Hawaiian Telcom to serve up 500 Mbps consumer broadband service

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Hawaiian Telcom (Nasdaq: HCOM) is the latest incumbent telco to jump on the higher broadband speed bandwagon with the debut of a new 500/50 Mbps tier.

Set to go live next month, the telco will also offer additional speed tiers of 100 and 300 Mbps to residential customers. It said it will offer even higher speeds to area businesses.

The three new tiers are priced competitively: $95 a month for 100 Mbps, $200 for 300 Mbps and $300 for 500 Mbps. All of these new tiers include a wireless gateway, security software and access to 24/7 technical support. 

Today, Hawaiian Telcom offers standalone broadband speeds: 7, 11, 15, 20, 25 and 50 Mbps. When purchased as a standalone offering, the lowest 7 Mbps tier costs $25 a month, while the 50 Mbps tier cost $79.95 a month for a year.

Customers that bundled broadband with voice and/or its IPTV offering got a discount and it's likely the service provider will offer similar promotions with the new speed tiers.

"We've invested $125 million in our next-generation fiber network and systems and there is more to come," said Eric K. Yeaman, Hawaiian Telcom's president and CEO, in a release.

The service provider has set an aggressive timeline with its overall broadband rollout.

During an investor conference last June, Robert Reich, CFO of Hawaiian Telcom, said its ultimate goal is to equip a total of 240,000 households with 25 Mbps and IPTV. Similar to AT&T's (NYSE: T) U-verse platform, Hawaiian Telcom had favored a hybrid copper/fiber-based FTTN (fiber-to-the-node) architecture. It is currently rolling out IPTV and 25 Mbps broadband services throughout the island of Oahu. 

Brian Tanner, a spokesman for Hawaiian Telcom, told FierceTelecom that while the initial broadband strategy employed FTTN, they have moved more towards a fiber to the curb (FTTC) strategy. 

"We are pulling fiber past the end user, and then only drop fiber to the home on a success-based effort when we get a call that a customer wants to subscribe to service," he said. 

The combination of its 25 Mbps and higher 100, 300 and 500 Mbps tiers will enable it to take a big chunk of market share from the state's incumbent cable MSO Oceanic Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), whose current highest broadband speed offering is 100 Mbps.

For more:
- see the release

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Updated article on Feb. 25 with information about its FTTC strategy, corrected the information about its overall broadband and IPTV target goals, and pricing of the new tiers.