Verizon boosts Internet speed

While cable operators — using coaxial technology — seek ways to limit large users of file-sharing services, Verizon responded last week by nearly doubling the speed of its all-fiber FiOS broadband service in its 16 state service region.

The highest tier service will offer 50Mb/s downloads and 20Mb/s uploads. The current service offers 30Mb/s downstream and 15Mb/s upstream. Verizon had offered this upper tier of service in only a handful of markets previously.

The company also doubled the upload and download speeds of its lowest tier FiOS broadband service, which will now offer 10Mb/s downloads and 2Mb/s uploads. Previously, the speed was 5Mb/s to 2Mb/s. Mid-tier FiOS services will increase from 15Mb to 2Mb/s and 20Mbs to 5Mb/s.

Higher speed is coming. Verizon CEO Denny Strigl said last week in a speech at NXTComm that the company had successfully tested 100Mb/s to the home, which will be a reality “faster than anybody thinks.“

FiOS is now available to 10 million homes, and Verizon plans to cover 18 million homes by 2010. The telco said it expects to get approval from the New York Public Service Commission to offer its FiOS video service in New York City as early as next month. “Our plan is to cover all of the 3.1 million households in all five boroughs in the next five to six years,” Strigl said.

Cable is racing to catch up. Comcast is upgrading its network to offer download speeds of 50Mb/s in 20 percent of its service area by the end of the year. Other cable companies are following suit.