Verizon Communications has boosted its fastest data tier to 500 Mbps on the downstream and 100 upstream, which tops Comcast’s fastest tier of 305/65.

The new 500 Mbps tier, which is available to residential and business customers in some areas of Verizon’s footprint, rides on Verizon’s GPON network, which also serves its 150 and 300 tiers. Verizon is using equipment from Motorola/Arris and Alcatel-Lucent to provision its GPON network.

In the pre-Google Fiber days of last summer, Verizon came out with its 300/65 offering to lay claim to being the fasted ISP in nation. Comcast trumped Verizon a month later when it announced its 305/65 Xfinity Platinum Internet tier.

With the 500 Mbps service, Verizon is halfway to Google’s 1 Gbps service that was first launched in Kansas City last year before spreading to Austinn and other Kansas City suburbs this year with Provo to follow.  

Verizon’s Quantum Internet service is available as part of a bundle or as a stand-alone service starting at $309.99 per month for a double play or $329.99 per month for a triple play with a two-year agreement.  The standalone service cost $299.99 a month.

For small businesses, the new top speed is only offered on a stand-alone basis, starting at $369.99 per month with a two-year agreement. The service also is available to consumers and small businesses  on a no-contract, month-to-month basis.

“Internet-power users have found a friend in FiOS Quantum Internet,” said Bob Mudge, president of Verizon’s consumer and mass business group.  “Over the past year, one-third of FiOS Internet customers have upgraded to Quantum speeds of 50 Mbps or faster to do more of what they want, whenever they wish, on more devices throughout their home or office.

“Our customers want and get a leg up on online video games. They want to stream movies on myriad devices; share tons of pictures and home videos; and send big work files so they don’t skip a beat when they’re working from home or growing their business. Our all-fiber-optic network lets them do it all at the same time.”

Verizon said the 500/100 Mbps tier was initially available in parts of every FiOS market, but it plans on rolling out the service throughout the entire FiOS footprint into 2014. 

In its second-quarter earnings earlier this month, Verizon reported that it had netted gains of 161,000 FiOS Internet subscribers.