Verizon is to upgrade all of its FiOS customers to increase their upload speeds to match their download speeds. There’ll be no extra charge, though some users will have to wait.
Right back to the days when nerdier folk showed off about knowing what the A in ADSL stood for, most broadband users have come to expect much faster download speeds than upload speeds. Anecdotally at least, it seems the gap has widened with fiber optic cable, with providers boosting download speeds but doing little to address uploads.
Verizon says the change is necessary because the amount of data uploaded by customers is expected to double in the next two years. It points to people uploading images to popular sites, though unless you’ve got a terrible upload speed that’s unlikely to be a major issue.
However, uploads of high resolution content to video sharing sites and backing up media collections on cloud storage sites (along with some less legal activities) certainly mean it’s no longer unusual to be uploading large amounts of data. The speed increase could be particularly useful for livestreaming, where simply waiting longer for data to upload isn’t a solution.
All Verizon customers will get the upgrade “in the coming months” though anyone enrolled in its “My Rewards” loyalty program will get priority.
Because it uses fiber optic cable all the way to the home, unlike cable providers, Verizon won’t face many costs in offering the upgrade. It could be an effective way to get a competitive advantage rather than concentrating solely on the arms race of increasing download speeds where for many users, once you’ve reached a certain point, further increases don’t make much practical difference.
PC World, in what it concedes is a cynical note, suggests Verizon may also be wanting to take any opportunity to show distinctive competitive moves in the broadband market to help combat calls for closer regulation by the FCC.