The Need for Speed: Comcast, Verizon Start Boosting Bandwidth

The race for the speed crown continues as Verizon rolls out 50Mbps/20Mbps service to all of its current FIOS customers. The super-fast tier of service comes at a price of around $150/month, not far off from what Qwest is charging for inferior 20Mbps/896Kbps DSL service. This also prepares Verizon for a fight to the death in the Lone Star State with AT&T's inferior U-Verse service where it plans to overbuild to 600,000 homes in the GTE territories it purchased. I'm sure Qwest is sweating as well; it also borders several Verizon markets and can't compete on speed either.

Comcast also made some speed announcements, bumping upload speeds on the 6Mbps and 8Mbps tiers to 1Mbps and 2Mbps respectively. I've independently speedtested this claim and found that I'm getting a solid 1.3Mbps of upload on my 6Mbps plan. While the plan is to roll out 50Mbps service in multiple markets after testing in the Minneapolis area, that will also come with all kinds of protocol-agnostic throttling and potentially a 250GB monthly transfer cap.

Despite all this increased speed, we're still doing terribly in broadband availability and adoption. OECD numbers show us slipping to 15th out of 30 with China stealing the crown from us for most fixed broadband connections. Caps and throttling are also going to prove highly unpopular as we approach a new variant of Moore's Law that shows IP traffic doubling every two years through at least 2012. Maybe its time for companies to respond to consumer demand for more bandwidth instead of trying to smother it with a pillow, you know?