Verizon has started rolling out what it says is the fastest mass-market broadband service in the United States.
The new service, introduced Monday, will deliver download speeds of 150 Mb per second and upload speeds of 35 Mbps over Verizon's all-fiber-optic FiOS network. The service will be available by the end of the year to small businesses and the majority of the more than 12.5 million homes in areas where FiOS is available.
The latest high-speed service provides three times the maximum downstream speed currently available over FiOS. "The new 150/35 Mbps FiOS Internet offer establishes a new benchmark for high-speed Internet in America, and paves the way for a flurry of emerging bandwidth-intensive applications to reach mainstream status," Eric Bruno, Verizon VP of product management, said in a statement.
With the new service, customers can download a two-hour, standard-definition movie, which is typically 1.5 GB, in less than 80 seconds, Verizon says. A two-hour high-definition movie, typically 5 GB, can be downloaded in four and a half minutes. Downloading 20 high-resolution photos, a total of 100 MB, would take less than five and a half seconds, while uploading the same number of photos would take less than 23 seconds.
While the speeds will likely be desirable for many people, the price is likely to keep the service out of reach for most. Verizon plans to offer the service to residential customers for $195 a month when purchased with a one-year service agreement and wire line voice service. Verizon plans to continue offering its current broadband services.
In launching the new service, Verizon is preparing for emerging bandwidth-intensive applications, such as Internet video to TV and PC, 3D TV, high-definition movie downloads, real-time video conferencing and online data backup.
However, a recent survey by Leichtman Research Group found that customer demand was not huge for fiber-optic services such as Verizon's. The study found that 71% of U.S. broadband customers were very satisfied with their current residential Internet service, which means they're unlikely to pay a lot more for a faster service. Internet services today start at less than $20 a month.
Fully, 26% of the consumers surveyed said they were "very interested" in receiving faster speeds at home, Leichtman found.
Verizon's major rival is AT&T, which offers the U-verse high-speed service. Both companies also compete in the broadband and paid TV markets with cable and satellite companies.