Marcus: We’ll Throttle Up Broadband in K.C.

Marcus: We’ll Throttle Up Broadband in K.C.
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NEW YORK — Time Warner Cable chief operating officer Rob Marcus said the MSO could boost speeds of its high-speed Internet offerings in the Kansas City market to compete with Google, but so far, it hasn’t had to.

Google launched its Google Fiber service in parts of Kansas City in September to much fanfare, offering data speeds of as much as 1 Gigabit per second to select consumers in the market.

At the MCN/B&C OnScreen Media Summit, Marcus said Google’s offering only affects about 100,000 Time Warner Cable video customers and 100,000 high-speed Internet subscribers in the area. He added that Kansas City already is a competitive market, with at least five other providers. And he questioned the need for a 1 Gbps service.

“It will be interesting to find out whether there are applications that will take advantage of a 1-Gbps service,” Marcus said. “If there [are], we will provide it. Our infrastructure has the ability to provide much faster speeds today. We’re prepared to compete head to head with Google.”

Switching to programming costs, Marcus reiterated comments earlier this week from Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Glenn Britt concerning high programming costs. At the UBS Global Media and Communications conference, Britt said TWC could drop some networks that do not perform commensurate to their price (see Cover Story).

“Something has got to give,” Marcus said. Time Warner Cable has been criticized for being part of the programming costs problem through its Los Angeles regional sports network — Time Warner Cable SportsNet — that carries Los Angeles Lakers NBA contests as well as other content. TWC has said in the past that creating the network, spurred by its estimated $3 billion purchase of Lakers’ programming rights for 20 years, was a defensive move.

Marcus said at the Summit that the SportsNet deal was largely about managing the company’s costs.