FierceTelecom's 2011 Predictions: Verizon continues to up FiOS speed ante

Watch out cable, Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is going to continue to expand the speed of its Fiber to the Premises (FTTP)-based FiOS service throughout 2011.

Evidence of this ongoing drive was seen at Verizon throughout 2010 despite the fact that the RBOC declared in late 2009 that it would focus the majority of its FTTP build out on remaining markets and those where it had recently established video franchise agreements.

Among the notable developments of Verizon's ongoing speed drive in 2010, included the introduction of a 150/35 Mbps speed tier for both residential and later SMB customers and the no contract service options.

Available on either a contract or non-contract option, the 150 Mbps service tier is obviously a way to defend itself against cable's ongoing speed movement via its DOCSIS 3.0 migration on not fiber, but its existing HFC network.

Although it will take time before the 150 Mbps tier is available throughout Verizon's entire FiOS footprint, the continual focus on upping speeds is all about providing enough headroom for new applications at the home and business.

In anticipation of this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a Multichannel News report emerged that Verizon plans to launch a trial with a number of New Jersey homes for its Home Monitoring and Control service. Among other things, the new service would allow FiOS users to remotely lock or unlock doors, adjust thermostats, power and turn off and on lights via smartphone, PC or FiOS TV widget. Along with home monitoring, Verizon plans to also display a premium HD videoconferencing service for FiOS using Cisco's umi device.

Likewise, the 150 Mbps tier will also resonate with the diverse SMB market (remote radiology clinics, law firms and graphic designers) that require large amounts of bandwidth, but up till now have had little choice other than purchasing expensive T1 circuits or switching to cable.

Of course, the introduction of the 150 Mbps speed tier is only the tip of the iceberg in Verizon's speed quest.

In 2010, Verizon conducted a 10/2.5 Gbps speed trial in Taunton, Mass. And while it will be quite a ways off until Verizon will offer a 10 Gbps FiOS service, the continual speed upgrades since initially launching the service in 2004 are a good indicator that it wants to anticipate the user's future bandwidth needs.  

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