Verizon's wired broadband soars to 150 megabits a second

Verizon’s wireline broadband network can now reach speeds of 150 megabits a second, or about 21 times the average broadband speed across the country.

Ivan Seidenberg, chief executive of the communications giant, and Lowell McAdam, chief operating officer, said that some pockets of the broadband network have such good quality that they can deliver huge speed boosts to users. At 150 megabits a second, you can download a movie in 4.5 minutes.

Seidenberg said such fast broadband speeds will spur new innovation in the economy, as new businesses will be built delivering content to users over faster broadband. Verizon has about 15 million homes passed for its Fios broadband service today, which is available in many Verizon territory cities. Verizon expects to have 18 million homes passed in a year or so. It has 4 million subscribers.

Just a short time ago, the usual broadband speed for users was 1 megabit a second, which was so slow it couldn’t support most internet videos. Now the average has grown to 7 megabits a second and is climbing higher. Verizon, which owns a chunk of Verizon Wireless, is also rolling out its 4G LTE wireless network, which offers 10 times the usual speed of 3G mobile broadband data services. The work started in 2007 and required billions of dollars of investment in infrastructure and 700 megahertz spectrum. 4G LTE is now in 38 communities. That’s just in time too,  since wireless data communications traffic is doubling every year and smartphone sales are growing 90 percent a year, McAdam said.

“The full-blown mobile network is finally coming true,” McAdam said.

The question is still whether the communications networks will keep pace with the growth in demand for broadband. Five years ago, video was just 10 percent of the internet’s traffic. Now it is more than 50 percent and it could grow bigger soon.

Mike Claron, principal engineer for Google’s Android platform, said that the Honeycomb Android 3.0 software will make it possible for Android phones to access the 4G network speeds. He came out on stage to show off the Honeycomb software. Unfortunately, the Verizon executives didn’t say anything about Apple, which is expected to launch the iPhone on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network sometime soon.