Verizon announced today that FiOS subscribers will soon be able to choose from a number of new Internet access packages, with download speeds topping out at a downright zippy 300 megabits per second and 65 Mbps uploads. While the entry-level 15/5 Mbps offering will remain the same, the middle-road offerings will all receive a speed boost.
The new FiOS plans will go into effect starting in June. Prices for the new plans will also be announced next month.
In its announcement, Verizon says the faster access offerings are necessary to handle the “burgeoning growth of bandwidth-intensive applications,” like video and audio streaming service, as well as “the increase in the number of Internet-connected devices being used simultaneously in the same household.”
Verizon explains that the 15/5 Mbps tier is fine for households with only “one or two Internet-connected users with several devices,” while the 75/35 Mbps option is best for households who stream a lot of high-definition movies, play online games, or frequently download or upload “video files.” Finally, the super-fast 150/65 and 300/65 Mbps options are only really necessary if your house has five or more people who regularly stream video or audio simultaneously.
Interestingly, Verizon specifically points out that, with a 300 Mbps connection, a user could download a two-hour, standard definition movie in just 40 seconds, or a two-hour, high-definition flick “in 2.2 minutes.” Perhaps there’s some obvious group of legitimate downloaders we’re overlooking, but that sounds to us like an advertisement directed straight at the piracy crowd.
Regardless, a 300 Mbps offering really is impressive, especially considering the average Internet access speed in the U.S. is an abysmal 5.8 Mbps, according to Internet content delivery network Akamai Technologies’ 2011 “State of the Internet” report. Verizon, of course, is quick to point out its superiority.
“Our top FiOS speed will be twice as fast as anything America has ever seen,” said Mike Ritter, chief marketing officer for Verizon’s consumer and mass market business unit, in a statement. “High-speed Internet no longer is just for techies, as more than half of our residential consumers already use at least a 20 Mbps Internet connection. Streaming online video on an all-fiber-optic connection providing faster speeds is better and more reliable during peak Internet usage hours.”
While all this is fine and dandy, we’re definitely interested to find out how much this new plan structure is going to cost. After all, the current 150/35 Mbps plan runs about $195. Our bet: a lot.