TW Cable Sets Docsis 3.0 Subscriber Record

Docsis 3.0 continues to grow for Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), as the company says it added a record 73,000 wideband customers during its first quarter. (See Broadband & Biz Services Power TWC's Q1 .)

Of course, the technology is at a stage where you'd expect a record every quarter -- the 54,000 Docsis 3.0 adds in the previous quarter had also set a record. But TW Cable is still proud of its 73,000 adds, which equate to roughly 34 percent of the 214,000 high-speed customers it added in the quarter. A spokesman says TW Cable now has 218,000 residential wideband customers.

Docsis 3.0 has a way to go before it dominates cable broadband, but it appears that recent promotions are driving customers to the MSO's two wideband tiers (50Mbit/s downstream by 5Mbit/s up; and 30Mbit/s down by 5Mbit/s up.).

TW Cable has experimented with a free Slingbox promo in New York City to lure new wideband subscribers and fend off Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s fiber-based FiOS platform. More recently, TW Cable started giving free phone service to new Docsis 3.0 sign-ups. Wideband is also included in TW Cable's high-end Signature Home package. (See TW Cable's New Wideband Gambit , TWC Takes 'SignatureHome' Service Nationwide and TW Cable Slings a Wideband Play .)

"We're going to continue to experiment with things to see what strikes the right chord and get the [wideband] product out in front of our customers," TW Cable President and COO Rob Marcus said on Thursday's earnings call. He said about 14,000 of the first quarter's new Docsis 3.0 customers came in through the Signature Home package.

Those experiments will come into play as the MSO advances its Docsis 3.0 network upgrades. Time Warner Cable ended the first quarter with D3 built out to 85 percent of its footprint, up from 76 percent at the end of 2011. The MSO expects to wrap up its D3 deployment this year, a spokesman said.

The effects of those upgrades are also showing up in vendor results. Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), which counts TW Cable as its second-largest customer, set a record for cable modem termination system (CMTS) downstream ports in the first quarter, noting that 60 percent of the 1.6 million Docsis modems and gateways shipped in the period were of the Docsis 3.0 variety. (See Arris Gains From Docsis 3.0 CPE Surge.)

Wi-Fi update
TW Cable is also making progress with its Wi-Fi buildout. Marcus said the MSO has deployed about 2,000 Wi-Fi access points in Los Angeles, and is on track to expand that to 10,000 by year's end. (See TW Cable Earmarks Wi-Fi Cash and Carrier Wi-Fi Is Hot .)

TW Cable customers also have access to about 20,000 hot spots in the Northeastern U.S. via the MSO's roaming arrangement with Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK). (See Cable Sizes Up National Wi-Fi Play .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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