Verizon: Are You Ready for 10, or Even 80 Gig, Internet?

Just when some residential areas are starting to get the 1 gigabit Internet service that many businesses have had for a while now, Verizon is prepping for the not-too-distant future – one that could include speeds that are 10 times faster.

The carrier says it has wrapped a successful test of new technology on its fiber network that “could easily” provide both businesses and consumers with download and upload speeds of a whopping 10 gigabits per second (Gpbs), with the potential of increasing those speeds even more.

How much more? How about 80 Gbps?! Seriously. Verizon says that eventually will be possible thanks to pending upgrades to its fiber-optic platform. Upgrades will begin just as soon as the commercial equipment is available to support business services such as switched Ethernet. Speeds of 40-80 Gbps are possible simply by adding new colors of light onto the existing fiber, each augmenting the capacity by up to 10 Gbps, said Lee Hicks, Verizon’s vice president of network technology.

You might be wondering if there will be demand for 80Gbps. With that much power, you could download a 14GB digital movie in just a few seconds. Now that’s blazing.

Field testing of Verizon’s next-generation passive optical network (NG-PON2) was done at the carrier’s central office in Framingham, Massachusetts, to a customer’s home three miles away, as well as to a nearby business. The test also included simulation of a fault in the central office equipment, which was autonomously tuned to another wavelength, restoring 10G service in mere seconds – a critical function that Verizon says will be key to the network’s reliability and performance.

Verizon plans to issue proposals later this year for the purchase of hardware and software for the new NG-PON2 platform. The company expects that while the higher speeds will at first be attractive to businesses, both business and consumers will demand them as 4K video content becomes the norm and the Internet of Things starts to dominate the industry about five years from now.

Verizon’s 10 gig trial was conducted with a NG-PON2 equipment system from Cisco and PT Inovação.

Follow senior online managing editor Craig Galbraith on Twitter.

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