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Super High-Speed Fiber Coming Soon

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May 19, 2004 1:33 PM PDT    Text size: 
NEW YORK – If you live in Keller, Texas, you will be one of the lucky ones.

Why so? Verizon Communications Inc. will be rolling out fiber-optic Internet access that will essentially give you lightening-fast service.

With fiber, New York-based Verizon is promising services ranging from five megabits a second to roughly 30 megabits a second. The theoretical maximum speed of the company’s fiber network will be 100 megabits a second, for which there currently aren't any applications.

The digital subscriber line, or DSL, service through copper lines varies greatly, running as fast as 1.5 megabits a second, though usually the speed is much slower. And Verizon has decided the traditional copper lines that now connect the nation's homes and businesses aren't fully up to the task over the long run.

Verizon’s latest initiative isn’t only planned in Texas, though.

The telecom giant’s $3 billion plan is aiming to give 1 million residences the ability to connect directly to its fiber network by the end of the year. Most of the locations will be in new developments around the United States.

Verizon said Wednesday that the highest-speed bandwidth service is likely to cost around $80 a month, but that figure isn’t set in stone.

And pricing will be tiered, depending on speed.

For example, a 15-megabits-per-second service will be marketed to heavy home computer users such as video-gamers, as well as small businesses.

With a 100-megabits-per-second service, the company could offer hundreds of television channels, putting it in direct competition with cable companies.

The telecom is counting on fiber to prepare for an age when consumers are expected to demand super-high-speed bandwidth to download video, photos and applications that don't exist today.

Only one other telecom has rolled out a large, all-fiber network. Atlanta-based Bell South Corp. has connected many homes in Atlanta and Tampa, Fla., but hasn’t gone further.

Denver-based Quest Communications International Inc., on the other hand, said a fiber roll out isn’t economically feasible.

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