Broadband Competition is Good!

Okay so where I live, I basically only have 2 options for broadband Internet service – Verizon DSL or Road Runner cable. I’ve obviously opted for the higher speeds and better reliability and switched to RR (resold through Earthlink, slightly cheaper and doesn’t require cable TV service). Verizon FiOS is being deployed in Queens slowly and it’s not available at my home yet (they literally connect fiber to each home). I’ve been itching to switch to FiOS because they give you tremendous bandwidth for around the same price (a bit more). So I was looking up information on when FiOS might be available in my area and was browsing the forums over at broadbandreports.com. That’s where I came upon some interesting news regarding Road Runner.

Broadbandreports is really informative by the way and there’s a huge forum community sharing information. Well apparently it seems Time Warner Cable is in the process of upgrading access speeds and Queens, NY standard service (5mbps/384kbps) was upgraded to 10mbps/512kbps sometime in December. They haven’t really announced this publicly so I was never aware of this – that’s literally double the download speed and a decent bump on the upload speed. I’d prefer something like 1mbps upload, but it’s okay (guess I have to wait for super speed FiOS to be available, c’mon Verizon!).

So I power-cycled my cable modem (cut power to it for at least a minute) but after testing it, there was no improvement. I was a bit irked because many people said the upgrades were in effect for Queens. Then I remembered I set my QoS (Quality of Service) settings to max out at 5mbps/300kbps – I changed this accordingly to 10mbps/500kbps and wa la, speed tests now show the upgraded speeds.

I’m a happy camper now that I have my upgrade – and to think I haven’t been taking advantage of this speed boost for nearly a month. This will tide me over until FiOS is available. And obviously with Verizon DSL’s slow speeds, RR would never have made these free speed boosts. Many people on those forums have indicated it’s because of Verizon’s increasing FiOS deployment that’s motivating RR to upgrade the speed. So hurray for competition.

More on FiOS
After reading the forums, it seems that Verizon is rolling out FiOS for individual homes first because multi-dwelling units (MDU’s) are a bit more complicated. I live in a co-op and it’s basically this huge block of 2-story connected houses/apartments. It’s not as bad in FiOS deployment terms as tall apartment buildings but they still need to work it out with the property managers before they can start installing the hardware and fiber on the property. I assume this just hasn’t happened yet because FiOS is available just 2 blocks away from me. I’ve also read some spotty information that it’ll be available in many parts of Queens in March 2007 so I hope that’s true. Verizon’s actually implemented their own speed upgrades due to competition from Comcast in some territories. Mmmm, competition = good for the consumer. Consolidation and massive mergers = bad for the consumer.

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