TWC relies on in-house engineers, some contractors for Maxx hub upgrades

Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) said it is mainly relying on its own TWC engineers to upgrade its hub sites as part of the company's efforts to roll out its TWC Maxx offering to two additional service areas, Greensboro and Wilmington, N.C. However, the company said it is also using some "additional contract resources" for the installation.

TWC spokesman Rich Ruggiero explained that the company is upgrading its hub sites to "improve reliability and add capacity where needed." He added that the work in some cases includes replacing the operator's cable modem termination system (CMTS), which is typically located in a cable company's headend or hub site.

Ruggiero declined to provide a breakdown of TWC's in-house versus contractor work ratio, as well as what the operator is spending on the upgrade effort.

TWC's upgrades serve to shine a light on the cable industry's general move toward IP-based networks and faster speeds as a way to stave off competition and respond to new market entrants like Google Fiber.

For TWC specifically, the company's work in North Carolina is part of its wider plans to bring its TWC Maxx service to 45 percent of its Internet customers nationwide. Ruggiero noted that TWC is using DOCSIS 3 technology for the upgrade. "By going all-digital, we're able to deliver these 300 Mbps speeds over our hybrid fiber-coax network," he said, adding that TWC also makes use of switched digital video (SDV) because it "frees up tremendous capacity."

TWC already offers the faster, more efficient service in Los Angeles, New York City and Austin, Texas, areas where the company said it is already seeing "customer satisfaction trending upward year over year." TWC is currently rolling out Maxx to San Antonio, areas of San Diego and Wilmington, and will begin work in Greensboro in September.

For TWC customers, the upgrades boost Internet speeds by a factor of six, and TV viewers will get additional storage and channel options.

Although TWC continues to roll out public Wi-Fi hotspots across the country, Ruggiero said that the company doesn't have anything to announce on the topic with its Greensboro and Wilmington efforts. In June, TWC said it expanded its outdoor Wi-Fi network to three new cities--Dallas and San Antonio, Texas, and Raleigh, N.C.--and said it now offers more than 100,000 TWC Wi-Fi hotspots across its national Wi-Fi network.

TWC's work on its network is notable considering Charter Communications is currently working to obtain regulatory approval for its  $56.7 billion bid to purchase the company.

For more:
- see this TWC release

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Charter issues M&A bond, part of $31B funding plan for TWC purchase
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