Last time global internet service ratings came out, the U.S. ranked 25th in average speed and 15th in value. Verizon's new superfast FiOS internet may boost our rankings, though not by much.
Yeah, it's thrilling this fiber-optic cable-based service will soon deliver content at speeds up to 300 megabits per second (Mbps) - double the current top FiOS speed and capable of feats like pushing 20 high resolution photos to your inbox in 2.8 seconds or downloading a two hour HD movie from VUDU in just 2.2 minutes. At the moment, the best that rival Comcast offers its' Xfinity internet customers is a 105 Mbps download (a 200 Mbps option has been talked about, futuristically.)
Verizon left out an itty bitty detail in its grand announcement yesterday - the prices for this super service and other new options like a 75 Mbps download/35 Mbps upload "tier."
Verizon's 150 Mbps option currently goes for $199.99 a month - matching Xfinity's 105 Mbps price and also better for having no monthly data cap (Xfinity's was just raised to 300 GB). So you have to believe the new 300 Mbps service is going to be very pricey - not so bad for a business to swallow, but far more than an average consumer will want or need to deploy.
I also was disappointed with the announcement that Verizon will continue to offer entry level FiOS Internet running at 15/5 Mbps. If the operation has such superior technology and capacity, why not flaunt it and give us casual users more headroom? Even with its old school coaxial cable network, Xfinity service starts at 20 Mbps down.
Clearly, Verizon hopes to up-sell customers to a higher, more profitable tier. And they're using that grandiose 300 Mbps offering as an attention getter, to get folks thinking more aspirationally. Kinda like the way a car company throws a high powered, ridiculously priced, super flashy sports car into the showroom mix. Makes you go for the bigger engine in the econobox.
"The 15/5 Mbps tier is best used for basic tasks such as email and Web browsing in a household of one or two Internet connected users with several devices," declared the Verizon press announcement. "In contrast the 50/25 Mbps tier can best serve a multiple device household with three or more users who frequently telecommute, enjoy downloading music and photos, and viewing videos on PCs or wireless devices." They left out "all at once."
There's just the wife and me in our house, but we're serious internet users and do a lot of music and movie streaming on a 15/5 Mbps FiOS line. Most of the time, that's plenty for our mult-tasking. And when we're watching a movie together, there's no problem getting up to the highest quality (four bar) streaming on Netflix.
What's a good deal for Internet service on a global basis? In front-running Japan, the average service runs at 61 Mbps and costs 27 cents per megabit, per month. While not quite as dramatic, internet services in South Korea, Finland and France also make U.S. providers look like stingy bastards.