Verizon will stop offering DSL broadband service as a standalone offering. The so-called "naked DSL" is essentially DSL service without using the company's landline phone service offering. The move signals the rise of a consumer trend called "cord-cutting," in which more and more consumers are getting rid of their home phones, and replacing them with mobile devices.
Verizon tried to explain the rational behind the move like this: “By discontinuing a stand-alone DSL offer after May 6, we can control our cost structure more effectively, enabling us to continue providing competitively priced services to existing and new customers.”
The Verizon service announcement only applies to customers who make changes to their existing service, or want to sign up for new DSL service. According to the Verizon customer notification, for customers who fit this description after May 6, 2012:
"You can make changes to and retain your Verizon High Speed Internet Service on or after the above date, by adding Verizon's local voice service to the same account. If you are moving your service from one location to another on or after the above date, you may subscribe to internet service at your new location if you also subscribe to Verizon's local voice service on the same account. If you choose to subscribe to additional Verizon services you could be eligible for a bundled discount when you also subscribe to Verizon's local voice service on the same account."
According to Verizon, slightly more than 10% of their customers subscribe to a DSL plan, without some type of voice service as well. At he same time, Verizon also reported an 8% decline in residential retail voice orders in the year ending September 30, 2012. Verizon cited the substitution of wireless voice options, broadband, cable and VoIP services as the major reasons for the declining demand in landline voice services.
It isn't all bad news for Verizon however. As one of the nation's largest telecommunications provider, the wireless side of the house gained almost 1.5 million mobile subscribers in the quarter ending in January, 2012. This brings the total number of mobile subscribers to almost 110 million. In the fourth quarter of 2011, Verizon added 201,000 new FiOS data connections for a total of 4.8 million. FiOS TV subscriptions were slightly behind that at 4.2 million.
While protecting its revenue on a service offering which is declining in popularity, the company may be helping their bottom line, but they are also hurting their most vulnerable customers. While "cord-cutting" is certainly part of the reason consumers are abandoning traditional landline phone service, some consumers have to make difficult choices based on family economics. While FCC Universal Service Reform (USF) should help these consumers, there are not enough programs available to address affordability as a broadband adoption barrier.
Verizon has been very active increasing their LTE/4G Service area in the United States.Verizon's 4G service, or LTE (Long Term Evolution) is the next stage of evolution for wireless broadband service. The new technology will be able to handle downloads of 100 Mbps and uploads of 50 Mbps for every 20 MHz of spectrum used.
With the voracious bandwidth appetites of new applications for smartphones, increased demand for video content delivered over the internet, and the increasing use of internet TV, broadband providers are trying to keep pace. In the U.S., AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon will all be using LTE for their 4G networks. Sprint is planning to use a newer version of WiMax for its next generation network.