Time Warner Cable touts major wireless backhaul milestone

Time Warner Cable is becoming a growing force in wireless, building its business of providing backhaul for wireless towers as well as expanding its own Wi-Fi hotspot footprint.

The nation's second-largest cable MSO recently said that it is now delivering backhaul service to more than 10,000 cell towers. LightReading suggested this could make Time Warner Cable the first cable operator to reach that milestone.

Time Warner Cable Business Class (TWCBC) has been providing cell tower backhaul service since 2006 and began constructing and activating towers in 2008. The company said it currently works with six mobile network operators. 

TWC's growth in towers helped it score $61 million in wholesale transport revenue for the second quarter of 2013, an improvement of 38.6 percent from the $44 million it attracted one year earlier. Wholesale transport revenue is part of TWC's business services unit, which reported a 22 percent year-over-year improvement in revenues as it noted a record $565 million for 2013's second quarter.

"Business services revenue growth was primarily due to increases in high-speed data and voice subscribers and growth in cell tower backhaul revenue," said Time Warner Cable in its earnings announcement, released earlier this month.

At that time, the company also disclosed that it is continuing to make progress with its Wi-Fi network, with recent aggressive deployment in New York City driving up its total Wi-Fi hotspot count to 19,000. The company's website notes its customers can gain access to more than 150,000 TWC WiFi and partner hotspots across the country, including 100,000 Wi-Fi hotspots operated by the CableWiFi partnership, which also includes Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Comcast and Cox Communications.

Nonetheless, FierceCable reported that the second quarter overall presented challenges to TWC's core cable MSO businesss. The company lost 191,000 video subscribers and saw growth in high-speed Internet--once its hottest product--slow to 8,000 net subscriber additions in during 2013's second quarter. Time Warner Cable also shed 56,000 voice customers during the quarter.

Time Warner Cable is also part of a  joint technology venture with Verizon Wireless' (NYSE:VZ), Comcast, Bright House and Cox, which was created last year as part of Verizon's $3.9 billion purchase of 20 MHz of nationwide AWS spectrum from the cable companies. However, it's still unclear what the joint venture is actually working on.

For more:
- see this Time Warner Cable release
- see this Light Reading article

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