Starting next week, Time Warner Cable will start informing its Kansas City-based subscribers that the company’s all-digital “TWC Maxx” project will begin its first phase.
After upgrading networks in Los Angeles, New York City and Austin last year via TWC Maxx initiatives, Kansas City was one of the cities on the shortlist for this year, along with Charlotte, Dallas, Hawaii, Raleigh, San Antonio and San Diego.
Time Warner Cable competes with Google Fiber’s 1-Gig service in Austin and Kansas City and with AT&T’s GigaPower offering in Dallas, Raleigh, San Antonio and Austin.
TWC Maxx, which was first outlined by CEO Rob Marcus a year ago, uses the reclaimed bandwidth to offer its subscribers a 300 Mbps down/20 Mbps up tier, more VOD choices and an improved whole-home DVR offering.
“With ‘TWC Maxx,’ we’re going to essentially reinvent the TWC experience,” said Perry Watson, TWC’s Kansas City vice president of operations. “We will boost Internet speeds for customers up to four times faster, add to Kansas City’s robust TWC Wi-Fi, dramatically improve the TV product and set a high bar in our industry for differentiated, exceptional customer service.”
In addition to the “Ultimate” 300 Mbps tier, Time Warner Cable customers who subscribe to “Standard,” formerly up to 15 Mbps, will get download speeds of up to 50 Mbps while customers who subscribe to “Extreme,” formerly up to 50 Mbps, will now receive up to 200 Mbps at no extra charge.
On the whole-home networking TWC Maxx front, Time Warner Cable announced in November that it had upgraded its DVR platform in the Los Angeles and New York City markets with a new six-tuner gateway from Arris.
Arris’ DCX3600 gateway features a 1-terabyte hard drive, which includes up to six times more storage capacity than current Time Warner Cable DVRs. Time Warner Cable announced the new gateway under the moniker of “Enhanced DVR,” in reference to the improved DVR features and capacity.
As Time Warner Cable rolls TWC Maxx out in phases across the target cities, it has been reviewing and upgrading all of the hubs that enable its triple play services.
In order to tap into the all-digital lineups, some customers will need digital terminal adapters (DTAs), which Time Warner Cable will offer to current subscribers for free through April of next year if they sign up by August of this year. After the free trial period ends, customers that continue to use the DTAs will incur a monthly charge.
Cable operators can reclaim between 250 MHz and 300 MHz in each system that goes all-digital. If a typical cable system has 79 analog channels and the operator decides to move 59 of those channels to digital, while perhaps leaving 20 or so as a lifeline analog service for some select markets, it would reclaim 354 MHz.
Given 354 MHz of reclaimed spectrum in the example above – and the fact that, on average, 10 standard-definition MPEG-2 digital programs can be inserted into one 6 MHz slot – this yields enough bandwidth for nearly 590 channels.