Friday, May 2, 2008

Time Warner Telecom (merged with Xspedius)

Company Overview: Headquartered in Littleton, Colo., Time Warner Telecom (TWT) has only been around for a relatively short amount of time compared to some of its competitors, like AT&T. They’re the business division of Time Warner Cable, which provides Internet services to homes, etc. Chairman, President and CEO Larissa L. Herda is at the helm at TWT with about 2,800 employees.

TWT provides managed network services, specializing providing integrated local lines, Internet, and long distance services.TWT is working hard to solidify itself among businesses in the vast telecom market, and consumers want to know if this will spell out deals.

Time Warner Telecom’s site says their “IP backbone architecture consists of multiple, diverse optical circuits with a core network operating at OC-48 speeds and some peripheral locations connected via OC-12s. Time Warner Telecom's IP backbone is built with redundancy at the local, regional, and national levels.” TWT actually owns its own networks, which helps cut costs down for the customer.

According to their website, over the 12 month span between June 2006-July 2007, they provided nearly 100% packet delivery and their latency never went over 45ms. Their SLA promises they’ll to restore service within 2-4 hours of downtime, offer 99.99% data delivery, all while providing a latency of 50ms. It says nothing about speed guarantees. In practice, they never give you 1544k, either.

Another thing to keep in mind is that their network is full of cable users. They run their T1 over a network designed for Cable modem users. What kinds of speed can you expect? Plus, outages are frequent, and the connections rarely have high performance, in terms of speed, that their SLA spells out.

TWT’s competitive prices are cheaper than most bandwidth providers. They offer competitive pricing with term discounts up to 20%. You should expect a price range of about $410-$545 for voice T1 depending on whether you sign a 2 or 3 year contract. Their tech support is also competent. They offer prompt 24 hour customer service.

The Good: Good customer service and a decent network, all for a cheap price. Their voice T1 is costs almost half of everyone else’s price.

The Bad: Local lines, Internet, and long distance services are all under one bill, though billing may take time to get back to you if you have any problems. They didn’t have online billing until recently. Overall online support isn’t very hot, actually. Their FAQ is non-existent to very limited.

The Bottom Line: Time Warner Telecom is a decent service at very good prices. Tech support and customer service is satisfactory, but again they’re a smaller company so they may not have the staff needed to provide help efficiently. Also, nowhere in Time Warner’s SLA does it mention a speed guarantee, and we found the internet to be sluggish at peak times. It is also primarily a network for use by residential cable customers, so their ability to deliver true business class services is not as it should be.