Light Reading
Suddenlink and Charter both launch higher-speed data tiers in key markets as cable operators seek to counter or preempt 1-Gig rollouts by rival broadband providers.

Two US MSOs Boost Broadband Speeds

Alan Breznick
6/24/2014
50%
50%

Seeking to keep their competitive edge in the broadband market, two more big US cable operators are hiking their maximum data speeds in several prime markets around the country.

Both Suddenlink Communications and Charter Communications Inc. are boosting their top speeds significantly as they try to fend off thrusts by rival broadband providers. The two MSOs are particularly seeking to preempt incursions by such budding rivals as AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Google Fiber Inc. , which are now introducing 1Gbit/s service in several markets apiece.

In the bigger of the two speed hikes, Suddenlink is now rolling out new tiers with 300Mbit/s maximum download speeds in two Texas towns just north of Austin, with a third to follow later this summer. Residential broadband customers in the three suburban communities -- Leander, Pflugerville, and Georgetown -- will also receive a hike to 15Mbit/s upload speeds for $65 a month as part of the new "Internet 300" offering.

The new downstream rates, which leverage DOCSIS 3.0 technology, represent a near tripling of the maximum speeds that Suddenlink had been offering. In 2010, the seventh-largest US MSO introduced top speeds of 107 Mbit/s in those same three markets, briefly making Suddenlink the fastest large broadband provider on the North American continent.

In doing so, Suddenlink clearly has its eye on AT&T and Google Fiber, both of which are gearing up to bring 1Gbit/s service to the Austin area. In fact, the MSO is openly boasting that it's bringing its higher speeds to all of its residential customers in those towns, not just a few select neighborhoods like its two prime rivals. But it makes no mention of Grande Communications , a cable overbuilder that is already offering 1-Gig speeds in parts of the Texas capital, which is becoming the North American hub for gigabit rollouts. (See TWC Joins Austin Speed Sweepstakes.)

"Based on public records and additional research, it appears AT&T U-verse has cherry-picked where it will offer its service, while Google Fiber is nowhere to be found," said Michael Neumann, senior director of operations for Suddenlink, in a statement. "In contrast, we're making our 300 Mbit/s service available to 100% of the residential areas we serve in these communities."

Suddenlink, which serves a number of markets in southern and western Texas, did not say where else it plans to offer the Internet 300 product. But, in a related move, the company announced that it has now activated nearly half of the 200 WiFi access points it intends to offer in the three suburban communities.

Charter's broadband speed hikes are not nearly as dramatic as Suddenlink's. But, similar to Suddenlink, Charter is tripling its broadband speeds in at least one key market. The fourth-largest US MSO confirmed several press reports that it's raising its entry-level downstream speeds to 100 Mbit/s in its hometown St. Louis market as part of its all-digital upgrade there. Previously, the MSO offered 30 Mbit/s service.

Under its new "Charter Spectrum" program, Charter is now upgrading all of its markets to all-digital service by the end of the year. The upgrades will enable Charter to boost broadband speeds while also increasing the number of HD channels in each market and beefing up its voice and TV Everywhere offerings.

The moves by the two MSOs come as AT&T continues to extend the reach of its new "U-verse with GigaPower" platform, which can offer downstream speeds as high as 1 Gbit/s. In its latest expansion, AT&T has gained approval for rollouts from three more North Carolina cities in the past week: Raleigh, Cary, and Chapel Hill. With the aid of the North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN), the telco has now signed up five cities in the state for its GigaPower initiative, mostly in the Research Triangle area. (See AT&T GigaPower Wins Two NC Cities .)

The moves also come as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) keeps up pressure on broadband providers to boost their data speeds. In its latest move late last week, the Commission issued its fourth "Measuring Broadband America" report. Among other things, the report found that while "fiber and cable technologies continue to evolve to higher speed offerings, … DSL is beginning to lag behind."

We'll have greater coverage of the FCC report in a separate post later this week. Stay tuned.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
MikeP688
50%
50%
MikeP688,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/30/2014 | 11:07:59 PM
Re: Suddenlink
It is nice to see somehow competition is action.  But, it seems as if it is not as "earth shattering" in lieu of the limited choice being available.  I believe that is the key message you were trying to get across as we assess how this evolution will occur.    
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/24/2014 | 11:11:58 AM
Suddenlink
That's quite the fair point they make about how despite the hype, you'd be hard pressed to still find a 1 Gbps connection anywhere in Austin. I'm not sure that outside of a few developments GigaPower is much of a real deployment anyway, based on dropping fixed-line investment numbers. I barely use 15 Mbps to its full potential, I remain much more interested in what a carrier is willing to do on price (and these days, that's not much).
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Documentaries
Paul Bunyan's Giant Gigabit Plans

12|22|14   |   03:26   |   (0) comments


Gary Johnson, the CEO and GM of Minnesota rural operator Paul Bunyan Communications, discusses the company's 5,000-square-mile gigabit network rollout.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: Building the Case for NFV

12|19|14   |   02:14   |   (0) comments


At the 2020 Vision Executive Summit, James Feger, VP, Network Strategy & Development at CenturyLink, talks about how the US operator is approaching virtual network functions from an operational and business case perspective.
LRTV Interviews
Liberty Global Sees Business Goldmine

12|18|14   |     |   (0) comments


Steen Sorensen, VP of business services for Liberty Global, explains where the giant international MSO sees growth potential.
LRTV Documentaries
EE: The Road to 5G

12|16|14   |   16:02   |   (1) comment


Andy Sutton, the principal network architect at UK mobile operator EE, explains how his company is using Wembley stadium as a wireless test bed and how that's helping EE to plan the evolution to 5G.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Highlights of Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014

12|16|14   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei hosted its inaugural NFV Open Cloud Forum during the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Forum brought together technology thought leaders, senior executives and telecom professionals from global carriers, industry associations, as well as other partner companies in the ecosystem, to exchange views on and collectively explore how ...
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing Operators' Digital Vision

12|16|14   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Leveraging technology is fundamental to digital transformation but understanding customers and serving them really well is at the heart of digital businesses. TM Forum lists the following as the strategic pillars of the digital business: business agility and rapid innovation, operational agility and effectiveness, IT and data centricity, plus customer centricity. ...
LRTV Documentaries
US Cellular Injects Analytics Into LTE

12|16|14   |   2:57   |   (1) comment


US Cellular's Mario Vela explains how the operator uses analytics for network planning and what comes next as the carrier looks to eke more value out of its metrics.
LRTV Interviews
How Cox Biz Plans to Keep Growing

12|15|14   |     |   (2) comments


Steve Rowley, SVP of Cox Business, details how the third-biggest US MSO intends to boost its revenues to $2 billion and beyond over the rest of the decade
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Bill Zhang, Director of SoftCOM Product Management, Huawei

12|15|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Bill Zhang elaborated on Huawei's open philosophy in NFV solution development and network architecture design at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Event Highlights: Huawei at SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014

12|15|14   |   3:43   |   (0) comments


Huawei joined the 2014 SDN & OpenFlow Congress as one of the key sponsors and contributors. At the event, Huawei reinforced the openness and flexibility of its network infrastructure strategies, and provided updates on its SDN and NVF innovations. Through participations at the exhibitions, forums and speeches, Huawei encouraged the industry to "think bigger and ...
LRTV Interviews
How Cable Biz Services Hit $10B Mark

12|12|14   |     |   (1) comment


Cable operators reached $10 billion in annual business services revenues by delving deeper into their vertical markets and expanding beyond the smallest firms.
LRTV Documentaries
Mediacom Aims to Test Connected Tractors

12|11|14   |   05:07   |   (3) comments


Cable business service provider is taking its services to the 'agribusiness' sector in partnership with farm equipment specialist John Deere and is getting involved in Gigabit Cities developments.
Upcoming Live Events
February 10, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Hot Topics
T-Mobile, BlackBerry Flirt With Reuniting
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/17/2014
1-Gig: Coming to a Small Town Near You
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 12/17/2014
Comcast Launches 4K Streaming Service
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 12/18/2014
US Carriers, You're Going to Cuba!
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 12/18/2014
Google Steering Android Towards Cars – Report
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/19/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive