Cable operator Time Warner Inc. continued to press forward into a new service arena Wednesday, announcing plans to build a fiber optic network in San Diego and ask California regulators for permission to offer telephone service.
Time Warner said construction of the network, built to provide telephone, video conferencing and high-speed data transmission services, should be completed by 1994 and ready for customer use by 1995.
The project is the latest in a list of initiatives by Time Warner to expand its offerings toinclude the interactive and communications services that cable TV companies are expected to enter.
In Orlando, Fla., Time Warner has begun development of a system to provide the city with an array of interactive services.
On the telephone access front, Time Warner, in addition to competitive local access operations in Kansas City and Indianapolis, recently bought a 50% stake in MetroCom, an existing operator in Columbus, Ohio, and began a joint venture with Vision Cable, targetting the Charlotte, N.C., market.
On a broader scale, while Time Warner holds no cable franchise in San Diego, media analyst Edward Hatch sees an element of synergy from the company’s alliance with regional bell operating company U S West Inc., which was announced last month.
Although Pacific Telesis Group operates wireline telephone services in the region, U S West has held a cellular franchise in San Diego since 1986.
Salomon Bros. analyst Fred Moran says it is hard to gauge what the chances are that Time Warner will get regulatory approval in California. But, he adds, “This is one of several initial signs cable is positioning itself to provide a plethora a new services, including voice transmission.”