At a certain point, high-speed broadband is like a PhD in English literature: it looks great on a resume but it's of only limited value when seeking a real-world job. Thus, even Verizon (NYSE: VZ) admits its 150 Mbps down/35 Mbps up FiOS Internet package is mostly for show, "setting the stage for applications that are coming," according to John Schommer, director of broadband product development.
The service, which will list at $194.95 with phone service and a one-year contract and $214.99 as naked broadband, won't achieve "massive penetration," Schommer continued. "Obviously not at that price point." What it will do is put Verizon FiOS atop the heap of broadband providers, topping by 4 Mbps the highest cable offering (Cablevision Systems [NYSE: CVC] 101 Mbps Optimum Online).
Neil Smit, president of Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) Cable Communications, which tends to be more secretive about its technology activities, said during a third quarter earnings conference call that the MSO it had rolled out 105 Mbps service "to about 25 million homes," but put little more information on the table. A Comcast spokesman, when asked about the comments replied in an e-mail: "We haven't made a specific market announcement yet, but stay tuned."
Back to Verizon, Actiontec Electronics jumped in to say its wireless broadband router will be deployed in new 150 Mbps downstream residences. Those residences, with the price and the fact that a $49.99 activation fee, $79.99 installation fee and service call are all required, should be few and far between, even though the service is being made available to most of the 12.5 million homes FiOS passes.
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