Editor’s note: This article was originally published June 3, 2014
Cruising the Web just got faster for thousands of Central Texas residents.
Time Warner Cable, the area’s largest cable provider, said Tuesday that it has accelerated Internet speeds – at no additional charge – for more than 100,000 Austin subscribers, including homes in the downtown, Harris Branch, Jollyville, North Loop, Steiner Ranch, Tarrytown and West Campus areas.
Aside from parts of Austin, other communities where the free upgrade is up and running include Bee Cave, Cedar Park, Jonestown, Kyle, Manor, Mountain City and Uhland.
By July, Time Warner Cable said it will add much of South Austin, making the faster speeds available to 60 percent of Austinites. The rollout is set to be 100 percent complete by fall.
The speed increase varies by service level. Customers who subscribe to Ultimate, the company’s fastest offering, will jump from 50 to 300 megabits per second, for example.
Everyday Low Price, Time Warner Cable’s slowest and cheapest service, will go from 2 to 3 Mbps; Basic, 3 to 10 Mbps; Standard, 15 to 50 Mbps; Turbo, 20 to 100 Mbps; and Extreme, 30 to 200 Mbps.
Some customers might need to swap out modems to access the faster speeds, Time Warner Cable said.
"These significant speed increases will allow all our Internet customers in the greater Austin area to enjoy Time Warner Cable Internet better," Kathy Brabson, area vice president of operations for Time Warner Cable, said in a written statement. "Time Warner Cable offers a variety of Internet speed plans and prices to meet the varying needs of our customers. So whether they are simply surfing the Web, streaming video or downloading music and photos, these faster Internet speeds will enhance their experience with Time Warner Cable."
The move comes at a time when Austin’s Internet providers are bracing for the arrival of Google Fiber’s super-fast 1-gigabit service, which is expected to come online by year’s end. The service will only be available in select areas, and Google has yet to announce which neighborhoods are on its list.
AT&T is rolling out 1-gigabit U-verse with GigaPower service to parts of Austin this year, as well.
San Marcos-based Grande Communications was first to bring 1-gigabit Internet to Central Texas, making it available in February to about a quarter of the 75,000 Austin-area homes it services.
While AT&T, Google and Grande are all jumping on the 1-gigabit bandwagon, Time Warner Cable hasn’t committed to offering speeds that fast in Central Texas.
At 1 gigabit, a user could download 25 songs in 1 second, a TV show in 3 seconds and a high-definition movie in less than 36 seconds, according to data from AT&T.
Also Tuesday, Time Warner Cable announced a partnership with Boingo Wireless that will give Time Warner Cable subscribers free access to Internet hotspots at more than 100 airports and other sites nationwide, including Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.