Time Warner Cable's Next Docsis 3.0 Targets

Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) is getting ready to unleash Docsis 3.0 services in portions of Texas, Ohio, and upstate New York later this year, Light Reading Cable has learned.

It's still unknown which markets in those regions will get wideband services first, but it's believed that the MSO will get services turned up by the first half of 2010, marking the next wave of Docsis 3.0 launches for TWC since it debuted wideband services in its hotly contested and high-profile New York City system last September. (See TWC Fights FiOS in NYC.)

While Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has been aggressive with Docsis 3.0, planning to complete its network upgrade in the early part of 2010, Time Warner Cable has been more methodical, targeting regions where competition is fiercest. (See Comcast to Wrap Wideband, All-Digital Rollout This Year.)

Time Warner Cable wouldn't confirm which markets are next in line for wideband, other than to acknowledge that it expects to roll out Docsis 3.0 "in a number of areas throughout our footprint this year."

Chief operating officer Landel Hobbs said as much in the company's fourth-quarter earnings call, noting that the NYC Docsis 3.0 rollout generated about 2,000 net additions in the period, with about 90 percent of that group comprised of customers who upgraded. (See 2K for D3 in Q4.)

Future deployments "will be surgical, focusing on those areas in which we need higher speeds than our exiting Turbo product provides," Hobbs said.

If TWC decides to use NYC as a template, expect its next wideband wave to start off with a 50-Mbit/s (downstream) tier that costs about $100 per month.

Which cities TWC goes with next will likely involve areas where it's feeling heat from Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). Verizon FiOS Internet offers a 50-Mbit/s downstream tier and a symmetrical 35-Mbit/s service. AT&T U-verse, meanwhile, recently launched its Max Turbo tier, which offers 24 Mbit/s downstream and 3 Mbit/s upstream.

With that as the backdrop, TWC will likely concentrate on the Dallas area, where it comes up against FiOS in some suburbs, as well as in Austin and San Antonio, which are in U-verse country. Beaumont, site of TWC's flame-filled Internet metering experiment, might also get the Docsis 3.0 treatment in 2010. (See TWC Mothballs New Metering Trials .)

In Ohio, TWC systems in Columbus, Akron, and Dayton could be on deck as the MSO continues to face off with U-verse.

Albany, Buffalo, and Schenectady, which have FiOS, are some likely wideband candidates for TWC in upstate New York.

Industry sources say TWC's wideband network buildouts are far along in those areas, and should benefit both Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). (See Cisco Alters CMTS Vision With '20/20' Card .)

Arris's fourth-quarter numbers reflected that, as well. TWC, Arris's second-largest customer behind Comcast, contributed a record $82.3 million in revenues to the vendor in the fourth quarter, up from $45.3 million a year ago. Arris didn't break it all down, but did highlight that the mix included CMTS gear and OSS systems. (See Arris Expects Less From Comcast in 2010 .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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