Verizon May Use Wireless Tech To Deliver FiOS In Boston
Verizon announced a few months ago that it was considering offering its FiOS service in Boston. The move the provider is actually considering wouldn’t involve installing fiber, though. High-speed Verizon service in Boston is most likely going to take the form of a wireless connection (likely 5G) branded as FiOS service.
It’s not like Verizon is the only one considering such moves. Both AT&T and Google are exploring options to deliver fiber optic speeds on a wide scale without physically installing fiber lines all the way to individual property owners.
Francis Shammo, the CFO of Verizon, talked on the matter at the Goldman Sachs Communcacopia Conference. He said that as long as wireless broadband delivers acceptable service, it could make it a lot less expensive for Verizon to deliver that service to individual customers.
Shammo painted a hypothetical picture of installing a credit card-sized wireless signal receptor on a window in order to pick up broadband signals. That connection would be relayed to the customer’s wireless router, eliminating the need for labor and specialized hardware in setting up a broadband connection.
What’s the upside for Verizon that it’s not mentioning in its marketing announcements? Fiber installations are done by the ordinary Verizon workforce. Wireless is handled by a separate group – one that’s far less unionized than the main workforce. That could be cause for celebration or condemnation depending on your attitude towards unions.
There’s a much bigger issue regarding any plan to upgrade Boston’s internet via wireless 5G coverage: Nobody knows whether or not wireless broadband deployment will work at this scale.
Bruce Kushnick, an experienced telecom analyst, says that the technology qualified as vaporware. It also doesn’t save nearly as much labor as the Verizon bigwigs might hope. With a current range of roughly 500 feet, broadband wifi sources would still need to be brought very close to customers – and that means plenty of fiber installations. Verizon is betting heavily on significant improvements in the technology.
Verizon is meanwhile making no other plans to accommodate its internet customers’ future needs. The existing copper phone lines are being sold off, dismantled, or ignored. If Verizon isn’t going to lay direct fiber lines and their 5G Wireless plan doesn’t work, exactly what are their customers going to be left with?
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