A Verizon Communications technician installs fiber-optic lines in Newark,… (Mel Evans / Associated Press )
Verizon announced plans to introduce next month a new Internet service that will double the download speeds of its current top service, which is already the fastest mass-scale service in the country.
The company will also more than double the speeds of most of its current plans while also introducing another tier of service.
At the new top speed, consumers could download a two-hour HD video in less than two and a half minutes, according to the company, which announced its plans Wednesday.
Verizon said the faster speeds are meant to accommodate the changing ways people are using the Internet.
"The ways we used the Internet and watched TV over the past 10 to 15 years have dramatically shifted," said Bob Mudge, president of Verizon's consumer and mass market business unit.
"With the emergence of smartphones, smart TVs, Blu-ray players, tablets and gaming consoles that also serve as over-the-top devices, consumers need more bandwidth to receive the highest-quality experience," he said.
Though the company will not announce pricing until next month, it did outline the capabilities of its new and updated tiers.
Its top tier will have download speeds at a whopping 300 Mbps and upload speeds of 65 Mbps. Below that is another tier that keeps Verizon's current top download speed of 150 Mbps but bumps the upload speed up to 65 Mbps as well. These two plans are recommended by the company for households of five or more Internet-connected users who want the best available service.
Most of the company's customers will have access to the two top services.
Below those levels is the new plan the company is introducing, which carries speeds of 75/35 Mbps, and is a good fit for households with multiple users who use the Web to download music and photos as well as watch videos, according to the company.
Its two bottom levels will be a 50/25 Mbps tier, which has download speeds that are twice as fast as its current equivalent, and a 15/5 Mbps plan, which is the same as is currently available for $54.99 a month.
"High-speed Internet no longer is just for techies, as more than half of our residential consumers already use at least a 20 Mbps Internet connection," said Mike Ritter, chief marketing officer for Verizon's consumer and mass market business unit.
The company said the new plans are in preparation for the future.
Video will make up 50% of all Web traffic by the end of the year, up from as low as 10% back in 2005, according to the company. Verizon also said the average U.S. home has seven Internet-connected devices and it expects homes to average between nine and 15 devices by 2015.
Access to Verizon's service is limited to consumers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, parts of Florida, Texas, California and Washington, D.C. Most of Los Angeles and surrounding areas are covered by the company.