Time Warner Cable's Britt: 'We brought broadband to America'

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BOULDER, Colo.--Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) Chairman and CEO Glenn Britt admitted that the cable industry hasn't done a great job of championing its accomplishments. Specifically, he said the industry has poorly communicated its role in delivering broadband to U.S. consumers.

Glenn Britt, Time Warner Cable

Britt (Image source: TWC)

"We brought broadband to America," Britt said. "We are the industry that people love to hate. But we don't tell that story."

Britt offered his insights on the cable industry at the Silicon Flatirons Digital Broadband Migration conference held here today.  Speaking with University of Colorado Law School Dean and Executive Director of the Silicon Flatirons Center Phil Weiser,  Britt said that cable not only delivered broadband to residential customers at a time when the telcos were primarily focused on bringing broadband to businesses, but cable's broadband speeds have also steadily gotten faster over the years.  Britt noted that the media instead tends to champion Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), which launched a 1 Gigabit  fiber network, called Google Fiber, in Kansas City, and is competing with Time Warner Cable in that market.

Britt also talked about his company's aggressive expansion of Wi-Fi.  "We did not get into wireless spectrum like some of the other cable companies,"  he noted. "We build Wi-Fi."

In particular, Britt said that Time Warner Cable has 10,000 Wi-Fi access points in Los Angeles, and similarly large  footprints in New York and Charlotte, N.C.  He also touched on TWC's deal with Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), Cablevision (NYSE: CVC), Cox Communications and Bright House Networks to offer shared access of those Wi-Fi hotspots under the name, "CableWiFi."  The deal, which was announced last May has not officially launched, but Britt said that eventually a Comcast subscriber could come to one of TWC's Wi-Fi cities and use the company's Wi-Fi hot spots.

On the topic of pricing, Britt said that he isn't in favor of limiting people who use a lot of broadband capacity.  But at the same time, he doesn't believe people who use a small amount of broadband capacity should have to subsidize the heavy users.  "I think we should always have unlimited usage. But if someone wants to save $5 per month and will agree to a certain amount of consumption, then here it is," he said, referring to the company's usage-based rate plan.

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