Welcome to the broadband and cable news roundup, T.G.I.F. edition.
Time Warner Cable Inc. is taking Google Fiber's foray in the Kansas Cities seriously, but TW Cable's CFO Irene Esteves says Google's 1Gbit/s and TV service bundle doesn't pose a huge threat to the cable operator's overall business. Of the 300,000 homes that Google Fiber is expected to pass in the area eventually, Esteves estimates that TW Cable has 100,000 Internet and 100,000 video subs. "We're talking about less than 1 percent of our [national] subs at risk of this eighth competitor coming in," Esteves said Thursday at a Bank of America/Merrill Lynch investors conference. Among the other competitors in the Kansas cities market are DirecTV Group Inc., Dish Network Corp., AT&T Inc. and SureWest Communications. Esteves thinks the Google threat will remain localized. "We can't imagine an economic model that makes sense for them to expand it beyond this Kansas City experiment," she said. Also on Thursday, Google revealed its construction plan for "fiberhoods" that qualified during the first round of buildouts. (See KC Gets Google Fiber for Real in October.)
Meanwhile, it's still early days for IntelligentHome, TW Cable's home security and monitoring product. Esteves said the MSO has about 9,000 IntelligentHome subscribers, with the average revenue per user running in the range of US$33 to $40, depending on the level of service. As rollouts expand and more customers sign up, she said she expects profits to fall between what TW Cable gets today with video and cable modem services. (See Will Service Providers Steal ADT's Customers?)
Nintendo of America Inc. set Nov. 18 as the launch date for the Wii U, a $299.99 HD-capable console that will support Netflix Inc., Hulu LLC and other usual over-the-top video suspects. The device looks to be an obvious one for cable operators to target with TV Everywhere apps. Among the more interesting aspects is the Wii U GamePad, a tablet-like device that supports an app called TVii, which turns the device into a fancy remote control and a guide to help users navigate pay-TV services. Nintendo said the new platform is also integrated with TiVo Inc. DVRs.
Mexico's Megacable Comunicaciones is in talks with TW Cable about forming a strategic phone alliance that would let TWC's customers receive calls from Megacable customers without incurring long-distance charges, reports Reuters. Megacable CEO Enrique Yamuni stressed that the discussions were still in the exploratory stage.
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