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Cable executive claims there is no consumer demand for gigabit Internet

A Time Warner Cable executive has dismissed gigabit Internet connectivity, telling an audience there is no consumer demand for the technology.

Her statements fly in the face of FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, who is leading a national effort to establish a gigabit service in every state, and Google, which is busy installing a major test project for gigabit Internet service in Kansas City. Early reports say the high-speed Internet service is proving popular with consumers there.

Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference, Irene Esteves, Time Warner Cable’s chief financial officer, was dismissive of the impact Google Fiber is having on consumers, according to a report on The Verge.

”We’re in the business of delivering what consumers want, and to stay a little ahead of what we think they will want,“ she said when asked about the high Internet speeds delivered by Google’s Kansas City gigabit network. ”We just don’t see the need of delivering that to consumers.“

The Verge reported that Esteves seemed to think business customers are more likely to need that level of throughput and noted that Time Warner Cable is already competitive.

”We’re already delivering 1 gigabit, 10 gigabit-per-second to our business customers, so we certainly have the capability of doing it,” she said.

The executive claims that residential customers have thus far shown little interest in TWC’s high-level Internet tiers.

"A very small fraction of our customer base“ ultimately chooses those options, she said.

She did not address the high-cost of Time-Warner’s fast Internet service or its status in a recent FCC report that found the service generally in the worst category compared with competitors. Time-Warner, according to the FCC, delivered its advertised speed only 94 percent of the time. This was compared to Verizon’s FiOS, which delivered 118 percent faster service than promised.

”If Google finds the magic pill and finds applications that require that and develops a need for it, well terrific,“ Esteves added. ”We would build our product base in order to deliver that.“

Google’s Eric Schmidt clearly disagrees with the Time-Warner executive. The Verge reported that he classified his company’s high-speed fiber service as ”a real business“ rather than a mere experiment.