Verizon has been working on fiber-optic technology that promises speeds of 10 gigabits per second. The network, called NG-PON2, or “next-generation passive optical network,” works by using specific wavelengths of light through fiber-optic cables to transmit data.
The company isn’t stopping there, though. In a statement, Verizon said it believes its network could eventually be upgraded to speeds of 80 gigabits per second by adding more light wavelengths. That’s 80 times faster than Google’s fiber service, which offers breakneck speeds in a limited number of cities, and 160 times faster than Verizon’s current top FiOS speeds.
Verizon, based in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, tested the service by installing an optical line terminal in the central office and transmitting to a customer’s home in Framingham, Massachusetts. The company was able to test the resilience that came with the new technology: When a fault was simulated in the central office equipment, the network was able to simply switch to a more stable wavelength of light to maintain the connection.
“The advantage of our FiOS network is that it can be upgraded easily by adding electronics onto the fiber network that is already in place," said Lee Hicks, Verizon's vice president of network technology. "Deploying this exciting new technology sets a new standard for the broadband industry and further validates our strategic choice of fiber-to-the-premises.”
Faster Internet speeds become more attractive as consumers increasingly look to cut the cable TV cord. As services such as Hulu, Netflix and HBO Now gain popularity, the demand for instant-on movie streaming will increase. Comcast and Verizon offer comparable maximum speeds, but Google Fiber’s 1-gigabit-per-second offering has given the traditional companies a run for their money.
Verizon will begin accepting proposals for NG-PON2 hardware purchases later this year, emphasizing the initial attractiveness of the service for business customers, but predicting demand for the super-speed service to rise as 4K video becomes the norm.