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Cable Technology Feature Article

April 28, 2009

Cablevision Unveils Ultra-Fast Internet Service

By Michael Dinan, TMCnet Editor

Less than a day after the United States’ second-largest telecom provider, Verizon Communications Inc., posted stellar quarterly earnings on the strength of its wireless, Internet and TV divisions, the Cablevision Systems Corporation is unveiling new high-speed Internet and WiFi services that some industry experts already are calling a game-changer.
Officials at the Bethpage, New York-based company – which offers high-speed Internet, digital cable TV and digital voice services in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut under its Optimum (News - Alert) brand – say that starting May 11, they’ll offer the nation’s first 101 megabits per second high-speed Internet service.
According to the company, the service – which leverages DOCSIS 3.0 technology and will be called “Optimum Online Ultra” – will serve both wired and wireless customers, for a fee of $100 per month.
The company’s chief operating officer, Tom Rutledge, said Optimum Online Ultra “solidifies” the brand as the fastest Internet service in the home, at work and through WiFi (News - Alert).
“This is a perfect complement to our existing high-speed data products, which are fast, reliable and far superior to anything available from our competitors,” said Rutledge, pictured right.
Those competitors in the telecom space – all vying for Internet customers – are having a big week, too.
Verizon (News - Alert), which acquired Alltel Corp. for $5.9 billion in January, yesterday posted 5 percent year-over-year growth in earnings for the first quarter, to $3.21 billion, besting analysts’ predictions. And in what could amount to very bad news for AT&T, whose recent earnings report reveals how heavily the company relies on its iPhone business, rumors are emerging now that Verizon could become a carrier for Apple Inc.’s iPhone.
The competition, as it usually does, ultimately will benefit customers.
With Cablevision’s new offering, for example, consumers can download a full-length high-definition movie in less 10 minutes. Optimum Online Ultra also not only will deliver download speeds of up to 101 megabits per second, but upload speeds of up to 15 megabits per second. According to Reuters (News - Alert), those speeds can enable the download of up to 750 digital photos or 150 songs in one minute.
It’s probably only a matter of time before major cable operators, such as Charter Communications and Comcast, also roll out ultra-fast access services.
Yet, as Reuters reporter Yinka Adegoke notes, the cable companies are facing a sort of catch-22 as they offer high-speed Internet features. By enabling better IPTV (News - Alert) viewing, operators such as Cablevision also may inadvertently encourage their customers to cancel their cable subscriptions altogether.
As Craig Moffett, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein, reportedly told Adegoke, cable operators are “trying to walk a fine line.”
“They don’t want to provide so much bandwidth that they foster the means to bypass their core service,” Moffett reportedly said.

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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan