Sounds crazy right? Seriously, how could a fiber optic network be out of bandwidth? In most networks, the last mile (in this case fiber) is the bottleneck, but despite what Verizon has told us, it appears there is a bottleneck further upstream -- at least according to a very well respected long time member of the AVSForum
. Although Verizon is one of the first providers to bring fiber to the home, just like most cable co's, its television network is a QAM system. One of the biggest differences is that Verizon uses two Super Head Ends for the entire country where all the signals -- except locals -- are collected (via fiber and satellite) and then sent to various video hubs through the US and finally to central offices in each Verizon FiOS
market. The problem lies in the the video hubs and central offices -- some of them can only support 103 QAM
channels, which is considerably less than the 135 channels available between your local central office and your home. We have no idea why Verizon would build the core of its network this way, but we are lead to believe that a plan to upgrade is currently underway, and since it's Verizon's policy to deploy new HD channel nationally, everyone has to wait until the upgrades are completed. This is not to say that FiOS is already completely out of bandwidth, but we believe Verizon is feeling the pinch and is trying to reallocate bandwidth from analog channels to digital -- just like cable
. We for one are just glad that Verizon dosen't do what most providers do, and re-compress the HD programming to find more bandwidth. Of course since Verizon isn't talking, there's no way to know if this is true, but it makes sense when you think about the number of HD channels
added in the past six months while every other provider is adding channels
in record numbers.**UPDATE**
Verizon wasn't happy when we said "Verizon isn't talking", because they did respond to our email requesting information. What we meant is that they wouldn't tell us what needed to be upgraded and only said "it's just a matter of adding new equipment to increase capacity", which we already knew. What we didn't know, and they wouldn't talk about is, what exactly was needed to increase capacity and when? You can read the full rebuttal on their site.
*Verizon is currently in the process of acquiring AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.