TW Cable Sizes Up Google Fiber Threat

Also: 9,000 subs for TWC's IntelligentHome; new Nintendo console has bigger TV ambitions; Mexico's Megacable seeks US cable phone ally

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

September 14, 2012

3 Min Read
TW Cable Sizes Up Google Fiber Threat

Welcome to the broadband and cable news roundup, T.G.I.F. edition.

  • Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) is taking Google Fiber's foray in the Kansas Cities seriously, but TW Cable's CFO Irene Esteves says Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'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. (NYSE: DTV), Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and SureWest Communications (Nasdaq: SURW). 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. (Nasdaq: NFLX), 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. (Nasdaq: TIVO) 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.

  • The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) revealed more details about next month's Cable-Tec Expo in Orlando, announcing an all-women technology panel on Wednesday, Oct. 17 that will feature: Bright House Networks President Nomi Bergman; Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) SVP of infrastructure and operations Charlotte Field; TW Cable EVP, East Region, Carol Hevey; and Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) EVP, Engineering and Technology, Yvette Kanouff. Industry analyst and Multichannel News columnist Leslie Ellis will moderate.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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