The new tier, offered under Verizon's new FiOS Quantum brand, ensures that Verizon FiOS continues to outpace U.S. cable's current crop of Docsis 3.0 cable modem services.
The 300Mbit/s tier doubles the downstream speeds of its previous, high-end tier. The company's 300Mbit/s and 150Mbit/s tiers are available only to Verizon customers connected to a GPON terminal. Anyone on a BPON terminal who qualifies for the GPON services will require a new terminal. When Verizon announced the speeds of the new tiers in late May, it noted that the "majority" of FiOS customers qualify for the two top FiOS speed tiers.
Verizon has retained its entry-level tier, which supports 15Mbit/s downsteam by 5Mbit/s upstream and won't carry the Quantum name. The carrier has also replaced and at least doubled the speeds of its previous 25Mbit/s and 35Mbit/s tiers. And they'll pay a bit more, too. Verizon acknowledged that most FiOS bundle customers will pay $10 to $15 more per month, but said they may be able to tweak their FiOS TV tiers to pay roughly the same monthly total that they pay now.
Here's how the rest of the lineup stacks up:
- 150/65 Mbit/s: Triple-play bundles range from $169.99 to $174.99 per month for new FiOS subs; double-play bundles with FiOS TV go for $154.99 to $159.99. The 150-meg tier sells for $94.99 as a standalone with a two-year contract or $99.99 per month on a month-to-month basis.
- 75/35 Mbit/s: Triple-play bundles range from $114 to $154.99 per month, and double-play bundles with FiOS TV run from $99.99 to $139.99 per month. The standalone sells for $84.99 per month with a two-year contract or $89.99 per month without.
- 50/25 Mbit/s: Triple-play bundles sell in the range of $109.99 to $149.99 per month for new customers, with double-play bundles (again with FiOS TV) going for $94.99 to $134.99 per month. The standalone service goes for $74.99 per month with a two-year contract or $79.99 per month without.
- 15/5 Mbit/s: Double-play bundles range from $84.99 to $129.99 per month, while the standalone service costs $64.99 per month with a two-year contract or $69.99 without.
Although few customers are expected to take the two top tiers, the existing 150Mbit/s offering and newer 300Mbit/s service will continue to give Verizon FiOS bragging rights over the fastest Docsis 3.0 tiers offered by U.S. cable operators. Among the cable competition, Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) sells a 101Mbit/s service for $104.95 per month, while Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has rolled out a 105Mbit/s tier that sells for $199.95 per month. Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) has yet to breach the 100Mbit/s mark with a residential cable modem service; its current high-end "Ultimate" tier tops out at 50Mbit/s downstream.
But cable does have the technical capability to match or exceed the present FiOS lineup, at least in the downstream. Current-generation Docsis 3.0 modems can bond eight 6MHz-wide channels -- enough for maximum bursts of 320Mbit/s. The latest D3 chip from Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) can bond 24 channels and start to approach max speeds of 1Gbit/s. Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) is said to be working on a 32-channel Docsis 3.0 chip that will be capable of speeds of about 1.2Gbit/s.
- Broadcom's Next D3 Chip Will Leapfrog Intel
- Intel's New Docsis 3.0 Chip Guns for 1-Gig
- Verizon Tees Up 300-Meg FiOS Tier
- Comcast's Target: 105-Meg D3 Downstream
- Cablevision Debuts 101-Mbit/s Wideband Service
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable