Time Warner Cable Sets WiMax December Debut In North Carolina

Time Warner Cable will take Road Runner on the road with Dec. 1 the launch of WiMax wireless broadband service in its Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh, N.C., markets.

The broadband wireless service -- advertised as providing downloads up to 6 Mbps -- is provided through Clearwire, in which Time Warner Cable holds a 4.5% stake. Sprint Nextel owns 51% of Clearwire, which has also received investments from Comcast, Bright House Networks, Intel and Google.

TWC is selling the WiMax service, branded as Road Runner Mobile, in bundles and requires customers to take at least one other service. That's also the strategy for Comcast, which is marketing its High-Speed 2go service in Atlanta, Portland and Salem, Ore., and Bellingham, Wash.

Time Warner Cable positioned the wireless play as extending its reach "outside the home."

"Giving our customers the convenience of mobility and the speed of 4G, Road Runner Mobile lets customers take their favorite Internet service wherever they go," Carol Hevey, executive vice president of Time Warner Cable's Carolina region, said in a statement. "This is an important part of our strategy to give our customers any content, on any device, anytime, anywhere."

TWC expects to launch WiMax service in Dallas by the end of 2009, with two Hawaii markets -- Honolulu and Maui -- on deck for very early in 2010.

The two wireless cards the operator is providing at launch in North Carolina are the Motorola USBw100 USB card (WiMax-only) and the Franklin Wireless CMU-300 USB card (dual 3G/WiMax). TWC spokesman Justin Venech added that the operator will be offering more options down the road.

In addition, the operator said it plans to provide additional mobile features for customers in the future, such as the ability to program a DVR from a mobile device and the ability to take their video content with them on the go.

TWC is offering three plans with the WiMax service:

* Road Runner Mobile 4G National Elite ($79.95 per month for Road Runner Standard or Turbo customers) provides access to WiMax and Sprint's national 3G network;

* Road Runner Mobile 4G Elite ($49.95 per month for Road Runner Standard or Turbo customers) is an unlimited WiMax service; and

* Road Runner Mobile 4G Choice ($39.95 per month to customers of at least one other Time Warner Cable service) which is capped at 2 Gbytes of data transfers per month.

The cable company said additional discounts are available for double- and triple-play customers on the two Elite plans.