Gigabit Cities

Bright House, TWC Press on Broadband Pedal

Stepping up their broadband games, both Bright House Networks and Time Warner Cable are rolling out much higher maximum data speeds in their prime southeastern US markets.

Bright House Networks , the sixth-largest cable operator in the US with 2.5 million customers, announced Friday that it will launch a new 300Mbit/s downstream speed tier throughout its Tampa Bay and central Florida regions later this month. The move will double the MSO's current maximum downstream rate of 150 Mbit/s, which it introduced about four months ago when it also signaled that it would be going as high as 300 Mbit/s early this year. (See Bright House Joins Broadband Speed Wars.)

Along with the downstream speed hike, Bright House said it will also boost its maximum upstream speed in the Florida regions to 15 Mbit/s. Currently, its highest "Lightning Internet 150" speed tier tops out at 10 Mbit/s upstream.

Bright House, which competes against both Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) in parts of Florida, did not say when it will extend the 300Mbit/s rollout to its other regions throughout the US. While the two Florida regions are easily the MSO's biggest markets, it also has cable systems in four other states -- Alabama, California, Indiana and Michigan.

For the latest on the Gigabit Cities movement, visit Light Reading's dedicated Gigabit Cities content channel. And be sure to register to attend Light Reading's Gigabit Cities Live event on May 13-14 in Atlanta.

For its part, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) is starting to prepare its two biggest cable systems in North Carolina for 300Mbit/s broadband service, up to six times higher than its current top downstream speed. Under its "TWC Maxx" program, the nation's second-largest MSO will upgrade its Raleigh and Charlotte systems to all-digital service this spring, clearing the way for a new HD-DVR service and much faster broadband speeds, among other things.

Announcing the move on its corporate blog, TWC said it will begin to alert its Raleigh subscribers to the upgrade this week. Similarly, it aims to start the same process in its Charlotte market next month. Plans call for completing the network upgrades in both markets by the end of the year.

As it prepares for its planned takeover by Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable has been accelerating its TWC Maxx upgrades throughout the country. With the work completed in its massive New York and Los Angeles markets, it is now carrying out upgrades in a number of other markets, including Austin, Dallas, and Kansas City. The other TWC markets slated for Maxx upgrades later this year are Hawaii and San Diego.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

DHagar 3/10/2015 | 7:20:47 PM
Re: Pressing the Broadband Pedal davidhoffman5, exactly!  The reality is not going to support the current models; so I am wondering how long it will continue to fly?
davidhoffman5 3/10/2015 | 6:55:29 PM
Re: Pressing the Broadband Pedal Nobody wants our $3000 per month Gigabit service. Why did you make us deploy it? I declare that you promised I could keep almost the same profit margin as I get for 10 Mbps, 900%. 

Of course the Gigabit tiers are not selling well, you have priced them too high.
DHagar 3/10/2015 | 12:54:03 PM
Re: Pressing the Broadband Pedal KBode, thanks for confirmation; that is what I thought on the "sweet spot".  It appears that the reality of "delivery" of in demand services  may not reach that broadband speed.  At some point it seems that the market will wake up to the practical level and settle at that speed?

Google is smart to keep driving as the industry leader.  I agree it is a great marketing strategy!
KBode 3/10/2015 | 7:47:13 AM
Re: Pressing the Broadband Pedal I think privately most ISPs will tell you the sweet spot remains around 20-30 Mbps. Bright House's 300 Mbps tier is around $200, and I don't see many people believing that's good value. Since it's such a limited deployment, Google Fiber's primary impact on competition is purely marketing, and 1 Gbps for $70 is such a far cry from what carriers (many of which enjoyed minimal competition) is offering, the rush to come somewhere close to that is about 70% marketing and about 30% actual deployment.
DHagar 3/9/2015 | 5:53:54 PM
Re: Pressing the Broadband Pedal Alan, it does seem to be "the issue" in competition now. 

My question is, has anyone defined the added market value and ROI for the "enhanced" speed, ie., are people "buying it"?  NPR did a story today on the Google high-speed in Kansas - with the point that they have not well defined the added value for the increased speed?  Or is it just marketing?
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