Gary Audin
Gary Audin is the President of Delphi, Inc. He has more than 40 years of computer, communications and security...
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Gary Audin | July 23, 2013 |


500 Mbps Verizon

500 Mbps Verizon The faster we go, the harder it is to keep up.

The faster we go, the harder it is to keep up.

The need for speed goes on. Verizon announced a 500 Mbps download speed with a 100 Mbps upload service.

What makes this even more interesting is that the price is $309.99 per month for Internet and TV or $329.99 per month for Internet with TV and a phone line if the customer signs a 2-year commitment. Operating at these speeds allows users to download a 250 megabyte HD video in 4 seconds or a 2-hour HD Movie in 1.4 minutes.

At first blush, these prices seem high if you compare them to what Google is charging for gigabit service at $70 per month and, with TV, $120 per month. There is an even cheaper service at $35 per month being offered in Vermont by VTel. But VTel's migration from POTS to fiber connections was financed by the broadband initiative from the federal government, with funds provided by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act in 2009 supporting the low rates.

These rates make Verizon look greedy. However, when compared to cable company service like Comcast at $300 per month, the Verizon charges look competitive, not out of range. The pricing of these services seems to be influenced by the competition in local markets. So we may see rates drop as competition increases.

Verizon is pushing contracts which will guarantee a two-year revenue stream with likely recommitments by the customers. This looks good for the user until competition increases, and then the customer is locked in and cannot take advantage of competitive service offerings until the end of their contract. If a significant number of customers in an area are under contract, it may discourage competitors from entering because there be will a longer time before they can see a strong revenue stream.

Do you really need 500 Mbps? I have FiOS with 50/25 Mbps service. All my downloads are as fast as I need them to be even with my wife doing a lot of downloads simultaneously. What has not improved are the response times for the e-mail and other things. They are no faster than when I was on 25/15 Mbps. In fact, the slow response times are more evident because the download time is in many cases equally as long as the website response time, making the email's time seem even longer.

When thinking about the Internet of Things (IoT), this added speed may not really help, since most IoT devices will have a modest amount of traffic--500 Mbps will have little influence on the IoT operation. It is the videos and movies where speed can make difference. If multiple movies are being downloaded, then having 500 Mbps is an advantage.

One area that could benefit is continuous-video-feed security cameras. More cameras can be connected. Higher resolution and frame rates can be supported. This could be useful for traffic monitoring as well. So I don't think that 500 Mbps is a gimmick, but as speeds increase, their value may actually decrease. Will 10 times faster make me 10 times happier? Not likely.

Eventually, operating at gigabit speeds at the customer end puts a significant strain on the video websites that will be expected to feed thousands to millions of video users simultaneously. I wonder what the speeds of the web server's Internet access will need to be to feed the video. I expect that router makers will also have to offer ever faster devices just to keep up with the speed demand.

What about my home router? Will I need to replace it? Will my laptop and PC be able to keep up with the 500 Mbps or will they throttle the download speed, thereby negating the 500 Mbps rate unless I upgrade? I experienced this problem when I connected a new laptop to my 50 Mbps service. The downloads were faster on the new laptop even though the FiOS speed was not changed.

The faster we go, the harder it is to keep up.


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