What Would You Do for 150 Mbit/sec?

This morning Verizon announced a top-end fiberoptic broadband service three times as fast as its old limit, primarily to smoke competitors that were offering faster connections on copper wire.

The new tier offers residential FIOS customers 150 Mbit/sec downstream and 35 Mbit/sec upstream, for $200 per month, compared to top speeds of 101 Mbit/sec for Cablevision systems and 50 each for Time Warner Cable, Comcast and, previously, Verizon.

"Frankly we didn't like that there was someone out there who was faster, when we could easily trump those speeds," according to a Multichannel News story quoting John Schommer, Verizon's director of broadband product development. "So we decided it was the right time to introduce this just to show that we can."

Residential customers wanting the service have to upgrade to a new Actiontec cable router, which uses a 1 Gbit/sec link to Verizon's network and 300 Mbit/sec WLAN service.

There is a chance one of Verizon's cable competitors could one-up it by converting some of their networks to the DOCSIS high-speed networking protocol, which has a top speed of 160 Mbit/sec, but no U.S. -based carriers offer it to residential customers yet.

On the business side, Verizon sees the future (or at least 2011) as one that revolves around "ultra-wideband capacity, super data centers supporting cloud computing and compute-anywhere devices, and personalized applications.

No surprise there, but Verizon is tuning its cloud-based services downward compared to better-known cloud providers such as Microsoft's Azure, and offering "compute as a service" scaled in both technology and cost so smaller companies.

Verizon is getting a lot of competition from a host of other providers, including Microsoft and, more successfully, Amazon, which has been repackaging its services to make them more palatable to small business.

Verizon also introduced apps to manage the mobile devices and networks for small businesses.

The caveat with that, as well as Verizon's wired broadband service, is the inherent conflict Verizon faces in the intense competition for both the residential cable market and consumer 4G cell phone market . Verizon has scored important victories in that competition, but the game is far from over.

Add to that Verizon's high-handed position on net neutrality, poor reputation for cost and service, and you have a vendor that's long on technical capability and short on all the other things consumers or small businesses look for in a trusted IT provider.

Too bad; 150 Mbit/sec? That screams. For $200 a month, though, I think I would, too.

Kevin Fogarty writes about enterprise IT for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @KevinFogarty.

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