Now This is Getting Childish: Verizon and Cablevision Resort to Name Calling

I’m fortunate enough to live in a Cablevision service area and was quite excited when they announced the launch of their DOCIS 3.0 “Optimum Online Ultra” product.

Now, Verizon via its official corporate blog is firing back.

Verizon first demonstrated the ability to deliver 100 Mbps to the home over our FiOS system nearly two years ago. Now Cablevision is offering that speed – oh, yeah, 101 Mbps — over its DOCSIS cable system, it claims, to customers across its footprint in the New York area.

With today’s technology, you don’t have to break much of a sweat to deliver 100 Mbps to a few customers. But given the inherent limits of the cable platform, a cluster of bandwidth junkies living near each other could be a real problem. One estimate is that a single 101 Mbps customer would use some 60% of the capacity in a neighborhood. Other users? Outta luck.

There is also the question of market demand. How many customers have been storming the castle, asking for 101 megabits per second bandwidth? What happens when a customer with that speed hits the much slower Internet?

So Cablevision is offering very high speed service to a very limited number of customers when there is little evidence of market demand for the speed. It is a parlor trick.

Consider this:

· Verizon’s fiber-to-the-home network has a capacity to deliver 400 Mbps to a single home, and we’ve had a 50 Mbps service available across the FiOS network for a year. Verizon’s fiber optic network has the muscle to carry the load – 2.4 Gbps downstream dedicated to no more than 32 customers.

· Don’t forget about the burgeoning need for upstream capacity. Cablevision is promising 15 Mbps upstream. Verizon already offers up to 20 Mbps upstream to all FiOS Internet markets. And our fiber has plenty of room for more.

· Effective speeds of networks depend on the speed available on the slowest link. Today’s Internet runs at speeds far slower than 100 Mbps, on some segments speeds as slow as 10 Mbps. So if you have a 100 Mbps link to the Internet connection point, but a 40 Mbps connection from there to the distant server, the effective speed of your transaction over that link will be 40 not 100 Mbps. It is one reason why there is little customer demand for speeds in the 100 Mbps range today.

· We believe this will change. Cross-network speeds will increase and demands from users at home will escalate as new applications are developed for services like video, but also for services that don’t exist today.

Verizon has been the lone provider of ultra-high-speed broadband services for several years. Competition is a key innovation driver, so in that sense FiOS along with CVC’s product and the ultra-high-speed services of others, have the potential to spur the entire industry to breed new ideas at all levels…applications, content, information as well as transport. And, of course, Verizon intends to keep our FiOS products fresh, strong and market-leading.

Time will tell whether CVC and DOCSIS are up to the task. Increasingly, engineers are concluding that only fiber-all-the-way to the user will be able to actually meet broadband capacity needs, and that all else is stop-gap. For now, CVC’s leap to 101 Mbps is about market positioning and bragging rights rather than delivering a useful service to a mass customer market.#

Now I know as much as the next guy that competition is a good thing for the consumer but I love the childish way these companies behave towards each other.