Verizon boosts available FiOS broadband speeds

Verizon Communications Inc.’s FiOS Internet service is getting a lot faster. The cable provider said Wednesday that it will double the top speed available to subscribers to its premium FiOS broadband service because of growing demand for video content over the Web.

The increase raises Verizon’s fastest available service to 300 megabits per second—a rate the company said is more than twice the speed of any Internet service available to residential customers in the United States. At the top speed, customers can download a standard definition, two-hour movie in less than 40 seconds, according to a press release from the company.

But those speeds, which the company said will be available in June, will come at a price, which the company would not disclose Wednesday, saying it will announce fees for upgraded service next month. It now charges about $200 a month for 150-megabits-per-second Internet service, its highest current speed, and has 5 million FiOS Internet customers.

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“All broadband providers continue to upgrade the speed because customers want more,” said Jeff Kagan, an independent telecommunications analyst. “In reality, you can deliver more speed over existing networks as technology advances.”

The FiOS upgrade is also designed to meet the increased demand for broadband service to Internet-connected devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. “Families won’t have to say, ‘Don’t make that Skype call right now because we’re watching a Netflix movie,’ ” said Richard Bennett, senior research fellow at the Washington think tank Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

Verizon’s maximum speed is indeed “twice as high as what the cable companies can offer,” Bennett said, which could give the company a marketing edge over competitors such as Comcast Corp.

Verizon will also increase speeds available on several less-expensive tiers of FiOS Internet service. FiOS is available in 112 Massachusetts communities and most of Rhode Island, but not in the city of Boston.