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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.

Hill Country About To Get Fastest Internet in South Texas: Non-Profit Co-Op Provides Fiber That Bigger Providers Won’t

Phillip Dampier December 16, 2009 Broadband Speed, Competition, GVTC Communications, Video 6 Comments

GVTCGVTC Communications yesterday launched 40Mbps service across its service area — the Hill Country north of San Antonio — marking a new broadband speed achievement for south Texas.

The company providing the service is about to reap the rewards of a $35 million investment in a fiber-to-the-home network reaching 80 percent of customers in North San Antonio and the Hill Country.  The new premium speed tier bests the company’s current 20Mbps service, and also includes 10Mbps upstream speed for $89.95 a month with a contract.

GVTC says it can deliver even faster speeds, upwards of 100Mbps, but wants to see what kind of demand they have for 40Mbps service first.

GVTC’s speeds will leave San Antonio’s Time Warner Cable and AT&T U-verse customers drooling.  GVTC speeds achieve nearly twice the speed of either provider, and leaves them in the dust when comparing upload speeds.  The company provides true fiber connections straight to customer homes, not the fiber-copper systems both cable and AT&T rely on.

http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/GVTC-FTTH 12-10-08.flv

GVTC Communications explains the benefits of fiber to the home service.  (4 minutes)

GVTC believes upstream speeds are particularly important for the area’s small businesses, as well as families with multimedia to share.

AT&T U-verse last week announced a speed upgrade to 24Mbps service in San Antonio, but their upstream speed tops out at 3Mbps.  Time Warner Cable currently provides San Antonio customers up to 15Mbps service with 2Mbps upstream speeds.

Time Warner Cable spokesperson Jon Gary Herrera said the company will respond with an upgrade to DOCSIS 3 in San Antonio as soon as the first half of 2010.  The upgrade, dubbed “Wideband” in marketing materials, will provide connections up to 50Mbps downstream and 5Mbps upstream.

http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/KSAT San Antonio -- Boerne Gets Wired 9-13-07.flv

On September 13, 2007 KSAT-TV San Antonio ran this report about Boerne getting new fiber optic access through GVTC.  (2 minutes)

That GVTC Communications was able to handily beat both AT&T and Time Warner Cable in both product offerings and fiber optic deployment may be a result of the company’s status as a non-profit cooperative.  The more revenue the company brings in, the more the company returns to its customers in the form of Capital Credits.  GVTC has always been a major innovator in Texas, being the first phone cooperative in Texas to launch cable television service in the 1980s and the company began using fiber in the 1990s.  The company’s service area spans 2,000 square miles and eleven counties, some rural.  Despite questions about whether wiring rural customers would provide sufficient return, the company went ahead with the project anyway, which today permits the cooperative to enjoy revenue from telephone, television, and broadband service.  It also permits many of their less-urban customers to enjoy the same level of service as the “big city folks.”

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