Verizon Fios debuts symmetrical 2-gig internet in NYC

Verizon trotted out a new symmetrical 2-gig broadband tier in New York City, joining a slew of other providers in offering multi-gig internet options and heading off plans by Altice USA to do the same in areas where it competes with Fios.

A Verizon representative told Fierce it is using NG-PON2 to deliver the service, which is currently available in parts of Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. The operator plans to expand the 2-gig offer to additional Fios markets later this year and eventually make it available across the entire Fios footprint.

The representative said it decided to launch a multi-gig offer now because “there has been an increasing demand for applications that require more symmetrical speeds.” As to how it chose its initial market, the representative explained “New York City is home to close to one-third of Fios customers, so it was a natural decision to choose that market to have the most immediate impact for customers.”

Customers taking the $120 per month service will need a 2-gig capable router. The representative said Verizon launched a compatible router alongside the new plan on Tuesday, with this included for free as part of the service.

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Verizon joins a growing army of operators offering multi-gig speeds to consumers. AT&T and Ziply Fiber joined the pack last month, with each trotting out 2-gig and 5-gig service plans. Others offering multi-gig broadband include Google Fiber (2-gig), TDS Telecom (2-gig), North Dakota’s MLGC (5-gig) and Dobson Fiber (10-gig). Additionally, Altice USA, Frontier Communications, Windstream and Alaska’s GCI have all publicly outlined plans to debut multi-gig offers in the near future.

Pricing for Verizon’s offer falls on the higher end of the spectrum for 2-gig service. Current offers from Google Fiber, AT&T and Ziply run $100, $110 and $120, respectively.

Altice’s expected move is perhaps the most relevant for Verizon, given the former has outright stated it plans to blanket areas of Fios overlap in the New York metropolitan area with 10 gig-capable fiber by the end of 2023. Speaking on Altice’s Q3 earnings call in November, CEO Dexter Goei said it was plotting the launch of a converged fixed and mobile offer in Q1 to better compete with Fios.

RELATED: Altice USA puts Verizon Fios on notice, targets 1M new fiber passings in 2022

Recon Analytics founder Roger Entner told Fierce fiber offers like Fios have traditionally won out over cable, but with Altice shifting from HFC to fiber as well “the arms race is even.”

“They want to shore up their market,” he said of Verizon’s multi-gig move. “They want to take out Altice’s legs before they can start running.”

Entner added Verizon can also use New York as a proving ground for its multi-gig offer.

“It’s also a huge trial market for Verizon,” he noted. “We know that the cable companies are working very hard on being able to provide multi-gig service through high splits and cable head splitting. So what they’re learning here in the largest test market there is they will apply to other markets.”