The View from Landmark

Trends and issues in personal computing from Bud Stolker, a long-time PC consultant. The View from Landmark features tips and techniques to make time spent with your computer more productive and rewarding, commentary on new personal computer policies and trends, plain-English explanations of new hardware, software, and network designs and their relevance to you, and answers to common questions. There may be personal material interspersed if Bud believes it is of general interest.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Verizon DSL Ups Its Speed

Most clients know that I've been a strong advocate of Verizon DSL for home and small business broadband service. They had a shaky start a few years ago and created ill feelings when their service was unreliable and their support structure was worse, but they've come a long way.

Now, in the face of competition -- mostly from Comcast cable -- Verizon is doubling its download speed at no charge.

The problem is, they haven't publicized this, as far as I can tell.

I learned about this from a client who switched his primary voice service to Vonage, a VOIP (Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol) phone company. (He's very pleased with the service, which costs $24.95/month for unlimited calls in the US and Canada, includes lots of features, and lets him use his standard telephones.)

Then I heard about it again while talking to a DSL technician who was fixing a glitch in my service. He volunteered that I'm "eligible" for a speed boost from 768 kilobits per second to 1.5 Megabits per second.

Verizon is raising its price in March -- from $34.95 to $37.95 per month. But if you commit to a one-year contract, Verizon drops the price to $29.95 -- and that includes the higher speed.

I wanted to make sure the higher speed works before committing, so I called Verizon's billing office (1-877-483-5898 in northern Virginia, Maryland, and DC) and asked for the higher speed. Lo, and behold, they said the increase will take effect within "20 minutes to 24 hours".

I'm still waiting, but wanted to share the news.

By the way, the higher download speed -- 1.5 Mbps -- is still only half that of Comcast (who has announced even higher speeds). For most homes and small businesses, considering the price, it's probably fast enough. Upload speed is still limited to 384 kbps, slow enough that you wouldn't be tempted to run a server over DSL.