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Cable Technology Feature Article

August 28, 2012

Time Warner Cable Puts Big Money into Big Fiber Network

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

Not so long ago, when the term “fiber” came around, a lot of people thought Google (News - Alert) and its big investment in fiber services. But Google Fiber wouldn't be alone much longer, as several other networks began looking at the 1 Gbps threshold to help get more bandwidth to customers that were absolutely starving for it. Thus, earlier today, Time Warner (News - Alert) Cable announced plans to invest fully $25 million in building out a 1 Gbps fiber network in New York City.

The specifics of the arrangement, sadly, are not yet known. Just how much access to this impressive network will cost, for example, as well as when it will be available, has yet to be announced. However, it is known that Time Warner plans to focus on business customers with its fiber network—unlike Google who seemed more interested in getting much of Kansas City (both Missouri's and Kansas' Kansas City alike) hooked up—and that the network itself will be built in Brooklyn as well as parts of Manhattan, including the Flatiron district and the Financial district.

Time Warner Cable already has some fiber upgrades in the city; businesses that have set up shop in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, for example, have already seen benefits in upgraded cable feeds. The Navy Yard will also see a second Time Warner Learning Lab, providing not only free access to computers but also high-speed Internet access to go with it as part of the Navy Yard's Employment Center.

The move is part of a larger initiative from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (News - Alert), who has been focused on improving technology in the city for much of his term, penning agreements with Verizon, Cablevision, AT&T and others to improve broadband access throughout the city.

Still, all of this does somewhat pale in comparison to the Google Fiber initiative, which is not only proceeding apace but also taking paying customers at $70 per month for 1 Gbps uploads and downloads and a full terabyte of data storage. That is, of course, a massive game-changer in the way people view connectivity and the kind of thing that may well change the face of the Internet itself.

It was a pretty safe bet that Google was going to largely own Internet access throughout Kansas City—either one—as a result of this. It's a massive disparity between the two levels of connectivity; 10 meg DSL, or even 50 meg cable, really can't compete against the sheer power of a 1 Gbps connection, and considering the prices are at least comparable--$70 a month is in some cases maybe triple what the typical person pays, but for a connection that's potentially a hundred times faster or more—it's a clear cut case of much better value for the consumer. In Google's case this makes a lot of sense; considering the sheer amount of traffic on YouTube (News - Alert), providing a high-speed, high-capacity way to watch all those videos, and thus make contact with all those advertisers, is additional money in Google's pocket.

Still, the key thing is that there is clearly advancement in the making. How much of that Google is spurring on is anyone's guess, but anything that brings faster connections and more bandwidth to users is likely a welcome development indeed, at least for the users.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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