Verizon fiber service will start at $34.95

Verizon Monday announced that its fiber-based broadband service will begin next month, offering up to 30M bit/sec to homes and small businesses and starting at a monthly rate of $34.95.

Verizon Monday announced that its fiber-based broadband service will begin next month, offering up to 30M bit/sec to homes and small businesses and starting at a monthly rate of $34.95.

The fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) service, called Fios, will become available in August to about 100,000 customers in the Dallas area, company spokesman Eric Rabe said. That includes a Keller, Texas, fiber deployment that was announced in May. The service also will become available in two other U.S. locations this year, and Verizon intends to lay fiber past 1 million U.S. homes and businesses in nine states by year-end.

Because it runs over optical fiber all the way from the carrier's facilities to the customer's home or business, an FTTP service can offer higher speeds than are generally available today on DSL or cable modem services. However, it requires the carrier to lay fiber down each street and send technicians out to each customer's location to set up the service, Rabe said. Depending on the neighborhood, Verizon might either lay fiber underground from the street or string it from a pole in place of the customer's traditional copper wiring, he said. Setups should take about two hours but will vary, he added. There may be a setup fee for installation at some homes and businesses, but in initial deployments the fees typically will be waived, Rabe said.

Verizon will provide three levels of service, the company said in a statement:

* 5M bit/sec downstream and 2M bit/sec upstream for $34.95 per month for customers with a Verizon phone service plan, or $39.95 per month by itself

* 15M bit/sec downstream and 2M bit/sec upstream for $44.95 per month with a phone service, or $49.95 per month by itself

* 30M bit/sec downstream and 5M bit/sec upstream for a price to be announced later

By year-end, Verizon will deploy fiber to about 100,000 customers in areas of Southern California, including parts of Huntington Beach and Riverside County, and to about 100,000 customers in Tampa and Hillsborough County, Fla.

Verizon will hook up the service to phones and TV set-top boxes as well as all the PCs in a home or business. It sees VoIP, videoconferencing, digital movie downloads and multi-player games as popular potential uses of the service. Verizon plans to offer a Fios video service in 2005 as an alternative to cable TV. From the start, each level of service will include the suite of services offered today with Verizon Online DSL, including e-mail, Microsoft MSN Premium content and Verizon's Broadband Beat entertainment portal.

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