Time Warner Cable will be investing $25 million to expand and upgrade its fiber broadband network to New York City’s business and financial district, with speeds of up to 1Gbps to better accommodate the heavy data needs that are routine for the tech savvy design and technology firms that power New York City’s economy.
As a result of the franchise agreement that Time Warner signed with New York City last year, the new fiber network will expanded to areas like Brooklyn, the Financial and Flatiron districts of Manhattan, and other important boroughs that do not have access to any fiber optic network.
A second Time Warner Learning Lab in Brooklyn, located at the Navy Yard, is also in the works. The planned facility will provide the public with free access to computers and high-speed Internet, which will be the Navy Yard’s onsite Employment Center.
Time Warner Cable is just one of the major telecommunications giants that have entered into expansion and upgrading agreements with New York City. AT&T and Verizon also have similar deals with the city, with AT&T building several public Wi-Fi hotspots for its customers and Verizon Wireless expanding its Fios fiber network to residential and business customers to all parts of the city.
Time Warner’s foray into true high speed fiber optic internet service is not surprising, considering Google’s latest fiber optic network project in parts of Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas. Launched as Google Fiber, this super speed internet service will cost residential and business customers $70 a month for 1Gbps downloads and uploads, including 1 terabyte of data storage. This is in contrast to Time Warner’s competing high speed network, which will be targeted to businesses rather than residential customers.
There is no word as of yet from Time Warner about the new price point. Whether the telecom giant will eventually offer residential customers the same download speeds businesses take for granted remains to be seen.
Google’s intent on building its Google Fiber network is to hopefully spur innovation in broadband and to encourage other providers to speed up their networks.
“There is a bottleneck right now in residential access where people are only getting speeds of 5Mbps,” Ken Lo, general manager for Google Access said in an interview following the launch of the network.
“The last time we doubled the speed of broadband a whole new market evolved and spurred tremendous growth in the Internet,” he said. “We don’t want incremental change. Offering you a 10Mbps service and edging it to 50Mbps and then 100Mbps, that’s not what drives real innovation. We need to do something in a big way that will take a material step in performance.”
As a consumer who can’t live without real high speed internet (10mbps is barely broadband, as far as I’m concerned), I’m glad that the other telecom providers are responding to Google’s challenge in the drive for better speed. The rest of the world (like France, Japan, Korea, China, Germany, etc.) take faster internet speeds for granted, and while America is usually the place for innovation, it’s a sad state of affairs when large parts of the country think 5Mbps qualifies as broadband because that’s the fastest their local internet provider will offer.
I hope this will put an end to the reign of the low speed broadband cartels that currently plague many rural communities. Hopefully, this brings about the democratization of true high speed broadband—because real broadband is no longer a luxury, but a necessity in today’s high tech world.