Verizon Takes 50-Meg Service To Entire FiOS Footprint

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Verizon Communications next week will make FiOS Internet service with 50-megabit-per-second downloads available to more than 10 million homes and businesses, expanding its highest-speed tier to all 16 states where the fiber-optic service has been deployed.

Verizon already offered the 50-Mbps download/20-Mbps upload service in its FiOS markets in six states: Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.

The company will now expand that to new Verizon FiOS customers in parts of California, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington, where the top tier available had been 30/15 Mbps.

Cable operators are planning to respond to Verizon’s FiOS Internet onslaught with DOCSIS 3.0, the next generation of cable modem technology that can provide more than 100 Mbps of downstream bandwidth by bonding together multiple channels.

Comcast, for example, launched a DOCSIS 3.0 trial in Minneapolis/St. Paul in April with 50-Mbps download speeds and expects to have deployed the “wideband” technology in 20% of its footprint by the end of 2008.

The telco also is upping speeds of its middle tier, from 15/2 Mbps to 20/5 Mbps, and the FiOS Internet basic tier, from 5/2 Mbps to 10/2 Mbps. Existing FiOS Internet customers must call Verizon for pricing information about upgrading to the new plans.

Verizon expects the FiOS network to reach 18 million households by 2010, and the company recently suggested it may exceed that target.

Verizon president and chief operating officer Denny Strigl planned to announce the FiOS Internet expansion at the NXTcomm08 conference in Las Vegas this week.

"The appetite for bandwidth shows no signs of slowing down. Neither will we,” Strigl said in his remarks, adding: “We've already had successful trials of the 100-Megabit home, which will be a reality faster than anybody thinks."

FiOS Internet 50/20 Mbps service is available in New York and Virginia for $89.95 and elsewhere for $139.95 a month with an annual service plan. The 20/20 Mbps FiOS Internet service is available in all FiOS markets for $64.99 a month with an annual service plan FiOS Internet service is also available as part of a discounted bundle of multiple Verizon services.

At the end of the first quarter 2008, Verizon counted 1.8 million FiOS Internet customers and 1.2 million FiOS TV customers.

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