Verizon has had yet another change of heart when it comes to their fiber optic FiOS network. Anyone that has followed Verizon’s FiOS network for any length of time has probably come to the conclusion that either Verizon’s executives are up to some super-genius scheme or they may just be incredibly indecisive; one week they are expanding, the next week they are considering selling off entire markets and moving on to something else. The good news is that either way, this is a great week for FiOS consumers as the company is getting ready to drop a 300 Mbps broadband bomb on the market.
When, Where, and How Much?
If you are like us, you were hooked at the ‘300 Mbps’ part of the last sentence in the last paragraph. If your heart rate has jumped up a few notches, then we have some bad news: we’re still not entirely sure which markets will get this package or how much it will cost. The good news is that we do know that a late June/early July is the intended roll out for the service, and we hear good things about the upload speed as well at 65 Mbps.
While we do not know exactly where the new FiOS speeds will be deployed, we think that it is a safe bet that the company will start in some of its larger markets. If you are in a city with at least a 7-digit population then you are likely to be amongst the first eligible for such a service.
Cost is a completely different issue. Considering that literally nothing on the market short of enterprise-grade data services compete in terms of performance, we are not sure just how much Verizon will charge for their 300 Mbps services. With little in the way of competition, it is very hard to determine just what the brass at Verizon will decide in this regard.
The Gauntlet is Thrown Down
FiOS its flexing its fiber optic muscles in a very, very large way and at the same time painting a large target on themselves for other ISPs to shoot at. Whether or not other ISPs are able to compete is a completely different question. We have long since been big fans of fiber, as have other ISPs as they all use it internally and some even offer rival services to FiOS, but our appreciation for fiber may not impact the facts. The facts are clear: fiber is retaining its massive lead on metal wiring, and doing so on a percentage basis. For every step that cable and dsl providers make, fiber makes a countermove that is at least half again as massive.
A 100 Mbps jump in speed grades essentially ties for top billing in what most cable companies can offer, and they come with the age old ‘up to’ caveat that fiber does not. Fiber optic systems may not even need to keep this pressure up for long if their prices are decent as it could quickly become a no-contest situation in which metal wires hold ISPs back to the point that large scale fiber network upgrades are a mandatory. Such a day is something that we have long dreamt about as it could usher in an entirely new era of broadband.
There is at least a single contender on the horizon: Google. Google is leading the way in fiber optic networks and will be deploying a 1 Gbps solution of their own. Add to this networking over power lines, such as an unlikely project in Chattanooga, TN, and there are at least a few companies serious about the evolution of broadband.
Let Us Know
When Verizon’s 300 Mbps service hits your area let us know! Best of all, let us know how much it costs by dropping us a line in the comments section!