Time Warner: Too little, too late?

Time Warner Cable proudly unveiled its fastest Internet access service in New York City — 50 Megabits per second downstream/5 Mbps upstream for about $100 for consumers — and got, at best, tepid applause.

If anything, the announcement focused attention on what TWC hasn’t done, as in rolling out Docsis 3.0 technology across its footprint. Obviously, New York City is not only its largest market, but also the target of a major Verizon FiOS rollout.

Other large ISPs have been playing in the faster Internet speed business for longer, and offering incentives and discounts to lure consumers as well.

I think the time has past when speed is the primary draw of an Internet service. Price still plays a role, but consumers are looking for high-quality customer service and reliability, ease of installation and operation and more relevant bundles, i.e., bundle options that let them pick and choose which services they want.

Business customers, particularly small businesses, are a target of the TWC offering, but even here they may be missing the boat. Certainly, business class 50 Meg service for $289.95 is attractive, but depending on what the small business plans to do with its Internet offering, managed services could well have greater appeal at a price tag that is not a huge leap for a small business.

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