Verizon Tees Up 300-Meg FiOS Tier

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) will try to put cable's current generation of Docsis 3.0 technology to shame by cranking up its FiOS Internet speeds and unleashing a new high-end tier that tops out at 300Mbit/s downsteam and 65Mbit/s upstream.

Verizon's new FiOS Internet downstream speeds will more than double in some cases. Verizon will also retain its current low-end product, which offers 15Mbit/s down by 5Mbit/s up. Verizon said it will announce pricing on the new tiers when they take effect sometime next month. Here's how the changes stack up.

Verizon noted that only customers connected to a GPON terminal can get the 150-Meg and 300-Meg tiers; anyone on a BPON terminal who qualifies for the GPON services will require a new terminal. Verizon said the "majority" if FiOS customers can order the two top FiOS speed tiers, but wasn't more specific.

Why this matters
Verizon highlighted the over-the-top video angle, noting that it expects video to make up half of its Web traffic by year-end, and "growing to 90 percent in just a few years." Still, the coming speed boost will give Verizon and FiOS continued bragging rights against U.S. cable operators, which have been countering fiber-to-the-home deployments with Docsis 3.0 tiers that can produce speed bursts of 100Mbit/s or more. Among recent deployments, Videotron Ltd. of Canada recently set the speed bar among North American cable operators with the launch of a 200-Meg Docsis 3.0 tier. Verizon's FiOS upgrades will also deflect some attention away from its lagging DSL platform. (See Verizon Downplays DSL in FiOS Markets .)

The FiOS upgrades, first reported by DSL Reports earlier this month, also come into play a week after Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) introduced its next-generation Docsis 3.0 chipsets, including a "media gateway" configuration that can bond 24 downstream channels -- enough to produce maximum downstream speeds approaching 1Gbit/s. Modems and gateways based on Intel's Puma6 platform are expected to be ready by the fourth quarter. Some top cable gear vendors are also proposing a refresh to Docsis that could push cable plant capacities to 10Gbit/s downstream and 2Gbit/s upstream.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:31:38 PM
re: Verizon Tees Up 300-Meg FiOS Tier

Verizon isn't saying exactly *when* these new tiers will come into play, but a spokesman said it will likely be "several weeks" before they become available, putting the introduction somewhere in the "middle part of June."  As for the BPON/GPON breakdown, Verizon's not giving raw numbers, reiterating only that the majority of the FiOS footprint is "GPON capable" and adding that capability as it grows the base of the FTTP network. JB


macemoneta 12/5/2012 | 5:31:36 PM
re: Verizon Tees Up 300-Meg FiOS Tier

Without reasonable pricing, the penetration of higher speeds will still be very low, and well below the even higher speeds in international markets.

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:31:35 PM
re: Verizon Tees Up 300-Meg FiOS Tier

I agree with you on that; it won't attract the bulk of the subs. But I expect Verizon will use the new tiers as a marketing gimmick for a new campaign against cable services. Will be interesting to see if cable falls into that trap and responds by upping its D3 tiers in the next 3-4 months. JB

Flook 12/5/2012 | 5:31:27 PM
re: Verizon Tees Up 300-Meg FiOS Tier

Agree. Would also be interesting to find out how US broadband prices compare with other countries--after adjusting for differences in income. I'd bet we in the US do and will be paying comparatively more.

macemoneta 12/5/2012 | 5:31:26 PM
re: Verizon Tees Up 300-Meg FiOS Tier

In Hong Kong for example, 1Gbps is $26 USD, with a cost of living comparable to NYC.  South Korea 1Gbs is $38 USD, with a cost of living about 30% lower.  

steve q 12/5/2012 | 5:31:25 PM
re: Verizon Tees Up 300-Meg FiOS Tier

I will like to see what will happen with verizon wireless and there plan will be with the new Fios speed. Verizon Wireless is looking into new way to push out there plan's with the aws and the cabel I will hope they look at what the Fios data plan and what they are able to give to the business and home user. With the comcast new plan for the Doc3.3 will only work if the aws goes. For the new speed in the Fios people with mdu will not enjoy this to the max and that could be a big problem for verizon Fios if they can not find a different way to give those customer the fastest speed. and those that have moca will have to use cat5 to make the speed work.

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:31:11 PM
re: Verizon Tees Up 300-Meg FiOS Tier

The Verge claims to have some across some pricing on these new tiers... Looks like the 300-meg service could run about $205/month with a two-year commitment -- not exactly a price that will attract alot of buyers, but it still gives something the marketing folks to toot their horns about.  But it's still only $5 more per month than the new price for the 105-meg tier. JB

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