Time Warner Cable plans to increase the Internet speeds it offers its Triangle subscribers – up to six times faster – at no additional cost next year.
The company’s speed-boosting plan, announced Thursday, follows on the heels of rival AT&T’s plans to expand its fiber network in a number of local municipalities to enable faster Internet speeds. Search giant Google is also considering bringing its Google Fiber service to the region.
The Triangle is one of seven markets nationwide where New York-based Time Warner Cable plans to launch its TWC Maxx service, which will upgrade its cable TV service as well as boosting Internet speeds, next year. The upgrades are expected to be completed in the Triangle and elsewhere by the end of 2015.
The boost in speed for Internet subscribers will vary depending on their current speeds. Subscribers to the company’s standard service, which offers speeds of up to 15 megabits per second, would jump to 50 megabits per second. Customers who subscribe to the Ultimate plan, which offers up to 100 megabits per second, will be upgraded to up to 300 megabits per second.
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Some subscribers will need to upgrade their modems to take advantage of the higher speeds. Subscribers have the option of purchasing their own modem or paying a monthly fee for a Time Warner Cable modem.
Business customers also will get higher Internet speeds.
The upgraded TV service will include an expanded library of “On Demand” titles and an enhanced DVR that will enable viewers to record up to 150 hours of high-definition programs – which is between two and six times more than the company’s current DVRs. Subscribers also will be able to simultaneously record as many as six programs.
The TV service also will become “all-digital,” with the remaining analog channels in its lineup moving to a digital format. That transition will deliver a better picture and frees up capacity that can be used for, among other things, additional channels and On Demand content, according to spokesman Scott Pryzwansky.
Charlotte is also among the seven new cities selected to receive TWC Maxx next year. Previously, Time Warner Cable began upgrading to TWC Maxx in Los Angeles, New York City and Austin, Texas.
Comcast’s pending $45.2 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable is expected to close before the end of this year, but Pryzwansky said that deal shouldn’t impact plans for the upgraded service.
“We are confident that our plans ... align very well with Comcast’s strong track record,” he said.
Time Warner Cable has 800,000 customers in eastern North Carolina, and a “large majority” of those subscribers are scheduled to receive the enhanced service. That includes Triangle subscribers as well as those as far east as Wilson and as far south as Benson.
AT&T has reached agreements with five Triangle municipalities – Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh – to expand its fiber network to offer speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second. A gigabit is about 1,000 megabits.