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TWC Tees Up 300-Meg Broadband Service For Austin

Time Warner Cable plans to unleash a 300 Mbps (downstream) DOCSIS 3.0 tier in speed-happy Austin, Texas, this summer as the market gets ready to welcome fresh competition from Google Fiber and an expanding fiber-to-the-home network from AT&T that is targeting speeds of 1 Gbps.

TWC, which is in the process of being acquired by Comcast, said the new version of its fastest tier, Ultimate, will offer bursts up to 300 Mbps down and 20 Mbps upstream, a jump from the offering’s current 50/5 max speeds.

TWC said it will extend similar speed upgrades to several other broadband tiers this summer across its Austin service area:

  • Everyday Low Price: 2x1 to 3x1
  • Basic: 3x1 to 10x1
  • Standard: 15x1 to 50x5
  • Turbo: 20x2 to 100x10
  • Extreme: 30x5 to 200x20
  • Ultimate: 50x5 to 300x20

“These substantial speed increases mean Time Warner Cable Internet customers have incredibly powerful new choices for services and features to meet their needs,” said Kathy Brabson, area vice president of operations for Time Warner Cable in Central Texas, in a statement.  “In stark contrast to our competitors, upon completion of this short roll out phase, these faster speeds and choices will be available to every Time Warner Cable customer in every area we serve in the Austin market, not just select neighborhoods.”

That’s a jab at Google Fiber, which plans to start connecting homes to its 1-Gig-capable network by mid-2014, and U-verse with GigaPower, an AT&T service that currently offers speeds up to 300 Mbps, and will ramp up to symmetrical 1-Gig by mid-year. Google Fiber is expected to deploy its network fiberhood-by-fiberhood based on consumer demand. AT&T is taking a similar approach with U-verse with GigaPower, which is currently offered in “tens of thousands” of customer locations in the Austin-area.

Still, some customers might need new hardware. TWC said current Standard Internet and above subs will have access to new modems that can tap the new speeds and will send more details as the launch dates approach.

TWC said it will offer the upgraded speed packages in several other cities and towns near Austin, including Round Rock, Cedar Park, Leander, San Marcos, Elgin, Marble Falls, Lockhart, Bastrop, Fredericksburg, Taylor, Smithville, Wimberley, Liberty Hill, Lago Vista, Buda, Kyle, Elroy, and Lakeway.

The MSO will also launch new speeds for small business customers (100x10, 200x20 and 300x20) as “add-on options” for existing wideband plans. TWC’s Business Services unit also offers up to 10 Gbps via its fiber-based Metro Ethernet platform.

TWC has also lit up 1,300 Wi-Fi hotspots in the market, and expects to add another 1,000 in Austin this year. Those are accessible by most TWC residential broadband subs, all business-class customers, and to customers who get broadband from other MSO members of the “CableWiFi” alliance – Comcast, Cablevision Systems, Bright House Networks and Cox Communications.

TWC is also gearing up to launch 300-Meg speeds in other markets. Its broader “TWC Maxx” initiative, which includes all-digital upgrades and more advanced video services, is underway in New York City and Los Angeles.