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  • 08.17.10

Droolworthy Possibilities for Verizon’s 1 Gigabit Network

Verizon announced that one of its FiOS business customers was able to eke out nearly gigabit speeds. That may sound like nerd-speak, but it’s the future, and it’s going to change the way you do everything from watching movies to buying computers. Here’s how.

Let’s dial back a little bit. Verizon’s FiOS, a fiber-optic network, is one of the fastest Internet possibilities in the States today. Comcast’s cable is technically able to reach similar speeds, but not reliably so. Verizon currently offers speeds up to 50Mbps (that’s megabits per second) to its business and residential customers, although that number is really more of a best-case-scenario than an average. Verizon’s trial claimed to hit 925Mbps–yeah, nearly 20 times faster than the current best.

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That 50Mbps may seem fast, but compared to a lot of other countries (read: South Korea, Japan), it’s almost embarrassing. Faster Internet access is increasingly important, for reasons I’ll get to in a second, and 50Mbps is just not that great, all things considered. That’s why Google’s much-buzzed-about gigabit network is so buzzworthy: Gigabit Internet is the future. But Verizon’s achievement is a bigger deal than Google’s plans, for the simple reason that it actually exists now.

Computing is moving into the cloud. Bulky, unreliable hard drives are going to be a thing of the past–we’ll soon sync all of our music, video, photos, and documents online. The process has started already–think of Google, think of music services like MOG and Spotify, think of video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. But some things are still best stored locally, either on hard disks or on removable media like Blu-ray, most importantly high-def video.

True 1080p video requires insanely large files. Those files can’t reasonably be streamed, which is why services like Netflix limit their “HD” streaming to the lower-quality 720p. Gigabit Internet would remove that last barrier and allow lesser hardware–including alternative form factors like tablets–to be more capable.

Dan Nosowitz, the author of this post, can be followed on Twitter, corresponded with via email, and stalked in Brooklyn (no link for that one–you’ll have to do the legwork yourself).

About the author

Dan Nosowitz is a freelance writer and editor who has written for Popular Science, The Awl, Gizmodo, Fast Company, BuzzFeed, and elsewhere. He holds an undergraduate degree from McGill University and currently lives in Brooklyn, because he has a beard and glasses and that's the law.

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