Sure, Verizon's been testing 100 Mbps FiOS connections in a handful of employee homes for several years now (see video
). But Verizon executives have also admitted that for the moment -- the 100 Mbps mark is little more than marketing fluff
. So what exactly are we supposed to think when Verizon announces that they're testing 10 Gbps service to the home
? According to a Verizon press release
, the company just got done field testing a passive optical network system dubbed XG-PON, with hardware by Huawei, capable of transmitting data at 10 gigabits per second downstream and 2.4 Gbps upstream:
The test, conducted recently in southern Massachusetts, sets the stage for Verizon to meet the emerging customer demand for a wide variety of devices and applications that require a network capable of transmitting large amounts of data at very high speeds. The devices and applications could include unicast HD video streaming, ultra-high-definition video, 3D video, user-generated content distribution, video conferencing, and new high-speed data services for medium- and large-business customers.
If Verizon considers 100 Mbps service little more than marketing BS, we can only wonder what they candidly think about their own announcement of 10 Gbps residential service this early in the game. Still, it's an exciting announcement to bandwidth nerds, for whom even 100 Gbps of bandwidth jacked directly into their cerebral cortex might not be enough.
With cable operators like Cablevision
offering 100+ Mbps service, it's a good bet that Verizon will launch a 100 Mbps FiOS tier sometime next year just to save face, even if only a few customers are interested. But 10 Gbps? The standard Verizon's applying here, XG-PON, won't be officially ratified as a standard until 2010 or later. It's also of course being shared between every user on a local node, which could consist of say -- thirty homes.
The point Verizon's (correctly) trying to make is that their $23 billion investment in fiber to home service -- despite the complaints of weak kneed investors
who fainted like 1880's cinema southern bells at the very idea of dumping billions back into the network
-- guarantees Verizon's competitiveness for the next fifteen years or more. From BPON to faster GPON (50% of their network
should be upgraded to GPON next year) -- to XG-PON -- Verizon is ready to deliver serious bandwidth. Well, as long as you live in a market Verizon thinks is profitable
"From the earliest stages of the FiOS design, we knew we could repeatedly and progressively leverage the immense capacity of fiber to carry more and more data in support of customer applications," says Mark Wegleitner, senior vice president of technology for Verizon. "Now we're already working on the best way to take the next leap forward in capacity."