Video services

TWC Maxxing Out 2 More Markets

Despite its pending acquisition by Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable is continuing to upgrade its markets for all-digital, much faster broadband and other enhanced services.

Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) announced Tuesday that it is expanding its "TWC Maxx" network upgrade initiative to two more markets, both of them in North Carolina. Under the ambitious catchup program, the number two US MSO is spending heavily to upgrade each market to all-digital video transmission and broadband speeds as high as 300 Mbit/s, as well as adding more HD channels to its programming lineup, offering enhanced DVR service and carrying out various customer service improvements.

With the latest expansion to Greensboro and Wilmington, Time Warner Cable will now have TWC Maxx operational in 12 of its markets around the country, including New York City; Los Angeles; Austin; Kansas City; Dallas; San Antonio; San Diego; Hawaii; Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C. Plans call for extending the program throughout all these markets over the rest of the year, enabling the MSO to offer enhanced service to 45% of its broadband subscribers and more than 50% of its video customers by year's end.

Even though the regulatory review of Charter Communications Inc. 's proposed acquisition of TWC is now underway, Time Warner Cable executives have shown no signs of slowing down the TWC Maxx upgrades. In fact, on the company's first-quarter earnings call in late April, Time Warner Cable Chairman and CEO Rob Marcus indicated that the pace of upgrades could even pick up in 2016 as company officials keep gaining more experience with implementing TWC Maxx, assuming that the company is still independent then. (TWC Enjoys Victory Lap in Quarterly Results.)

It's not hard to see why, because the program is clearly paying off for Time Warner Cable. After a number of quarters of racking big video subscriber and even broadband subscriber losses, the large MSO has turned things around, thanks in large part to TWC Maxx. In the first three months of the year, TWC produced its finest quarter yet for overall customer gains, registering its first quarterly video sub gains in six years and adding droves of customers across the board.

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Time Warner Cable executives also report that customer satisfaction rates have climbed in the three initial TWC Maxx markets (New York, Los Angeles and Austin), while the number of customer complaint and service calls and customer churn rates have dropped.

Charter executives, who aim to close their proposed purchase of Time Warner Cable by the end of the year, certainly won't complain about TWC's network upgrade spree because it should make their integration job cheaper and easier if the deal goes through. So they'll likely keep rooting on the sidelines as TWC Maxx goes forward. (See FCC Sets Up Review Team for Charter Deals.)

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

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