TW Cable to Double Down on Wi-Fi in 2013
Time Warner Cable Inc. plans to more than double its Wi-Fi network coverage this year, with an emphasis placed on its high-profile New York City system, company President and COO Rob Marcus said on Thursday's fourth-quarter earnings call.
The operator has deployed more than 10,000 Wi-Fi access points so far, with the vast majority of them deployed in Los Angeles. TW Cable has smaller Wi-Fi networks launched in New York City; Charlotte, N.C; and Kansas City.
This year's add-ons will also be used to provide free Internet access to TW Cable's cable modem subscribers while also helping to support cellular backhaul services for its fast-growing business services unit, which pulled in $1.9 billion in revenues in 2012, up 29.4 percent from 2011. Those access points will also complement the wireless coverage that some TW Cable subscribers are now getting via the operator's partnership with Verizon Wireless.
The new hot spots will also expand the reach of a growing Wi-Fi roaming network that's being built out by five cable operators: Bright House Networks, TW Cable, Cablevision Systems Corp., Cox Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp.. (See Cable Goes Big With Wi-Fi Roaming.)
The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) now estimates that those operators, thanks to the addition of Cox's latest deployments in Northern Virginia and parts of Connecticut, have now deployed "well over" 100,000 Wi-Fi access points so far. (See Cox Turns Up Wi-Fi Heat in the East.)
TW Cable's coming expansion is of course good news for its Wi-Fi suppliers. Cisco Systems Inc. and Ruckus Wireless Inc. are its primary vendors for that, but TW Cable also buys some Wi-Fi gear from Ericsson AB, too, an MSO spokesman said. Financial snapshot
TW Cable posted net income of $513 million ($1.68 per share) on revenues of $5.49 billion, up 10 percent. Analysts were expecting $1.55 per share and revenues of $5.5 billion. Video was again a trouble spot. The operator lost 126,000 residential basic video subs, slightly better than the 132,000 that analysts were expecting the company to lose. Still, the losses in the period were "just not acceptable," Marcus said. The losses continued as TW Cable prepares to launch a next-gen, IP-capable video platform in the second half of the year that will feature a cloud-based guide and a gateway with six tuners, a terabyte of storage and transcoding capabilities that will enable it to stream video to iPads, cheap IP client boxes and other devices within reach of the customer's home network. The new guide is already in front of about 200,000 customers in a couple of markets, Marcus said. High-speed Internet adds, usually a big strength, were 75,000, below the more than 100,000 expected, while the 34,000 voice adds were in-line.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable