With the continued downward slide of basic video subscribers, and with VoIP services maturing, it’s no secret that cable operators are placing greater emphasis on their data services.
To wit, Time Warner Cable announced it was upgrading its Ultimate 50 subscribers to a 100 Mbps service for free in Los Angeles, with New York City and Hawaii to follow. The company’s Time Warner Cable Business Services division also offers the new speed tiers in Los Angeles and New York City.
Time Warner Cable said the 100 Mbps tier would be available to all of its customers in those three markets by early 2014 and will launch in additional markets next year. The upstream speed remained the same at 5 Mbps.
“Consumers are adding more and more connected devices into their digital lifestyle. These new ultra-fast Internet speeds are designed to satisfy their growing demand to stream, download and connect simultaneously across multiple devices,” said Steve Cook, senior vice president and general manager of Time Warner Cable residential Internet. “As a thank you to our Ultimate Internet customers, we’re pleased to double their speed from 50 Meg to 100 Meg at no extra charge so that they can get everything they want online, even faster.”
Aside of doubling the speed, Ultimate 100 comes with additional perks such as 30 email accounts, 10 GB of email storage space, free in-home Wi-Fi, and free Internet security and parental control software. Users also have access to Time Warner Cable’s 23,000 Wi-Fi hotspots, as well as 200,000 access points through the Cable WiFi partnership.
The 100 Mbps tier made its debut late last year in Kansas City, which is also where Time Warner Cable is competing with Google Fiber’s 1 Gig offering. In January, Time Warner Cable launched Ultimate 75 in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, which is served by AT&T.
Time Warner Cable’s Ultimate 100 costs $105 per month minus promotional prices. By contrast, Verizon’s 75 Mbps tier cost $95 a month while its FiOS 150 offering checks in at $135 a month.
While the ultra-fast data tiers make for flashy headlines for the telco and cable operator service providers, they haven’t attracted a large number of subscribers to date due to the higher cost. The sweet spot for customers in terms of data speeds is more along the lines of 50 Mbps.
On the other end of the data speed spectrum, Time Warner Cable announced that it was replacing its Lite Internet tier with a 2 Mbps offering. Priced at $14.99 per month, the new offering will have twice the speed of the company’s current Lite tier and will be available starting Nov. 4.
“We’re making our entry-level product even better and more affordable for the casual Internet user and cost-conscious consumer,” said Cook. “At both ends of our speed options and everything in between, we’re focused on giving our customers the best experience at the best value.”
In the second quarter, Time Warner Cable's residential data revenue grew 12.5 percent to $1.4 billion while residential video revenue dropped 4.4 percent to $2.7 billion. Time Warner Cable will report its third quarter results on Thursday.