Super high-priced FiOS for some, no FiOs for many

Fearing further cable inroads, Verizon has begun to offer faster download speeds to FiOS customers – provided, of course, you live where FiOs is accessible. This news means that subscribers in the more prosperous suburbs and sections of cities can now get – for an exorbitant price – speeds of up to 300 megabits per second. If you live in a low-income part of a city or in a rural area, you probably can’t get even basic-grade FiOs – even if Verizon is your carrier.

But you’ll pay plenty for the new high-speed service. Although the basic 15 megabit triple-play service – phone, Internet and TV – costs an advertised $99 a month, the new 300 megabit service will cost more than double that – $204.99 a month with a two- year contract. There are intermediate 35 and 50 megabit plans, as well.

But, according to one analyst, you have to be enamored of high numbers to want the 300 megabit service in the first place. Jonathan Atkin of RBC Capital Markets told Bloomberg, “Once you get beyond 25 to 50 megabits, it’s all marketing.”

Not surprisingly, Verizon disagrees. Arturo Picicci, FiOS director of product management said “Getting over 50 megabits is important for families who have a lot of devices. It’s all about options and having choices.”

But too many people have no choices at all because Verizon has often failed to build out FiOS. In its definitive publication, “Verizon/cable deal: slamming the door on our high speed-future,” CWA said of those promised areas: A demographic analysis …demonstrates that people of color and lower- income households are disproportionately impacted by a decreased incentive to invest in FiOS.”

In other words, many cities with large minority populations – Baltimore, Buffalo, Boston – won’t be getting the high-speed upgrades. So for many it’s neither high-speed nor higher-speed, but rather it’s no-speed. Bad move, Verizon.

Verizon Raises Prices On Faster FiOs Quantum Web Service (Bloomberg news, Jun. 18, 2012)

Verizon/cable deal: slamming the door on our high speed-future (CWA, 2012)