Ziply Fiber has launched two multi-gigabit, symmetrical broadband Internet tiers– at 2 Gbit/s and 5 Gbit/s – in 60 cities and towns in parts of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. The two new fiber Internet service plans will initially be available to nearly 170,000 physical addresses in those three states. This comes after Ziply conducted a successful small market test in Kirkland, Washington. Customers in Montana will gain access to the multi-gig options later this quarter, with availability expected across most of the company’s existing footprint by the middle of the year.
Pricing for the 2-Gig tier runs $120 per month while the 5-Gig tier costs $300 per month. Both multi-gig tiers will require users to get a special router that includes WiFi 6 compatibility, a 10G WAN port and either a 2.5G LAN port for the 2-gig plan or a greater than 5G LAN port for the 5-gig option.
Ziply is the first among regional and national residential providers — those with a customer base of more than 1% of the US population — to deliver these speeds. By doing so, Ziply has become the fastest major internet provider not only in the Northwest, but across the entire U.S.
Ziply Fiber, formed in 2020 via the acquisition of Frontier Communications’ operations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana, expects to launch the new multi-Gig tiers to the rest of its footprint by the second quarter of 2022, and to make them available in every new fiber market launched thereafter, said Harold Zeitz, Ziply Fiber’s CEO.
Zeitz told Fierce Telecom that more than half of Ziply’s customers already take its 1 Gbps plan, “so we already have customers who seem to want faster speeds compared to others.” He added the December trial covered five markets across Washington and Oregon and included a sample group of “tens of customers” who proactively sought access to the faster speed tiers. “There were no problems whatsoever,” Zeitz said of the trial. “We were able to demonstrate measured speed and it gave us confidence to go ahead and launch it broadly.”
Ziply Fiber’s new uncapped and no-contract tiers follow the company’s ongoing deployment of a 10-Gig capable XGS-PON access network and underlying core network. Zeitz said the launches prove that consumers don’t have to live in a big city to get big speeds. “It’s a revitalization opportunity,” he said. “It demonstrates the future-proof element of the technology.”
The company also sells a 50Mbit/s tier for $20 per month and a 200Mbit/s service for $40 per month. Zeitz estimates that “well over half” of Ziply Fiber’s broadband customers choose the 1-Gig tier.
Zeitz said offering broadband without a cap or a contract puts welcome pressure on the company. “Yes, we think it’s a differentiator, but I also think it helps motivate us to make sure we’re delivering great service, he said.
Other Gig FTTP Internet competitors:
Ziply Fiber’s 5-Gig service appears to raise the bar on a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) residential broadband offering offered in multiple states. With the exception of debuted a 5 Gbps service tier in 2020, while TDS rolled out a 2-gig offering and Dobson Fiber launched a 10 Gbps offering last year.and , none of the have dared to push the internet speed limit past a single gig. Google Fiber offers a 2-gigabit plan throughout most service areas while a limited few , but no 5 Gig yet. Among smaller regional players, EPB of Chattanooga, Tennessee, currently offers a residential 10-Gig service starting at $299 per month in select areas.North Dakota’s MLGC
Here’s the current competitive status from nationwide FTTP providers:
- Comcast’s targeted residential FTTP service, Gigabit Pro, was recently upgraded to deliver speeds of 3 Gbit/s for $299.95 per month (with a two-year contract).
- Google Fiber has been expanding the availability of a fiber-based service that delivers 2 Gbit/s down by 1 Gbit/s up.
- AT&T has hinted that a multi-gigabit service is in the works, but has not announced pricing or launch timing.
The burning question this author has is how will Zipply customers use even a fraction of their allotted 2 Gig or 5 Gig upload and download speeds? I have over 10 connected WiFi devices in my home where my 100 Mb/sec download speed is sufficient.
“This is for people to develop new use cases, et cetera,” Zeitz concluded. “I think we don’t know all the things that people will do and so we’re an enabler.”
Also, the extra gear needed won’t be cheap. To open up any potential in-home bottlenecks, Ziply Fiber is recommending an Asus AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 router or a similar device. Customers will also need an SFP+ (enhanced small form-factor pluggable) with an RJ-45 connector that’s compatible with the router to deliver up to 5-Gig. Ziply Fiber is also selling such products online – an Asus router for $449.95, and the SFP+ for $42.99, or both bundled together for $492.94.
For the full 5-Gig, customers will need a wired Ethernet connection to the router. Depending on the performance capabilities the computer, a customer on Ziply Fiber’s multi-gig service will likely need an Ethernet adapter/dongle that supports 2.5-Gig or 5-Gig.
24 January 2022 Update: AT&T can now equal 2 Gig and 5 Gig FTTP speeds
AT&T has boosted its existing fiber in parts of more than 70 metro areas around the U.S. to offer 2-Gig and 5-Gig symmetrical upload and download speeds.
“Where we’re launching 2-Gig and 5-Gig, we previously had 1-Gig speeds available,” said AT&T’s SVP of Broadband Product Development Cheryl Choy. The upgrades announced today affect about 5.2 million people out of about 16 million households that AT&T currently passes with gigabit speeds.
Asked why AT&T isn’t increasing speeds for all 16 million households that it passes with fiber, Choy said it’s because the company is “on a PON evolution.” It is in the process of moving from GPON to XGS PON via card upgrades and software improvements. These upgrades allow it to boost speeds above 1-Gig. Choy said that since 2019 all of AT&T’s newly laid fiber has been capable of multi-gig speeds.
Although the news of multi-gig fiber today did not require any new fiber to be laid, the company is also laying new fiber, and its goal is to cover 30 million customer locations with fiber by year-end 2025.
AT&T also announced it’s rolling out “straightforward pricing” across its AT&T Fiber portfolio. The 2-Gig fiber service costs $110 per month plus taxes with autopay; and the 5-Gig service costs $180 per month plus taxes with autopay.
Prices are a little higher for businesses at $225 per month for 2-Gig; and $395 per month for 5-Gig.
The company will not charge any equipment fees, nor will it require an annual contract or implement any data caps. The service also includes Wi-Fi.
Choy said, “We’ve amped up our Wi-Fi technology.” In late 2020 AT&T launched its Wi-Fi 6 enabled gateway, which provides more capacity for more connected devices. Those Wi-Fi devices will be able to take advantage of the new multi-gig speeds. AT&T’s Wi-Fi currently uses 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz spectrum.
According to a survey conducted in 2021 by Recon Analytics on behalf of AT&T, the average consumer has 13 connected devices in their home. But that’s expected to boom in the coming years, which will require more bandwidth.
Finally, as part of today’s news, AT&T said it has achieved up to 10-Gig speeds on fiber in its labs.
Ziply Fiber References: