Playing catchup ball in the broadband space, Time Warner Cable has become the latest major US MSO to start rolling out 100Mbit/s service throughout its territories.
Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) announced Monday that it has begun offering 100Mbit/s downstream speeds to cable modem customers in the Los Angeles area, giving them a free upgrade from the old maximum speeds of 50 Mbit/s. The company also announced that it will introduce the same new Ultimate 100 Internet tier to broadband customers in New York City and Hawaii by the end of the year.
Plans then call for launching the new high-speed service, powered by DOCSIS 3.0 technology over HFC lines, in additional markets in 2014. TWC did not identify which markets will come next.
The 100Mbit/s rollouts come about 10 months after Time Warner Cable began offering the Ultimate 100 Internet tier in the Kansas City area, where it's going head-to-head with Google Fiber Inc. and its symmetrical 1Gbit/s service. But now the second-biggest US MSO is launching the service nationwide, rather than limiting it to one special market.
TWC thus joins such other large North American cable operators as Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Cox Communications Inc. , Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), Shaw Communications Inc. , Mediacom Communications Corp. , and Videotron Ltd. in offering 100Mbit/s or higher downstream speeds to cable modem customers. Comcast now leads the way with its new "Extreme 505" package, a fiber-delivered service that offers downstream speeds as high as 505 Mbit/s and upstream speeds as high as 100 Mbit/s in metro areas from Boston down to Richmond, Va., for $300 a month. (See Comcast Zips Past Verizon.)
The free upgrade to 100 Mbit/s means that the Ultimate 100 Internet tier will typically cost Time Warner Cable customers about $75 a month, although they're now being offered a special discounted price of $65 a month for a limited time. Subscribers will also receive up to 30 e-mail accounts, 10GB of e-mail storage space, free home WiFi service, free access to TWC's 23,000 WiFi hotspots, and the 200,000 Cable WiFi hotspots across the nation, and free Internet security and parental controls software.
TWC did not spell out whether Ultimate 100 customers will also receive higher upstream speeds. The old Ultimate 50 tier maxes out at 5 Mbit/s on the upstream.
In addition to announcing the new 100Mbit/s service, Time Warner Cable said it's replacing its Lite Internet tier with a cheaper but faster service. The new low-end product will offer downstream speeds as high as 2 Mbit/s and upstream speeds as high as 1 Mbit/s for about $15 a month, starting November 1.
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading