With the furor that Google caused when it spoke about a gigabit network being built, somewhere in the nation, with the hopes of spurring on matching speeds from other providers, you would have thought something might have been done before now.

Well, if anyone was demonstrating some high speed before now, it has been held in the realms of the dead, where nobody speaks.

Yesterday Verizon announced it had reached near gigabit speeds – on existing fiber! The speeds show that Verizon would have to do very little to get the network moving at much higher speeds. (The cable companies better get on the stick, for DOCSIS 3.0 speeds simply are not going to compete.)

[Maximum PC]

In a Verizon statement today, the company announced that a recent field test of their fiber optic network showed near gigabit speeds. The test was carried out in Taunton, Mass with the help of a business customer. The customer saw speeds of 925Mbps when connected to the local Verizon office. Drop off was not as bad as you might expect. Speeds as high as 800Mbps were recorded with test servers over 400 miles away.

This is Verizon has been able to demonstrate these speeds in a real-life scenario. Google attracted a lot of attention when they started searching for a community to hook up with experimental 1Gbps broadband service. Verizon’s accomplishment is different because it uses an existing network, with new gigabit passive optical network (GPON) switches.

Verizon’s current FiOS service is offered at 50Mbps, and no word is available on if faster speeds will be rolled out in the wake of this test. Some feel the Taunton test was done mainly to demonstrate that the fiber network could handle future uses like 3DTV. How fast is your home internet service? Are FiOS-level speeds even available to you?

As I am hardly a Luddite, I see the need for speed for many things – 3D TV is not one of them. Having had FiOS service at 15/5, I can verify that it was great. I only wish that, after the move I made in June, I could still get those speeds. Alas, Verizon 3Mb DSL is the best we could do here. (I remember when we first got 3Mb DSL, we had been on 768kb, and the difference was astonishing. The move to 15/5 FiOS was similarly astonishing. Then the step down to 3Mb DSL was devastating, as everyone in the house had gotten used to speeds that were relatively fast no matter how many computers were online at the time.)

Speed with cars, or speed with electronics, is addictive. Once you get used to it, taking it away is so very painful.

Let us hope that this little notice from Verizon spurs all the other players into some action, both in the increase of speed, and the reduction of service charges.


Spock @ the console

Captain, these people seem to be using old style sub-gigabit information transfer…perhaps they will catch up in a few years.

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