumer can benefit from faster broadband depends almost entirely on where you are calling in your home. “If you don’t live in one of these areas you’re stuck with whatever is available, which in many cases may be just one or two options, likely a cable company offering decent speeds. and a phone company offering something slower like DSL, ”says Jan Dawson, Jackdaw analyst.

Eligible markets for the Fios upgrade include parts of New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Richmond, Virginia, Hampton Roads, Virginia, Boston, Providence, and Washington, DC

“It is clear that Verizon will target its most competitive markets first,” said Erik Keith, analyst at GlobalData.

In these markets, Verizon now only offers two levels of standalone service for new customers, the aforementioned price of $ 69.99 for customers who purchase the latest offer or $ 39.99 for people for whom 50 Mbps is sufficient.

For comparison, in 2010, 50 Mbps was the maximum speed Fios customers could get, says Verizon spokesperson Ray McConville, and they paid around $ 200 per month for the service. And just over three months ago, Verizon launched what it called the “Fios Instant Internet” service with symmetrical download and upload speeds of 750 Mbps.

As well as being faster, the Gigabit offering is also significantly cheaper than Verizon’s Instant Internet, which costs $ 149.99 for standalone Internet service ($ 169.99 as part of a triple play plan). ).

As part of the latest offer, you may or may not need a new modem.

5G is coming

While no single app on the web today can harness gigabit speeds, the benefits come when you consider the number of home devices requiring internet connectivity, a trend that will only continue to grow over the years. era of the Internet of Things (IoT). The NPD group recently reported that there are now 734 million connected devices in use in U.S. Internet homes, an average of 7.8 connected devices per household. This represents an increase of 64 million devices installed and connected to the Internet over the past year.

Verizon claims that Fios Gigabit allows speeds 20 times faster than most people today and, more importantly, can connect 100 devices simultaneously.

In a recent demonstration of Instant Internet Service at Verizon’s New York City offices, the company played multiple 4K videos while a variety of smart connected devices buzzed at the same time. The company also downloaded Angry Birds movie in 48 seconds.

Eventually, competition could come from next-generation 5G wireless solutions in the home. But don’t hold your breath. “It will take many years to deploy this infrastructure and achieve competitive wireless speeds and prices compared to fiber-based broadband,” Dawson said. “Right now, while LTE can achieve decent speeds, all providers start slowing down service or charging for overruns once you cross fairly low data consumption thresholds each month, so wireless doesn’t ‘doesn’t really offer any significant competition for home broadband connections today. “

Keith agrees, “The reality is that for broadcast-quality television, nothing beats a fixed and wired network, and most fixed broadband services have no data caps.

Contribution: Eli Blumenthal @eliblumenthal

Email: [email protected]; Follow USA Today Personal Tech Columnist @edbaig on Twitter

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