Verizon Upgrades FiOS to Two Lanes with Same Speeds in Both Directions

By Peter Bernstein July 21, 2014

If you are a Verizon FiOS customer, and I happen to be one, you and I have just received good news.  Verizon is increasing the upload speeds on our residential service in the coming months for free and we don’t have to do anything.   And, when the upgrade is complete 95 percent of existing customers will have the service.  In addition, the upgrade will be extended to Verizon small business service customers later this year.

With the when being revealed as being soon, and the why explained below, the what is a good place to start. And, while I typically don’t like to make such stories about me, I am excited.  

The new FiOS Internet speed tiers are:

Existing Speeds

New Speeds

15/5 Megabits per second (Mbps)           

15/15 Mbps

15/5 Mbps

25/25 Mbps

50/25 Mbps

50/50 Mbps

75/35 Mbps

75/75 Mbps

150/65 Mbps

150/150 Mbps

300/65 Mpbs

300/300 Mbps

500/100 Mbps

500/500 Mbps

Source: Verizon

Visit the Verizon My Rewards+ page to sign up for the program and get the new speeds faster.

The need for bi-directional speed

Why is this upload speed upgrade significant?

There are two reasons that are closely related:

  1. As a result of more people uploading more and more rich content to the cloud and sharing videos, photos and using real-time video conferencing assuring the customer experience on those uploads has become critical. Plus, the population of “Power Users” who do the majority of uploading today is expected to explode (60 percent by 2017 according to research from IDC, Broadband Power Users: A New Era Begins which is cited by Verizon in its announcement).
  2. It provides Verizon a competitive positioning advantage against cable operators whose networks are harder to upgrade, and gives Verizon an nice tool as it locks horns with OTTs on a host of fronts including net neutrality issues.

“Faster upload speeds means better sharing experiences,” said Mike Ritter, Verizon’s chief marketing officer for consumer and mass business. “All Internet sharing – whether videos, large photo files or gaming – starts with uploading. FiOS all-fiber-optic technology offers a unique opportunity to enhance our customers’ Internet experience on a mass scale by increasing our upload speeds to equal to our industry-leading download speeds. As the Internet of Things (IoT becomes a reality, equal download and upload speeds will become essential.”

Activities mentioned as benefiting from the upload speeds include: 

  • Uploading a video.
  • Video chatting on Skype or FaceTime.
  • Sharing files on Facebook and Twitter or with classmates and teachers.
  • Getting a jump on an eBay bid.
  • Online shopping with new ecommerce platforms like Rue La La.
  • Beating an online gaming opponent to the punch.
  • Sending big files or backing up files by uploading them to the cloud.

As the aforementioned IDC study noted, more than 20 percent of U.S. broadband households are Power Users that are frequently online, uploading nearly as much content (video and music) as they download.

“IDC believes that both the upload and download speed demands of today’s Power User will inevitably become the norm in the coming years,” said Matt Davis, program director of consumer multiplay and broadband services research for IDC. “Verizon’s decision to give every FiOS Internet customer upload speeds that mirror its industry-leading download speeds is a step forward for U.S. digital consumers – and unique among the major U.S. broadband Internet providers. Because the upgrade is free, it delivers tremendous value to FiOS subscribers and strongly positions Verizon to meet the growing demand for upstream Internet speed.”

For both reasons cited above, and to paraphrase that bullet item about getting a jump on an eBay bid, Verizon is getting a jump on the competition. This is non-trivial. Verizon is being pressured on several fronts including the slowing pace of fixed network broadband adoption in the U.S. caused by both the addressable market of households that can afford such services being tapped out and the heightened competition from a rapidly restructuring communications and media industry in the U.S. Plus, they rightly need to be laying the foundation for the real-time content-rich interactions explosion that individuals are creating and that the Internet of Things will drive as well.  

The industry observer in me likes the competitive positioning, and the need to have an information superhighway where the speeds in both directions are the same. And, as a customer I can relate to readers that I have already jumped on the chance to upgrade sooner rather than later. If you are a FiOS customer there is no reasons for you to wait either. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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