updated 10:30 am EDT, Mon June 22, 2009
Verizon FiOS 35Mbps Tier
Verizon today ramped up FiOS with speed upgrades for all its regular tiers as well as the addition of a new middle tier. A new 35Mbps plan offers a balance between more typical speeds and the 50Mbps maximum tier; it also has the same 20Mbps upload speeds as the previous symmetric 20/20 tier and the 50Mbps service; the speed would let it upload an hour-long 720p HDTV show in 20 minutes. The carrier doesn't say how much this version of its fiber optic service would cost but says it's only available in bundles with TV or phone service.
Regardless of bundles, regular tiers also get significant upgrades that were previously rumored. The least expensive $45 tier ($50 without phone service) jumps from 10Mbps down, 2Mbps up to 15Mbps down and 5Mbps up. Verizon's staple 20/5 service is getting an even larger upgrade with a slight boost to 25Mbps downstream but three times the upload speed at 15Mbps. It costs $65 per month with phone service and $70 without.
In New York City and Long Island, where competition with Time Warner is stiff, the 25/15 plan is now the minimum.
Alongside the faster service, Verizon is also hoping to spur adoption of its bundles by giving away devices depending on the level of service. Those who opt for a three-way ultimate bundle with 25/15 Internet access, Extreme HD TV and Essentials phone service can get a free Compaq Mini netbook or a Flip Ultra standard-definition camera. A more conventional plan with 15/5 data, TV Essentials and Freedom Essentials phone service will either provide the Flip for free or discount the Compaq PC from its normal $300 down to $100.
Verizon's move is likely meant to fend off incursions not just by Time Warner but also Comcast, which recently cut 50Mbps prices and is otherwise the most obvious competitor in the areas where both providers operate.