Time Warner Cable said Wednesday that it’s rolling out faster Internet speeds and improved television services for Charlotte-area customers starting this summer.
The enhancements come as technology giant Google is preparing to build a new fiber network in the city, and another rival, AT&T, is pledging faster speeds. Time Warner had announced in August that it was bringing its “TWC Maxx” service to Charlotte and six other metro areas but hadn’t disclosed the timing.
Time Warner customers will receive speeds up to six times faster than their current level of service, up to 300 megabits per second, at no extra charge. In comparison, Google and AT&T plan to offer speeds of 1,000 megabits – or 1 gigabit – per second.
By going to an all-digital network, Time Warner is “laying the foundation for even faster speeds and new features in the future, including gigabit speeds for residential customers,” company spokesman Scott Pryzwansky told the Observer. Plans for faster speeds haven’t been announced for Charlotte, where the company has 480,000 customers.
With gigabit service, a consumer can download 25 songs in a second, a TV show in 3 seconds and an HD movie in 36 seconds, according to AT&T.
Google Fiber hasn’t said when its service will debut. AT&T said Wednesday that it’s adding fiber to its network and new electronics in its central offices but didn’t provide a launch date.
Time Warner’s upgrade also includes an enhanced digital recorder that lets customers record up to six shows at a time and save 150 hours of programs. Shows available on demand will increase to more than 30,000 from 19,000 by the end of the year.
Pryzwansky also noted the company’s enhanced service will be available to all customers, not just those in select neighborhoods. Google Fiber plans to build a network to cover the whole city, but it provides service to neighborhoods where a certain number of residents sign up.
TWC Maxx will be coming to these areas: Albemarle, Badin, Boiling Springs, Charlotte, Cherryville, Clover (S.C.), Concord, Ellerbe, Gastonia, Harrisburg, Huntersville, Indian Trail, Kannapolis, Kings Mountain, Matthews, Monroe, Mooresville, Rockingham, Salisbury, Shelby, Statesville, Wadesboro, Waxhaw and Weddington.
Starting this week, Time Warner will send notices to customers about the project. Existing customers who plug their cable line directly into their TV will need to request a digital adapter from the company, which will provide them for free if ordered by Dec. 10.
The company has previously announced that Raleigh-area customers will also receive upgrades by year’s end.
The improvements come as Time Warner’s sale to rival Comcast is pending. Pryzwansky said the company is confident it will receive the necessary regulatory approvals to close the deal. Until then, Time Warner remains independent, he said, and is “committed to transforming the customer experience.”