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 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