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Hobbs: DOCSIS 3.0 Rollout Will Be ‘Surgical’

9/09/2008 2:03 PM Eastern

Time Warner Cable chief operating officer Landel Hobbs said the second-largest cable operator in the country would begin rolling out DOCSIS 3.0 high-speed data service "surgically."

Hobbs, speaking at the Merrill Lynch 2008 Media Fall Preview conference in Marina Del Rey, Calif., said that DOCSIS 3.0, which is expected to boost high-speed data service into the stratosphere of 50- to-160 Megabit-per-second speeds, will only be released in areas where the company believes it is needed—not on a national basis.

And part of the reasoning for that is the success that Time Warner Cable has had already with its tiered high-speed data service.

“We look at it [DOCSIS 3.0] on a surgical basis as we move to 2009, not a broad-based rollout,” Hobbs said. “We’re going to do it selectively where we need it.”

That appeared to contrast the DOCISIS 3.0 strategy of another big cable operator—Comcast—which said earlier this year that it plans to roll out a 50 Mbps DOCSIS 3.0 service to 20% of its footprint before the end of this year.

Hobbs added that the success of its other high-speed Internet services—he characterized its Turbo 10 Mbps service as “smoking hot”—led to that decision.

Hobbs added that the DOCSIS 3.0 service would be a “super-premium” service, priced even higher than what the company charges for Turbo.

Hobbs also said Time Warner Cable is prepared to compete against Verizon Communications’ FiOS TV service, which the telco is already beginning to roll out in parts of New York City—noting that TWC has implemented its price-lock guarantee (which offers customers a break if they commit to a longer-term contract), its international one-price phone offering which allows unlimited international calling for $20 per month, and a 2-hour service window guarantee for installation and service calls to New York City customers to help beat back the competition.

“We’re effectively positioned in Manhattan,” Hobbs said. “They [Verizon] are just now getting started.”    

September