Verizon Jacks Up Speed of FiOS Broadband Service

Verizon Communications Inc. is boosting the speed of its FiOS fiber-optic Internet service in 10 states.

The FiOS service areas of California, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington will see new plans that nearly double Internet speeds, Chief Operating Officer Denny Strigl said in remarks to be delivered at a conference Wednesday.

The faster speeds were already available in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, where competition from cable is particularly fierce, and in Florida, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

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With the speed increase, Verizon is now providing the same speeds in all 16 states where FiOS is available. It comes at a time when cable companies are preparing a big boost to their own Internet services.

The fastest FiOS Internet service, for $139.95 per month, will provide downloads at 50 megabits per second and uploads at 20 megabits per second, up from 30 mbps downstream and 15 mbps upstream. Slower plans are being upgraded as well.

Verizon spokeswoman Bobbi Henson said existing customers will not be moved to the new plans and speeds unless they ask. Most customers are on plans that are slightly cheaper than the equivalent new plan, she said.

The prices are for customers who have annual contracts and have Verizon's landline phone service. New Yorkers and Virginians get a price break on the fastest plan: It's $89.95 in their states.

FiOS is available to 10 million homes, and Verizon plans to cover 18 million homes by 2010.

In the comments prepared for a speech at a telecom trade show in Las Vegas, Strigl said more speed increases are in the works.

"We've already had successful trials of the 100-megabit home, which will be a reality faster than anybody thinks," he said.

Meanwhile, Comcast Corp., the biggest cable TV operator, is upgrading its network to offer download speeds of 50 mbps in 20 percent of its service area by the end of the year. Other cable companies are following suit.

Outside its mainly suburban FiOS footprint, Verizon's fastest consumer Internet service provides downloads at 7 mbps over copper phone lines in some areas. In others, the maximum speed is 3 mbps.