Cincinnati Time Warner Cable customers service

The Mere Threat Of Google Fiber Has Time Warner Cable Offering

From the behold-the-magic-competition-fairy dept

Like so many other incumbent ISPs, Time Warner Cable has grown all-too comfortable with the lack of broadband competition it enjoys across most of its territory. Some markets are worse than others, usually not-coincidentally directly tied to the level of regulatory capture in a region. In the Carolinas, the company has worked tirelessly to protect its regional monopoly and duopoly, passing a bill in North Carolina (on the fourth try) preventing towns and cities from improving regional broadband. Company execs have also downplayed the rise of gigabit broadband, proudly informing users they don't really want faster, cheaper services.

Now Time Warner Cable is facing the worst-case scenario for a government-pampered duopolist. One, the FCC has moved to pre-empt Time Warner Cable's protectionist law in North Carolina, arguing it hinders the deployment of broadband services in a reasonable and timely basis. Two, Google Fiber recently announced it will be expanding $70, gigabit services (you know, the ones users don't need or want) into Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte sometime in the next year. The one-two punch of regulators thinking independently and increased competition has to be a nightmarish hellscape for company executives.

Time Warner Cable has of course responded by announcing it is at no additional charge sometime this summer:

"Starting this week, customers will receive communications from TWC outlining the first phase of the project as the company begins the process of creating a 100% digital network..."With ‘TWC Maxx, ’ we’re essentially reinventing the TWC experience, ” said Darrel Hegar, regional vice president of operations, Time Warner Cable. “We will boost Internet speeds for customers up to six times faster, add to our robust TWC WiFi, dramatically improve the TV product and set a high bar in our industry for differentiated, exceptional customer service."That's on the heels of an AT&T announcement that it would be ). Funny how this whole competition thing works, huh? Granted the whole concept of responding to price competition is new to some of these folks, so there's obviously some initial kinks to work out as these companies figure out what the concept means.

For example, Time Warner Cable's 300 Mbps down, 20 Mbps up tier will run you $65 promotional, $108 regular price - notably slower and more expensive than Google Fiber's symmetrical 1 Gbps, $70 a month offering. Similarly, AT&T's service is very selectively deployed (mostly high-end developments) and the company is only willing to match Google Fiber's price point if you agree to deep packet inspection snoopvertising. Meanwhile, while Google Fiber pricing is generally straightforward, both AT&T and Time Warner Cable still employ a wide variety of obnoxious fees to drive up the advertised price post sale.

That's of course about real broadband competition. You actually have a choice, and can respond to slow speeds, abysmal customer service, net neutrality violations and other shenanigans by voting with your wallet. The downside? Google Fiber's only available in a handful of markets, hopefully putting the onus on other companies to follow Google Fiber's lead and start lighting a fire under the posterior of a broadband industry that's just screaming for some disruption.

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