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 Beer
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
LRTV Custom TV
A New Security Paradigm in SDN/NFV

7|28|14   |   02:54   |   (0) comments


Paul Shaneck, Global Director Network Solutions for Symantec, discusses the evolving virtualized network, explaining how Symantec is leading the security discussion as it relates to SDN and NFV, and helping to ensure the network is protected and compliant.
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Keynote: The Software-Defined Operator

7|24|14   |   18:43   |   (1) comment


Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg explains the concept of the software-defined operator to the Big Telecom Event (BTE) crowd.
Light Reedy
Numbers Are In: LR's 2014 Salary Survey

7|24|14   |   1:25   |   (7) comments


Our fourth annual Salary Survey paints a picture of who's hiring, firing, earning, and yearning for a change in the telecom industry.
LRTV Custom TV
Driving the Network Transformation

7|23|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


Intel's Sandra Rivera discusses network transformation and how Intel technologies, programs, and standards body efforts have helped the industry migration to SDN and NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed NFV-Based Business Services by RAD

7|18|14   |   5:38   |   (0) comments


With the ETSI-approved Distributed NFV PoC running in the background, RAD's CEO, Dror Bin, talks about why D-NFV makes compelling sense for service providers, and about the dollars and cents RAD is putting behind D-NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
MRV Accelerating Packet Optical Convergence

7|15|14   |   6:06   |   (0) comments


Giving you network insight to make your network smarter.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV-Enabled Ethernet for Generating New Revenues

7|15|14   |   5:49   |   (0) comments


Cyan's Planet Orchestrate allows service providers and their end-customers to activate software-based capabilities such as firewalls and encryption on top of existing Ethernet services in just minutes.
LRTV Custom TV
Symkloud NVF-Ready Video Transcoding, Big Data

7|9|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


Kontron and ISV partner Vantrix demonstrate high-performance video transcoding and data analytic solutions on same 2U standard platform that is ready for SDN and NFV deployments made by mobile, cable and cloud operators.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Evolving Role of Hybrid Video for Competitive Success

7|4|14   |   4:09   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's Global Analysts Summit in Shenzhen, China, Steven C. Hawley from TV Strategies speaks to us about the evolving role of hybrid video for competitive success.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
How CSPs Leverage Big Data in the Digital Economy

7|4|14   |   4:48   |   (2) comments


Justin van der Lande from Analysys Mason shares with us his views on how telecom operators can leverage customer asset monetization with big data. His discusses the current status of big data applications and the challenges and opportunities for telecom operators in the digital economy era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerator for Digital Business Future Oriented BSS

7|4|14   |   3:08   |   (0) comments


Mobile and internet are becoming intertwined; IT and CT are integrating; and leading CSPs have begun to transform to information service and entertainment providers. How should the BSS system evolve to enable this transformation? Karl Whitelock, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, shares his views.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Packet Design asks network professionals how they handle the cloud, SDN, and network management.
Today's Cartoon
Vacation Special Caption Competition Click Here
Latest Comment
Hot Topics
Is Windstream Boldly Setting a New Trend?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/29/2014
U-verse Growth Slips But Still Strong
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 7/24/2014
Salary Survey Report 2014
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 7/23/2014
Facebook: 30% of Users Are Mobile-Only
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/24/2014
Verizon Applies 3G Throttling Policy to LTE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 7/25/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed