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Verizon giving super-fast routers to FiOS customers

Friday, June 30, 2006

Verizon Communications Inc. said it is giving subscribers to its new FiOS fiber optic Internet service free super-routers capable of distributing data and entertainment throughout a home at high speeds.

Verizon is spending billions on FiOS, the brand name for its bet-the-farm strategy of running a network of powerful fiber-optic cables to every home and then sending everything from telephone service to video and Internet connections over those lines. But the strategy has one major glitch: existing wiring in most homes can't carry data nearly as fast as the fiber-optic lines can, and neither can most off-the-shelf routers -- boxes that enable computer users to set up home networks.

FiOS is capable of delivering data at speeds of up to 30 megabits per second currently, and Verizon says it can increase those speeds exponentially. Top speeds of other broadband services like DSL and cable are generally between 1.5 megabits per second and 12 megabits per second.

Verizon's new router can handle speeds of up to 100 megabits per second, and, an executive said in an interview, will come equipped with software that will allow the company to diagnose network problems in a user's home remotely and would also enable future services that Verizon plans to offer, such as streaming content between devices on a home network.

The routers should also save Verizon time and money when it installs FiOS: until now, the company had been running new ethernet cables inside a home to bypass the slower, old copper wiring that limited speeds.

Routers can cost anywhere from $49.99 to $149.99 at retail stores, depending on speed.

(By Keith Reed, Globe staff)

Posted by Boston Globe Business Team at 10:03 AM