Despite claiming that the government’s definition of “broadband” shouldn’t have been increased to 25Mbps, Verizon is now phasing out its 25Mbps fiber service and making 50Mbps the default minimum.
A year ago, the Federal Communications Commission voted to boost the definition of broadband from 4Mbps downstream/1Mbps upstream to 25Mbps/3Mbps. The definition affects policy decisions and the FCC’s annual assessment of whether broadband is being deployed to all Americans quickly enough. Verizon unsuccessfully lobbied the FCC to keep the old definition, saying that “a higher benchmark would serve no purpose in accurately assessing the availability of broadband.”
Verizon still offers speeds as low as 512kbps downloads and 384kbps uploads in areas where it hasn’t upgraded copper DSL lines to fiber. Verizon DSL goes up to 15Mbps/1Mbps, if you’re close enough to Verizon Internet facilities. Mayors in 14 East Coast cities including New York City recently criticized Verizon for leaving many customers with copper only, but where its FiOS fiber network has been deployed, Verizon offers upload and download speeds of 50Mbps to 500Mbps.
Verizon CFO Fran Shammo explained in an earnings call last week that the FiOS 25Mbps tier is on its way out. “The increasing importance of the Internet is evident as customers are requesting higher data speeds,” Shammo said. “At the end of the quarter, more than 70 percent of our consumer FiOS Internet customers subscribed to data speeds of 50Mbps or higher and we have shifted our introductory offers to 50 megabits. We are also seeing an increasing number of customers opting for higher speeds.”
Existing customers can keep their 25Mbps package and, at least for now, can still downgrade to 25Mbps to save some money.