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Time Warner Announces Road Runner High-Speed Internet

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TWC News: Time Warner Announces Road Runner High-Speed Internet
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NY1 News this week unveils the new NY1 website, with improved features including searchable archives and video-on-demand, featuring our exclusive News On Demand custom newscast tool. The relaunch was announced last Tuesday in conjunction with Time Warner Cable's new Road Runner high-speed cable modem service. NY1's Rebecca Spitz covered the announcement and filed the following report.

Chances are, you're already familiar with Time Warner's famous Road Runner cartoon character.

Now the company is introducing the Road Runner for the millennium: a high-speed Internet access service provider, named after the bird with the lightning legs.

"People like the Internet," says Barry Rosenblum, President of Time Warner Cable of New York City. "They're used to playing with it and being on it. The only frustration they have is that it's just not fast enough."

A normal Internet connection uses a conventional telephone line which, because it's so narrow, downloads information very slowly.

Road Runner uses the cable made for your TV; it's a much wider line so it can bring users the Internet about 50 times faster than they're used to.

"We've eliminated all the hassles of the Internet," says Joe DiGeso, General Manager of Road Runner in New York City. "You don't have to move your phone line over, you don't have to dial in, you don't have to wait to get on-line. It's there, waiting for you."

And the cable modem's fast connection means users can get high quality audio and video right out of their home computers.

NY1 News, which is also owned by Time Warner Cable, will provide local news, information and video clips for the Road Runner service, in addition to its existing base of users on the Internet. The NY1 website has been redesigned to take advantage of Road Runner's download speed.

The bundling of cable TV and online services is a growing trend among media companies with an eye to the future. Road Runner has already rolled out in other cities across the country, with more than 350,000 subscribers on-line.

Time Warner's president, Richard Parsons, says Road Runner will catch on here in the city.

"Everywhere you go where the service is in place, you hear people rave about it," says Parsons. "The customer satisfaction surveys are in the 95 percent range. Once people have Road Runner, they can't live without it."

The problem is, for a while, some New Yorkers may have to.

Despite the demand for fast Internet service, Time Warner is planning a careful rollout for Road Runner. It may be 12 to 18 months before the whole city has access.

That could lead some customers to seek other options for high speed Internet access, such as DSL phone lines. However, industry watchers say people will probably wait.

"Time Warner already has that wire going into people's houses," says Don Willmott, Online Editor for PC Magazine. "I think people may be inclined to stick with the brand they know, even if it means waiting several months or even up to a year to make that big leap."

And the company is betting that it can ride Road Runner into the future.

-Rebecca Spitz

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