Finally Feasible

Last week, Canadian cable operator Shaw Communications introduced a new Internet service called High-Speed Nitro in Saskatchewan, offering download speeds up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps), the fastest residential Internet speed in North America. By contrast, Verizon FiOS claims download speeds as high as 50Mbps, but customers typically see speeds in the 10-to-20Mbps range due to various factors such as the distance from your home to a Verizon central office, configuration of your computer, and condition of the wiring inside your home.

Such speed doesn't come cheap. The High-Speed Nitro service costs customers around $250 (Canadian) per month, which is about $200 US as of this writing. Yikes! Of course, all digital advances are expensive at first, but they quickly drop in price as adoption increases.

Of what importance is such high Internet speed to home theater? It hastens the transition from traditional broadcast media, such as over-the-air, cable, and satellite, to IPTV (Internet Protocol Television), which most pundits herald as the Next Big Thing. I've been skeptical about this due to the relatively low speeds of most residential broadband connections, which make it very difficult to stream high-quality video. At 100Mbps, however, that limitation is effectively removed, paving the way for multiple high-def programs to be delivered simultaneously via the Internet. Welcome to the future...

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David Vaughn's picture

Scott, It may be fast, but it's in Saskatchewan! My wife is from there and it's godawful cold there in the winter and you can't go outside without risk of freezing to death. They probably decided to implement the fast Internet for public safety to keep people indoors.David

Derf's picture

Plus, there's Big Saskatchewan who eats people in the woods, so, stay in and surf I say!

jorge's picture

I do not know where you get the Verizon information. I have VZ FiOs 20/10 MB and I get 20/10 Mb according to Speakeasy. My understanding is that Verizon FiOs delivers what is says. Since it runs on Fiber Optics it is not subject to distance to Central Office like their DSL product. I also believe that FiOs is not offering 100 Mbps service out of customer demand more that lack of capacity of their fibers.

Scott Wilkinson's picture

I got the FiOS info, including the reasons for lower than max speed, from Verizon's own website. I agree that it's strange to talk about distance affecting speed with fiber optics, but that's what they say. I did forget to factor in the speed limits based on package price; pay more and get faster speeds. What are you paying for 20/10 service? What would it be for 50Mbps down? As for customer demand, I can't say, but the FiOS website claims a maximum speed of 50Mbps. I would think that they would say 100Mbps if it could support that speed.

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