Services & Software

Time Warner Cable invests $25M to build 1Gbps fiber network

Time Warner Cable is following Google's lead with a 1Gbps fiber network in New York City, except Time Warner will focus on business customers and it hasn't yet announced pricing.

Time Warner Cable announced Tuesday a $25 million investment to expand its fiber broadband network to businesses in New York City.

CNN's Erin Burnett interviews AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt, and Discovery Communications David Zaslav at the NCTA 2012 show in Boston. CNET/Marguerite Reardon

The new fiber network will be built in Brooklyn as well as to parts of Manhattan such as the Financial and Flatiron districts. Last year, Time Warner and the city of New York reached a franchise agreement in which Time Warner said it would expand its fiber network to areas that don't currently have access.

The new service will offer speeds up to 1 gigabit per second, the company said in a press release (not yet available online). The company will target companies that have high data needs, such as design firms and technology companies.

Businesses in the newly revitalized Brooklyn Navy Yard have already seen the benefits of an upgraded and fast fiber network from Time Warner Cable. Time Warner is also building a second Time Warner Learning Lab in Brooklyn at the Navy Yard. This facility provide the public with free access to computers and high-speed Internet. The facility will be part of the Navy Yard's onsite Employment Center.

Time Warner's move to improve its network and expand fiber to underserved parts of the city is part of a bigger technology initiative from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The city also has agreements with Verizon Communications, Cablevision Systems, and AT&T to improve broadband services via fiber and Wi-Fi.

AT&T has built several public Wi-Fi hotspots for its customers. And Verizon Wireless has been deploying its Fios fiber network to residents and businesses throughout the five boroughs of the city.

Time Warner's announcement comes as technology giant Google is building out its fiber network in parts of Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas. Google launched Google Fiber last month. charging customers $70 a month for 1Gbps downloads and uploads, plus 1 terabyte of data storage.

Time Warner hasn't announced its pricing yet. But unlike Time Warner, Google's service is geared toward consumers as well as business users. Google is building the network in an effort to spur innovation in broadband and to push other providers to increase the speed of their networks.

"There is a bottleneck right now in residential access where people are only getting speeds of 5Mbps," Ken Lo, general manager for Google Access said in an interview following the launch of the network.

And even though he didn't say so directly, he made the point that the Google Fiber network can be seen as a challenge to what broadband providers have offered in the past.

"The last time we doubled the speed of broadband a whole new market evolved and spurred tremendous growth in the Internet," he said. "We don't want incremental change. Offering you a 10Mbps service and edging it to 50Mbps and then 100Mbps, that's not what drives real innovation. We need to do something in a big way that will take a material step in performance."

It will be interesting to see how Time Warner prices its 1Gbps service and whether the company will upgrade other parts of its network to provide fast broadband services to residents throughout the city.