Light Reading

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        ADD A COMMENT
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
Anshul Sadana answers questions from Steve Saunders, Light Reading's founder and CEO, about Arista's CloudVision, a global cloud network controller for workload orchestration and workflow automation delivering a turnkey solution for cloud networking.
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Custom TV
End-User or Enterprise Benefits to the New IP

7|30|15   |   04:27   |   (0) comments


Andrew Coward discusses what the New IP means to end users or enterprise customers. He explains compelling reasons, including how every customer can get their own network, from the transformation to the New IP.
LRTV Custom TV
Network Visibility & the New IP

7|30|15   |   02:23   |   (0) comments


Mukund Srigopal provides an explanation of what network visibility is and how it is essential as service providers transition to the New IP. In addition, the importance of the network packet broker is discussed.
Between the CEOs
Video Exclusive With Basil Alwan, Alcatel-Lucent

7|24|15   |   26:44   |   (5) comments


Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
VDF: Enable the Financial With Mobile Money

7|20|15   |   06:53   |   (0) comments


Ian Ravenscroft discusses how operators can expand to occupy the entire digital services value chain through service innovation.
LRTV Custom TV
Telefónica on OSS Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Jose Gonzales discusses the details of Telefónica's operation transformation program.
LRTV Custom TV
Judi Achmadi on Huawei's Cloud Storage Solution

7|20|15   |   03:33   |   (0) comments


Judi discusses the key business goals of TelekomSigma's public cloud service and how Huawei's solution helps them address challenges.
LRTV Custom TV
KPN Enlightening Digital Business & IT Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:19   |   (0) comments


Rob de Beer discusses the changes that operators need to make with service innovation now coming from the Internet world.
LRTV Custom TV
Stratus Telco-Grade Cloud Solutions & NFV

7|20|15   |   07:34   |   (0) comments


Ali Kafel from Stratus Technologies addresses high-availability concerns within the telco industry with a solution that enables telcos to provide high-availability and stateful fault-tolerance using a software-based approach.
LRTV Documentaries
The Six Million Dollar Business Man

7|20|15   |   01:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Saunders, publisher. A man barely alive after an acquisition malfunction imploded the company he founded. Gentlemen, we can rebuild Light Reading. Better, faster, stronger.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Anukool Lakhina, Guavus

7|20|15   |   38:51   |   (1) comment


Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
LRTV Custom TV
IBM's Flash Storage With Intel QuickAssist

7|20|15   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Intel's Bev Crair and IBM's Eric Herzog discuss how IBM's V9000 Flash Storage System has helped customers around the world. Featuring real-time compression powered by Intel QuickAssist Technology, the V9000 is a next-gen flash storage solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Thailand's AIS: Transforming to an FMC Operator

7|17|15   |   4:53   |   (0) comments


Saran Phaloprakarn, Senior VP of Fixed Broadband Business Management of Thailand's AIS, was a keynote speaker at the first Asia-Pacific Ultra Broadband Summit in Bangkok. In this video, he talks to Heavy Reading about transforming into an FMC (FBB+MBB+Content) operator.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network operators start seeing savings from NFV in the first year, according to a study by Affirmed Networks and ACG.
Hot Topics
Robbins Succeeds Chambers as Cisco Changes CEOs
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/27/2015
Cable Feuds With Senate Dems Over STBs
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 7/31/2015
RJio to Launch Its Own 4G Devices Brand
Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor, 7/27/2015
Qualcomm Wants FCC to Stay Out of LTE-U Fray
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 7/27/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
Cats with Phones
Comes With Free Phone Stand Click Here
Who says cats don't have any skills?