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Verizon Increasing Internet Speeds To Not-Quite Gigabit Rates

Jan 12, 2017

Verizon announced a massive increase in Internet speed for its Fios home broadband service.

The new service, dubbed Fios Instant Internet, will offer customers both upload and download speeds of 750 megabits per second (mbps), starting Jan. 14.

The new speeds are just short of the gigabit speeds offered by Google (googl) and AT&T (t) in some markets. Cable companies, which increasingly dominate the consumer broadband market, have said they're prepping gigabit speeds, as well. Comcast's (cmcsa) Gigabit Pro service was available in four markets last year, with 10 more to come in early 2017, for example.

Verizon's higher speed service will cost $150 per month by itself but also will be bundled with TV and landline phone service for $170 per month. Fios currently offers a three-service bundle with 150 megabits per second speeds, starting at $80 per month for the first year and $85 for the second year.

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Verizon said the new speeds will be widely available across its Fios footprint in the northeast and mid-Atlantic region. The initial rollout in New York, northern New Jersey, Philadelphia and Richmond, Va., will pass 7 million potential consumer and business customers, Verizon said. The carrier said it will expand the service to more of its region throughout 2017.

Verizon (vz) had 5.6 million Fios Internet customers and had wired areas that pass a total of 13.8 million homes at the end of the third quarter of 2016. Only a small portion have opted for the highest speed service, but that segment is growing quickly. Only 16% opted for speeds of 100 mbps or higher at the end of the third quarter, but that was up from 11% three months earlier, Verizon reported.

Fios has had an up-and-down journey at Verizon since the carrier began selling the fiber optic-based TV, Internet and phone service in 2005. In 2010, after spending $23 billion, Verizon said it would stop expanding into new cities. But as faster and more capable wireless 5G wireless technology was developed, the carrier decided to add new markets again. Last year, it tapped Boston for the first new expansion in years.

The Fios service, which relies on fiber optic lines instead of older copper wires, typically offers Internet speeds of 50 megabits to 150 megabits per second currently. With a 750 mbps download capability, a customer could download a high-definition movie file in about one minute.

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