- Associated Press - Thursday, April 28, 2011

Time Warner Cable Inc.’s first-quarter net income rose as more people signed up for high-speed Internet connections, which the company says is becoming the most important service for consumers.

The New York-based company added 177,000 residential Internet customers _ more than the 159,000 expected _ ending the quarter with 9.6 million. Chief Executive Glenn Britt said the total number, including 346,000 business customers, surpassed 10 million after the quarter ended.

“High-speed data is quickly becoming the anchor product in the eyes of our customers,” Britt told analysts.

The company lost 66,000 residential video subscribers, in line with forecasts. Combined with business customers, it ended with 12.3 million video subscribers.

Net income rose 52 percent to $325 million, or 93 cents per share. Excluding one-time items, adjusted earnings came to $1.01 per share, beating the 97 cents per share expected by analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue rose 5 percent to $4.83 billion, also surpassing expectations for revenue of $4.79 billion.

The company said a mix of higher prices and customers buying higher-end products helped average revenue per user. Average video revenue rose 5 percent to $74.57 per customer, data revenue rose 6 percent to $44.68 and voice revenue rose 2 percent to $39.32.

Britt said that new technology was allowing it to improve the experience of video subscribers _ evidenced by the launch of its iPad application.

But he said the greater use of data by some could eventually lead to usage-based pricing, reiterating comments the company made earlier.

“Clearly, the volume of activity on the Internet is growing really fast,” he said. “To keep up with that there’s going to be more and more investment required. It’ll be natural, like everything else in our lives, that the people who use more will pay more and the people who use less will pay less.”

Shares rose 51 cents to $75.82 in morning trading Thursday.

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