When analyzing Verizon’s 2010 broadband numbers, you find a tale of two measures. Broadband powered through DSL technology continues to lose ground – in a major way. FiOS on the other hand continues to grow – so much so that FiOS services (Internet and TV) now account for 53% of all of Verizon consumer wireline revenue. No doubt that Verizon is a FTTH and wireless company. Its copper legacy has never been in more doubt.

Consider that Verizon lost a whopping 564K DSL subscribers in all of 2010, 145K of which were lost in the 4th quarter alone. All told, Verizon’s DSL line count declined by 12% in 2010. Compare that with traditional access line loss, where Verizon lost approximately 8% of their total access lines in 2010, or 2.3 million access lines. By my analysis, Verizon’s DSL decline is outpacing their access line decline (on a percentage basis), suggesting a pretty grim Verizon future for not just access line loss, but DSL as well.

In comparison, FiOS continues respectable, but not highly impressive growth. Verizon added 796K FiOS Internet subscribers and 722K FiOS TV subscribers in 2010. They ended the year with 4.1 million FiOS Internet subscribers at 32% total penetration and 3.5 million FiOS TV customers at 28% penetration.

While the FiOS numbers soften the blow of DSL losses, they don’t do so by much. When you add FiOS additions to DSL losses, you get a net add of 232K broadband subscribers for Verizon in all of 2010. Compare that with one of Verizon’s main competitors, Comcast, who beat Verizon’s total 2010 net broadband adds in just one quarter – 249K net new broadband customers in 3Q10 alone, and 766K total through the end of 3Q10. As of this post’s writing, Comcast had yet to report 4Q10 results.

Any question as to the future of the business for Verizon wireline? Makes you wonder what they eventually intend to do with their declining 4.3 million DSL customer base. Let it continue to lose about 3% per quarter, or something more drastic? They can’t convert all of them to FiOS since FiOS will not cover all Verizon DSL territory. Will there be a big push by Verizon to convert those wireline DSL customers to wireless 4G LTE for broadband? Maybe so – Verizon also reported that they added 65K 4G LTE customers in just three weeks during 4Q10.


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9 thoughts on “Future of Verizon DSL in Doubt?

  1. if it is in doubt it's at verizon's choosing. they are focusing attention on ftth and wireless. if they decided to put attention on dsl, they could reverse these trends.

  2. It will be real telling to see if Frontier sees these same trends with their recently acquired Verizon DSL customer base. Is this a market question, or simply one of focus?

  3. What's wrong with Verizon and the other land line Telcos? ADSL2 will support 25Mbps. Other implementations of VDSL can support 50 to 100Mbps. Or why not open-up this growing wasteland of copper for DS3 (45 Mbps) to the home?

    Alternatively, hybrid fiber/copper from remotes would dramatically improve DSL reach, way beyond the CO's. Snooze, you lose.

    1. John:
      I live in California (Silicon Valley) where SBC, now att, bought that same story from a consultant who shall remain anonymous. It is not as simple as your numbers show because you have to add distance, Bit Error Rate (BER) and quality/age of the copper plant to the equation. Verizon with its aged copper infrastructure understood all of this and went ftth while SBC went the cheap way with VDSL. Probably most telling in Bernie's numbers are the number of FiOS subs that have also purchased FiOS TV. Compare that with the equivalent att numbers for uVerse subs vs uVerse TV subs. I was one of the later (TV sub) but the HDTV quality for uVerse was so poor over copper that I turned it off and now only am a uVerse DSL sub. Copper is history and I believe that's the message that I think Bernie is sending.
      I'd love to have FiOS and would subscribe in an instant. Unfortuntately Silicon Valley has legacy based video service (Cable and Telco).

  4. John, Its very hard to speculate… But if I am going to take the time to shorten my loops to < 4000' for vdsl and place a dslam I am going ftth. Verizons cable plant is filled with bride taps and bs wiring schemes. Its easier for them to overlay fiber then rebuild their copper plant.

  5. I think the author needs a little help with the numbers. Obviously a Verizon DSL customer who switches to FIOS is going to show as a lost DSL customer as well as a FIOS gain. However, A loss of 564K DSL subs vs. a gain of 232K FIOS internet subs doesn';t seem to add up to a net increase in broadband internet customers.of the same 232k. As for Comcast and other MSO's doing so well, they can't be happy with Verizon adding 722k video customers. As far as any short term demise of DSL, the copper lines and DSLAMs are already paid for, and there are plenty of rural markets not well covered by Cable or wireless providers, and LTE is likely a long way off for these markets as well.

    1. Dave – thanks for catching my typo (corrected in the post)! The actual number of FiOS Internet adds in 2010 is 796K, not 232K, which is net adds for all broadband in 2010.

  6. Verizon's mistake is typical of Telco/Cable companies. They all want to increase subscriber monthly prices while providing less and less service. They even brag about this to their investors, so its no surprise.

    FTTH is a new playing field and they are trying to apply a failed tiered pricing strategy based on that old BS scarcity myth that most of us know is a lie. They are really screwed as more communities put in Synchronous FTTH (same upstream bandwidth as downstream bandwidth)

    Some Facts:

    AT&T DSL Extreme guarantees 80% of the upstream bandwidth with 99.99% uptime. They are the only ones providing bandwidth upstream guarantees…why is that?

    FIOS could be synchronous, but that goes against their preferred business model as stated above. Instead they offer 50Mb/5Mb for over $119. Pricey but worth it if you have no other options.

    Of the less than 30 synchronous FTTH communities in the USA, a few allow home cloud servers via the Terms of Service. Same with email Servers, File servers, etc… 10Mb/10Mb FTTH for between $25 – $50 per month. No monthly caps. Lets see Verizon FIOS offer that…they will not, too stuck in their ways to innovate.

    While Cable companies throttle 100% of their subscribers to less than the marketed and promised 16Mb/2Mb for around $60 per month. The only time you see those bandwidths are during the Speed Tests, 1 second later ALL subscribers are throttled to less than the FCC definition of 768Kb. By definition I would suggest to you that they no longer offer BROADBAND.

    When they put the older business model to rest, in the grave and embrace the realities of synchronous FTTH their customers will finally get service. The fact that it has taken over 20 years to get here is not lost on those of us that are willing to move to one of the FTTH communities and leave the Telcos in the dust.

  7. https://www.telecompetitor.com/future-of-verizon-d

    @John I agree with @Chris and I even take it a step farther. I am planning to move to one of the Synchronous FTTH communities that exist in the USA right now, today. When Google adds their 5 Go Big With a Gig communities there will be barely over 30 communities. Since my friends and I have been planning to move we naturally had to figure out where. Where are the almost, soon to be just over 30 FTTH communities (sn(dot)im(slash)1axal4 in case this forums cuts out URLs). in the USA, glad you asked.

    Long URL: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&amp;…

    Shortened URL: http://sn.im/1axal4

    That is not 5 years from now, 10 years from now or 20 years from now, that is TODAY, right now. No need to wait, no need to put up with sub-standard upstream bandwidth any longer. No need to have BS reasons like the bandwidth scarcity myth to restrict, limit or throttle ones service. No worries about Net Neutrality as with synchronous bandwidth, you get what you pay for, or at least 95% of what you pay for.

    With Cable today, you get less than 10% of what you are paying for. Thanks to DD-WRT I see my bandwidth in real time, 24X7 and know that 100% of cable providers (and DSL providers) bandwidth is throttled immediately following the Speed Test.

    @John their Greed is what is wrong with them. They have received over $200 Billion of our American money since 1990s in (grants + addl fees + addl taxes ) with the promise of providing Americans Fiber To The Home or FTTH. WTF? Where's The Fiber?

    @Joyce actually its 100% the telco and cable companies choice, including Verizon. They insist on their failed tiered pricing model dependent on lying to customers (bandwidth scarcity myth, bit-torrents and DRM lies)

    Do you really mean to tell me that anyone with half a brain honestly believes there are heavy bittorrent users in 100% of Cable/DSL downlinks? I bet money that over 90% of are Cable/DSL trunks have no heavy bit-torrent users. I can not prove my assumption any more than they can prove theres. However I KNOW that 100% of Cable/DSL customers have their bandwidth throttled, especially their upstream bandwidth.

    So we have documented promises of over $200 Billion being given to telcos for FTTH and the incumbents are rumored to lobby at the rate of $1.3 – $1.8 million per WEEK to prevent competition, including FTTH. This is why I KNOW they all do what they do by their own choosing, especially Verizon. You know Verizon FIOS could be synchronous immediately if they wanted it to be…my guess is after enough communities churn away from the incumbents to synchronous FTTH providers, no matter how long it takes, that is exactly what Verizon will do. Either that or go out of business.

    And what do they promise customers, antiquated DOCSIS and anything but FTTH. Anything less than FTTH is a Ponzi scheme. If the provider is unable to provide you 95% of their “up to” promise to all their customers 99% of the time, its FRAUD. Should any incumbent be allowed to call their bandwidth BROADBAND if they restrict the bandwidth, upstream or downstream, to below the FCC, over 10 year outdated standard, of 768Kbps?

    Thanks to Synchronous FTTH, Japan had 100Mb/100Mb for $55 per month by the year 2000. Thanks to that FTTH investment they were able to give their customers 1GB/1Gb for $52 per month by the year 2006. Price dropping and staying there is a sure sign that a market is somewhat working and competition exists.

    Of course no economic market is in reality FREE based on economics in America anyway.

    The incumbents do what they do because they want too. They have absolutely no intention of providing FTTH unless they are forced too. If they can control your state, county and community laws to prevent competition, they still do not HAVE TOO.

    How simple and obvious do they have to make it for us before we WAKE UP!

    Why should we WAIT for synchronous FTTH? I will not. My friends will not. You should not.

    Its been a few months since this post, in light of Google finally announcing that Kansas City will be the
    first of their 5 Synchronous 1GB/1Gb “Go Big With a Gig cities”, it will be interesting to see the future…it is indeed finally a Bright Future (pun intended).

    I think the last 20 years of their actions show us all anyone needs to know to understand what they will and will not provide to their customers. To not see it at this point, you have to not want to see it. In that case why did you bother to read what I wrote, as you are not going to effect change to make your life better anyway.

    I can think of two choices, wish I had three or more, because having ONLY two choices is no choice at all IMO.

    You can elect politicians that will change laws and provide FTTH to your community OR

    You can move.

    I for one am tired of waiting and you should be too!

    The future is out there…the future is SYNCHRONOUS FTTH, anything less is a Ponzi scheme and best avoided as it will only cost you time and money.

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