Good news for Verizon customers: The company is rolling out symmetrical broadband speeds for FiOS subscribers. That means upload speeds and download speeds will now be equal. Getting the same speeds in both directions will help users put larger files into their cloud storage locker, for example, or upload high-quality videos to YouTube more quickly.
If you previously were getting 15 Mbps down and 5 Mbps up, the speeds will be automatically upgraded at no extra cost to 15/15. The same goes for 50/25 plans: Those speeds will now be upgraded to 50/50. And if you had 75/35? You guessed it: Now it will be 75 down and 75 up.
This is a huge step. Internet providers that offer symmetrical speeds are relatively rare in the United States. As competitors such as Google Fiber have started advertising equal upload and download rates, it has put the onus on incumbent Internet service providers to adapt.
Quicker upload speeds mean smoother video chats as your computer sends images of you over the Web, better online gaming performance and, in the future, added capacity to handle more objects connected to the Internet. With the new symmetrical speeds, the fastest FiOS subscribers (at 500 Mbps) will be able to send a five-minute HD-quality video in as little as four seconds.
That more ISPs are beginning to recognize symmetrical speeds might be a sign that they realize there is a large group of Internet users whose relationship to the Web is not simply about downloading and consuming content. It is about creating and sharing and producing things.
The FiOS upgrades began this week and will continue over the next few months, according to Verizon. People who want to hop on early can do so through Verizon's customer loyalty program, Verizon My Rewards+.