updated 12/14/2004 9:10:03 PM ET 2004-12-15T02:10:03

As part of an ongoing race in the cable industry, Time Warner Cable is raising the speed of its broadband Internet offerings to 5 and 8 million bits per second without increasing prices.

The higher speeds are available in New York City starting Tuesday and will roll out to the rest of the country in January.

Road Runner, the company's broadband service, has been running on speeds of 3 mbps and its premium service on 6 mbps _ generally faster than the competing DSL, or digital subscriber line, technology but a tad slower than some cable operators' offerings.

Cablevision Systems Corp., Cox Communications Inc., Comcast Corp. and RCN Corp. all raised speeds earlier this year -- without price rises -- to between 4 mbps and 7 mbps.

Time Warner hadn't increased its speeds since September 2003.

In order to woo new users and prevent current ones from defecting to DSL, cable operators have been busy trying to outdo competitors.

Revenue from broadband and other new services such as video-on-demand and high-definition TV are becoming more important as revenue growth from cable TV slows.

Broadband Internet business in particular has been highly coveted since it yields better profit margins.

Despite the competition, cable operators generally have been resistant to slash prices, preferring instead to raise speeds or offer additional services -- free music or video mail, for instance.

Time Warner Cable, the second-largest cable company in the country, has 10.9 million customers in all. Its broadband customers number 3.7 million.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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