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Time Warner Cable Officially Unveils DOCSIS 3 Upgrades in San Antonio; Hill Country Residents Yawn

Despite a soft launch weeks earlier, Time Warner Cable officially began selling faster broadband packages in San Antonio Tuesday.

Made possible by DOCSIS 3 upgrades (and not by “Time Warner’s fiber optic network” to quote one San Antonio news outlet), the cable company will now sell 30/5Mbps service for $20 above the current price of Standard Service.  Customers looking for more speed can spend a lot more to get it — $99.95 a month buys you 50/5Mbps service, although the sting seems less if you bundle all of your Time Warner services through their $199 Signature Home package, which includes digital cable, broadband, and phone service.  Signature Home includes 50/5Mbps as part of the package.

About 70 percent of the San Antonio market can get the new speeds immediately.  The rest will be upgraded by September.

The upgrades are seen with some amusement by customers of GVTC, a former telephone cooperative that today provides fiber to the home service in parts of the Texas Hill Country and other rural areas to the north of San Antonio.  They recently received speed upgrades from 40Mbps to 80Mbps downstream and 20Mbps upstream as part of a comparably-priced triple play package.  GVTC’s truly fiber optic system was built to accommodate broadband usage growth.

“Consumers obviously enjoy streaming video and downloading HD movies, but these applications use a lot of bandwidth and can slow down other Internet devices in your household,” CEO Ritchie Sorrells said. “The reality is bandwidth consumption will continue to increase. We’re once again ahead of the curve with our 80 Mbps connection, and this tier will be popular with the growing number of households that realize they have a need for speed.”

One thing GVTC customers don’t need and won’t get is the kind of consumption billing Time Warner Cable is reconsidering for their customers in San Antonio and the rest of the country.

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