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Verizon demos 1Gbps Fios connection

Verizon Communications shows it can deliver a 1Gbps service over its Fios fiber network, but customers shouldn't expect such a high-speed service anytime soon.

Verizon Communications has demonstrated in a real-world field test that its Fios all-fiber broadband network can deliver speeds topping out at 1Gbps.

The company said in a press release Monday that it had successfully tested the 1Gbps service in June connecting an existing Fios business customer to its local facilities in Taunton, Mass. Verizon said it tested the speed of the connection using a local server as well as a server that was 400 miles away. Verizon said that the download speed for the link to the local server was 925Mbps and the connection to the remote server was 800Mbps.

Verizon has spent nearly $23 billion over the past few years upgrading much of its traditional broadband network with fiber connections directly to homes and businesses. Fiber-optic connections should allow Verizon to deliver almost limitless capacity to its customers via equipment that can split the wavelengths on the glass fibers.

Actual speeds of the connections are limited by the electronics on either end of the fiber-optic connection. Verizon's existing GPON (gigabit passive optical network) equipment that is currently used in the network provides a total capacity of 2.4Gbps downloads. This means that in theory it should not be difficult for Verizon to deliver a 1Gbps download service to its Fios customers. But because capacity is shared on the GPON node, real-life speeds are often less than theoretical maximums.

Verizon executives said that faster-speed services should allow the company to offer a slew of new services that demand high-capacity network connections.

"This kind of bandwidth capacity will provide Verizon the ability to continue to meet FiOS customers' needs by offering more bandwidth to support services such as 3DTV, ultra HDTV, multiplayer gaming and HD video conferencing," Brian Whitton, executive director of Verizon's technology group, said in a statement.

But Verizon Fios customers shouldn't expect a 1Gbps service anytime soon. The fastest speed service that Verizon offers to customers today is 50Mbps. The company has said it plans to offer 100Mbps customers soon, but so far it hasn't seen much demand for such speeds. What's more, the price of a 1Gpbs would be extremely expensive given that the 50Mbps service is $140 a month when bundled with phone service and $145 a month without a phone bundle.

It's likely that a 1Gbps service would be used by high-capacity business customers looking to transfer extremely large files. It could also be used for wireless backhaul services to provide more capacity to wireless networks from the cell towers to Verizon's nationwide Internet protocol network and the public Internet.