Verizon will start offering a 750Mbps Internet package for $150 a month in parts of its FiOS fiber-to-the-home territory, the company announced today.
“FiOS Instant Internet” with symmetrical upload and download speeds of 750Mbps will launch Saturday “to nearly seven million homes and businesses in greater New York City/northern New Jersey, Philadelphia and Richmond, [Virginia] with more to follow in 2017,” Verizon’s announcement said. The Boston and Norfolk, Virginia, markets will get the new speed tier later in the first quarter, the company said.
This is an improvement over the top speed tiers currently advertised on the FiOS website, which lists 300Mbps for $170 a month and 500Mbps for $270, plus taxes, equipment charges, and other fees. Those are promotional prices that last only a year before increasing.
Since the 750Mbps tier will cost less than the current 300Mbps and 500Mbps offerings, we’d expect the price of those tiers to drop if Verizon keeps offering them. When asked if those prices will be lowered, a Verizon spokesperson said in an e-mail, “we will be adjusting the other tier’s pricing, stay tuned on that.”
What isn’t clear is whether the $150 price point is the standard price or a promotional price that only lasts a certain amount of time. It seems likely that Verizon will continue its policy of guaranteeing the price for just 12 months, but the company did not provide a direct answer to this question. “We’re launching at $149.99. Nothing else to share on future pricing,” Verizon told Ars.
The 750Mbps speeds don’t require any new in-home equipment as long as customers have the latest FiOS router, the company told us. But Verizon did not provide an answer about when the 750Mbps speeds will be available throughout its FiOS territory.
While the standalone 750Mbps plan is priced at $150 a month, triple-play packages that also include TV and phone service will start at $170 a month, Verizon said. While this isn’t nearly as good a deal as Google Fiber’s $70 gigabit plan that’s available in some cities, Verizon’s improved speeds and pricing may help it against direct competitors such as Comcast and Charter.
Charter download speeds top out at 300Mbps, while Comcast introduced a 2Gbps symmetrical fiber-to-the-home service that costs $300 a month (plus $1,000 in startup fees). Comcast also offers gigabit download speeds (but only 35Mbps uploads) over cable wires for $140 a month, with $70-per-month pricing available to some customers. AT&T is also doing a big fiber push, with prices of $70 or $90 a month for standalone gigabit service.
Though Verizon still hasn’t crossed the gigabit threshold for home Internet service, it’s been testing NG-PON2 (next generation passive optical network) equipment that could push its speeds into the multi-gigabit range. This week, Verizon said it “successfully completed what it believes is the first interoperability trial of NG-PON2 technology” at one of its labs, “demonstrat[ing] that equipment from different vendors on either end of a single fiber—at the service provider’s endpoint and at the customer’s endpoint—can be used to deliver service without impacting the end user… Until now, equipment from the same vendor had to be used on both endpoints.”
Besides Verizon, the trial involved the companies Adtran, Broadcom, Cortina Access, and Ericsson. NG-PON2 can support up to 10Gbps per customer over a single fiber, Verizon said.
Sadly, these advances will not benefit large portions of Verizon territory that haven’t been upgraded to fiber and are thus stuck on slow DSL technology, despite objections from residents and local government officials.