Time Warner Prepared For NYC Verizon Battle


Time Warner Cable chief operating officer Landel Hobbs offered a little more insight into the MSO’s planned response to Verizon Communications’ encroachment into the New York City video market later this year, adding that the cable operator is prepared to fight back the threat with advanced services and innovative pricing plans.

Verizon already has about 1.2 million video customers across the country for its FiOS TV service and has said it plans to launch the product in the nation’s biggest TV market, New York City, in the third quarter. New York City is Time Warner Cable’s second-largest system (after Los Angeles), with about 1.4 million customers.

Verizon has said that it hopes to start offering FiOS later this year in all five boroughs of New York, including four controlled by Time Warner Cable—Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. Cablevision Systems is the incumbent cable operator in the Bronx.

Hobbs (pictured), speaking at the Deutsche Bank Media & Telecommunications conference Monday, said Time Warner Cable is prepared, readying its plant—it is already all-digital in Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens and will be all-digital in Manhattan by the end of the year—for additional HDTV channels and its Start Over service. Hobbs said that TWC will nearly double its HDTV capacity in New York from 55 channels to about 100 channels by the end of the year. Its popular Start Over service should be available by then as well.

Hobbs also said that TWC has been rolling out a “price-lock guarantee” package which enables customers to lock in a set price for video, voice and data service if they agree to a two-year contract.

“HD in vast numbers, Start Over will be launched in Manhattan before year end, price-lock guarantee throughout the entire market, scouring the market ahead of anybody before the competition moves in,” Hobbs said at the conference. “That’s what we do in every area, whether it be AT&T or Verizon. That’s how we can compete. We’re very effective in getting out ahead of folks and implementing some of these things that, for us, have been proven effective.”

Hobbs pointed to the cable industry’s and TWC’s success in the high-speed data market against telcos like Verizon. He said nationwide cable has a 53% share of the broadband market (Time Warner share in its footprint is about 56%, he said), while digital subscriber line service from telephone companies has declined.

“FiOS is cannibalizing itself,” Hobbs said.