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
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
The Swedish vendor has undergone a significant transformation during the past few years, adjusting to the demands of next-generation communications companies.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Data Center Power Play

4|15|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed industry-leading energy efficiency capabilities for its indoor and outdoor data center solutions, explains Dr. Fang Liangzhou, vice president of Huawei's Network Energy product Line.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Routers, Switches Get the Green Mark

4|15|15   |   2:02   |   (0) comments


TUV Rheinland's Frank Dudley explains how Huawei's routers and switches have been successfully tested by energy efficiency experts and have gained Green Mark Certification.
LRTV Documentaries
A Finn, a Frenchman & a Guy From New Jersey Walk Into a Merger...

4|15|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


Stop us if you've heard this one before... Light Reading CEO Founder & CEO Steve Saunders weighs in on the technical and cultural implications of a Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merger.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accounting for Better Solutions

4|10|15   |   02:31   |   (1) comment


Murad Yousuf, CTO at Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance (Dept. of Zakat & Income Tax), talks about the benefits of deploying router technology from Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
What's in Store for Huawei & DataCore?

4|10|15   |   05:44   |   (0) comments


At the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, George Teixeira, CEO of software-defined storage (SDS) specialist DataCore Software, explains why he has just signed a partnership agreement with Huawei Technologies.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Du Puts Its Faith in Huawei's Routers

4|9|15   |   3:42   |   (0) comments


Adnan Masood, director of Enterprise MS Solutions Marketing at du, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) operator also known as Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, explains why his company chose to use Huawei's multifunctional AR routers as part of its managed enterprise services.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Gets Active in the Data Center

4|9|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


With enterprise users looking to maximize the use of their data center assets, Huawei’s Chief Architect & Technical Director of IT Data Center Solutions, Bruce Su, explains how the company's six-layer active-active data center solution is eradicating the need to deploy passive, redundant data center assets.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Blue Consult & Huawei for a Better Solution

4|8|15   |   4:01   |   (0) comments


Martin Rott, CEO, and Marc Metzler, head of sales virtualization, from Germany's Blue Consult discuss their collaboration with Huawei and TrendMicro to develop a secure, scalable IT platform that can meet the needs of the most demanding enterprise users.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Beach Petroleum on eLTE & Mining

4|8|15   |   3:09   |   (0) comments


Network systems integrator Jeremy Hamlyn explains how Huawei's secure packet-based trunking communications system, eLTE, can help remote communities and companies in the mining, oil and gas sectors, deploy efficient communications networks that are perfect for video and data as well as voice.
Upcoming Live Events
May 5, 2015, Hyatt McCormick Place, Chicago, IL
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network Instruments, a JDSU division, shares results from its 2015 State of the Network, a global survey on security.
Hot Topics
Verizon Scores New OTT Content Deals
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/16/2015
Can WiFi Calling Find Its Voice?
Iain Morris, News Editor, 4/13/2015
Senator Proposes New 'Title X' for Net Neutrality
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/13/2015
Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent in Merger Talks
Iain Morris, News Editor, 4/14/2015
Nokia & Alcatel-Lucent: What's Going On?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/15/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Data Center Interconnect, or DCI, is one of the hottest sectors in telecom currently. Since coming back to Light Reading last year, prodigal-son style, I've ...
LR CEO and Founder Steve Saunders sits down with the head of Qosmos to talk about the changing state of the art in deep packet inspection technology, including its role in SDN and NFV architectures.
Cats with Phones
Steve's Phone Click Here
Steve Saunders's personal phone.