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Time Warner Cable Queues Up DOCSIS 3.0 In NYC

Time Warner Cable, looking to hang on to Big Apple subscribers in the face of Verizon's FiOS Internet, expects to begin rolling out DOCSIS 3.0 services starting this summer in New York City and plans to complete the upgrade by the end of 2009.

Chief operating officer Landel Hobbs, on the MSO's earnings call Wednesday, said the cable company has already installed DOCSIS 3.0-capable cable modem termination system equipment in Manhattan.

"To date, we have been testing at speeds as high as 138 [Megabits per second] down and 18 up," Hobbs said. "The system works great. We don't expect to offer speeds this fast initially, but this demonstrates we will be fully capable of meeting our customer's need for speed for the foreseeable future."

FiOS Internet, available in limited areas of New York's five boroughs, provides up to 50 Mbps downstream and 20 Mbps up for $139.95 per month (as part of a bundle).

Time Warner Cable president and CEO Glenn Britt said the company will announce DOCSIS 3.0 market-by-market as it decides to launch the service.

"DOCSIS 3.0 we think is a great technology and our plan is to gradually roll that out over the next couple of years," he said. "At the moment we don't see a huge enormous demand for that extra speed but we think over time there will be a demand."

For the first quarter of 2009 Time Warner Cable beat Wall Street expectations on subscriber additions, including 225,000 new high-speed data customers.

The company previously had announced plans to roll out DOCSIS 3.0-based services in four markets where it was intending to kick off usage-based billing trials: Rochester, N.Y., Greensboro, N.C., San Antonio and Austin, Texas. However, it suspended those trials in the face of a mushrooming backlash among politicians and consumers.

In response to an analyst's question about the usage-based billing brouhaha, Britt said the company will "keep trying things in the future" along the same lines.

"We are always trying, thinking about and talking about new products and services and new ways to create business models," Britt said. "In this case, we got a lot of push-back so we backed off that trial plan, but again this was just going to be a market trial."

Hobbs noted that in addition to the DOCSIS 3.0 rollouts, Time Warner Cable has deployed the Power Boost feature -- which provides up to 16 Mbps downstream -- to Turbo subscribers in five of its six operating regions. The remaining region is expected to be completed in the second quarter.