Verizon unveils FiOS 300 Mbps data speed tier, doubles existing tiers

For anyone lucky enough to have Verizon (NYSE: VZ) FiOS, they'll now be able to get access to even higher speeds as the telco has doubled the speeds of a number of its FiOS Internet tiers and introduced a new speed offering.

John Schommer, Verizon


The service provider is bumping up speeds on three of its current levels: 25/25 will increase to 50/25; 35/35 will climb to 75/35, and 50/20 will jump to 150/65. A new speed tier, 300/65, doubles the current 150/35 top tier.

"A subscriber will maintain the existing speed until their agreement term is up," said John Schommer, Verizon director of product development, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "It's a great opportunity to talk to a customer when they re up and go and have a greater high speed service. It won't be automatic, but when a customer calls and says they want to renew their contract they can elect to get that higher speed service."

He went on to say that he would not reveal the cost of the upgrades because "since we're pre-announcing the pieces with speed, we're going to leave cable guessing a bit to make them nervous."

Verizon new speed tiers 2012

Source: Verizon

Similar to other existing FiOS speed plans, users will be able to purchase the new speed tiers as part of a bundle or as a standalone service.

For consumers who don't want to pay for one of the premium higher speed tiers, the telco will continue to offer its 15/5 Mbps entry-level speed offering. 

Not surprisingly, the main driver of the new speed tiers is a response to the growth of two trends: online video and ultra high definition television.

The growth of online video in the home will be driven by a host of new devices including smartphones, tablet computers and Internet-enabled televisions with built in access to online streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix, and Vudu. Likewise, ultra high definition television will also drive 64 times the resolution of traditional TV.    

"Video is a big eater of bandwidth," Schommer said. "As video goes to high def, 3D and ultra high def, we realized this is an opportunity to prepare for this change in dynamics for multiple devices and for this ultra high definition bandwidth coming down the pipe."

Besides video, the other potential driver for the new tiers will be its emerging home monitoring and control service.

"Verizon home monitoring and control allows you to control the lights, cameras, and look at your energy usage remotely," Schommer said. "All that happens that way will have a greater use for the network, and clearly we want to make sure we're enabling all of those high end applications to do that."

Any FiOS customer who wants to subscribe to the 150 or 300 Mbps service plan will have to be connected to a GPON Optical Network Terminal (ONT) at their premises. Other existing customers that have a BPON ONT and qualify for the new GPON services will have to have a technician come to their home and install a GPON ONT.

Of course, to be eligible for the new speed tiers, the customer has to be served from a CO that's been equipped with a GPON-enabled Optical Line Terminal (OLT) in existing FiOS markets.

"If the OLT is GPON-capable if you have a BPON ONT, we can upgrade that to a GPON ONT in the vast majority of circumstances," Schommer said. "There are some people out there who won't be able to get the higher speed service, but the majority will."

The only piece of missing information from the new tier regime is pricing, which Verizon says it will reveal next month.

Interestingly, the announcement of these new tiers comes at a time when the service provider revealed plans to raise rates on its FiOS service to offset content costs and increase profitability.

For more:
- see the release

Special report: In detail: Unraveling the triple play bundle

Related articles:
Senator urges FCC, DOJ to review Verizon's cable deal, DSL/POTS bundling
Upstate New York mayors say Verizon is ignoring pleas for FiOS service
Verizon confirms plans to raise FiOS rates
Verizon's DSL plans questioned by congressman
Size matters as Verizon FiOS tops Consumer Reports survey