As many people in San Diego and across the country are aware. Our internet speeds still haven?t quite caught up with what our computers, phones, and tablets are capable of. As such, we all tend to find ourselves starving for bandwidth? contrary to what companies like AT&T would like us to believe. Their insane beliefs that usage caps will somehow benefit customers is ludicrous in an age of ever increasing high definition video content accompanied by higher quality data and increased connectivity through things like the cloud.
Companies like Time Warner are attempting to address such issues by providing wideband service to their larger metropolitan areas. At the given moment, places like New York and Texas have wideband service available in broad coverage areas. In San Diego, though, where this writer is located? we?ve had very little to no availability of such service even if we wanted to get it. For those that don?t know, wideband service is simply the next generation of cable internet service. It delivers a significantly faster internet connection than what Time Warner or most ISPs offer (with a few exceptions). The speeds are most certainly not a gigabit (1000 mbit/s) like those that EPB is offering in Chattanooga. Nevertheless, the wideband service that Time Warner is offering will deliver speeds of 30 mbit/s and 50 mbit/s utilizing DOCSIS 3.0 which not only makes speeds of up to 152 MBit/s. 50Mbit/s and 30Mbit/s do not directly translate to megabytes a second as those would in actuality be more like 6.25MB/s and 3.75MB/s. Such speeds will mean that you could download a 1GB movie in under 3 minutes. Granted, we?ll never see these kinds of speeds for residential nor business? but there are added benefits of having DOCSIS 3.0 other than just speed. DOCSIS 3.0 also enables the support of IPv6, which if some of you know is the new IP protocol for internet addresses which solves the problem that IPv4 had where we were running out of internet addresses due to there being so many devices connected to the internet. DOCSIS is only used for cable providers in order for them to be able to transmit internet traffic over pre-existing cable tv wiring. This is how television providers like Time Warner, Cox, Cablevision, Charter and Comcast are able to provide internet and TV.
Now, Time Warner is making this service available to those in the San Diego area but not without limitations. First of all, at this given moment the service is only available in select parts of Carlsbad and University City. Not all parts of those areas are even quite yet covered, as they just recently were rolled out on June 29th this year. A Time Warner rep was reached for comment and she stated, ?Time Warner Cable currently offers wideband service to customers served by our Carlsbad and University City hubs. We are continuing to deploy wideband throughout San Diego with plans to reach nearly 50% of our customers by the end of 2011. Greater availability of wideband compliments our other recent product roll-outs in San Diego, including our iPad 2.0 app, Signature Home, Lookback, Startover, and our increase to more than 100 HD channels.? This is actually fairly promising as it indicates that Time Warner is preparing for a very aggressive ramp up of their internet speeds and network bandwidth towards the end of the year.
For those interested in Time Warner?s wideband service, there is a map of existing Time Warner service areas as well as a map showing which areas currently have service marked with a red dot (made by us, shown above). Currently, those living in Carlsbad and University City are most likely to expect service soon if they don?t have it already. Time Warner did state that there is a good chance that more areas will roll out this month, but they haven?t specified where. Also, for those wondering what prices they can expect, the pricing schemes for the two speeds that Time Warner is offering are $82.99 for 30Mbit/s and $109.99 for 50Mbit/s. The 50Mbit/s service will also be accompanied by a 5Mbit/s upload. There is also a discount of about $10 if you have other services with Time Warner as well. These prices, admittedly, are not very competitive when you consider that Charter Communications is offering 60Mbit/s for essentially the same price. On top of that, COX which is also in San Diego offers 50-55Mbit/s service for $99 as well or for $69.99 for 3 months, which is admittedly a gimmick. But this is still cheaper than Time Warner?s $109.99 standalone price. And it?s faster too. But, unlike AT&T Time Warner will not cap you at 250 GB a month and start charging you for that, so in that sense Time Warner is still much better than AT&T?s 24Mbit/s max speed UVerse service.
The bottom line is that we?re very happy that Time Warner is offering this service to those of us in San Diego and we?d love to get an opportunity to test it out and give feedback to you guys. But at the given moment it isn?t a financially sound decision considering how expensive it is. And to be quite honest, $65 a month for 20Mbit/s isn?t that great either. What really needs to happen in the San Diego and the US as a whole is that we need to have more affordable internet with more competition. If neither company has competitive prices, then there?s little chance that anyone will ever buy their faster internet plans, something which we?re fairly certain they want to happen. Time Warner is taking baby steps, but we?d really appreciate it if they were a little more aggressive because we know that its already being done by other cable providers in nearly the same area.