Prompted by the rollout of Google Fiber across Kansas City in the United States, broadband Internet subscribers have been clamouring for faster and cheaper plans from major ISPs who face little competition in the marketplace. According to the Chief Technology Officer of Time Warner Cable (TWC), Irene Esteves, customers apparently do not want or require the Gigabit speeds offered by Google Fiber.
According to The Verge, Esteves claimed that TWC has been delivering Gigabit connections to businesses for some time. However, residential customers have not been subscribing en masse to the top tier residential plans, offering download speeds of 50 Mbps. However, Esteves conceded that:
“If Google finds the magic pill and finds applications that require that and develops a need for it, well terrific.”
“We would build our product base in order to deliver that.”
This comes after comments in the Huffington Post from Michael K Powell, President and CEO of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, made in October 2012. Powell suggested that, in response to a book on the United States broadband industry The Fine Print, comparisons of the United States with nations that have access to faster internet connections are “an irrelevant exercise in bragging rights.”
Reactions to these comments have been highly critical of TWC and the broader Cable industry. Brad Reed from BGR suggested:
“That this attitude isn’t just consigned to one company but is apparently held by the entire industry indicates that the market for home broadband in the United States is horrendously uncompetitive and is in desperate need of a shakeup.”
“It goes without saying that the cable industry doesn’t fear such backlash because it knows consumers have nowhere else to go.”
Reflective of consumer sentiment towards TWC, Twitter user Dan GIllmor invoked an infamous bold prediction of a bygone era:
A modern version of fabled “no one will need more than 640k of memory”: no one needs gigabit Internet owl.li/i8LuP
— Dan Gillmor (@dangillmor) February 28, 2013
Digital Trends reported that TWC has made a meagre attempt to offer cheaper plans with marginally faster speeds. This has happened while Google Fiber continues its rollout across Kansas and Missouri, attracting new internet start-ups along the way
It remains to be seen how TWC responds to the future growth of Gigabit broadband services in the United States. However, if all indications are correct, then consumers won’t be holding their breath.