Beaumont, Texas leads the way as telecommunications services test market

Consumers interested in shaping the future of their cable TV could do worse than to move to Beaumont, Texas, where competitors like Time Warner Cable and AT&T, usually so cagey about what information they reveal about upcoming products, strut the new stuff they think they'd like to bring to market.

It was in Beaumont, for instance, that TWC tested metered bandwidth, a service that hit controversy when it moved into the real world. On a more positive side, the MSO--the biggest cable provider in South Texas--also tested a digital IPG in Beaumont that's expected to hit the broader market soon.

Coincidentally, at least according to an AT&T spokesperson, the telco did its own testing in the town because it was "a good representative of our markets."

So why do big companies choose this mid-sized (116,000 or so residents) Gulf Coast community to try out wares they're usually desperate to keep secret from the general public? Stability.

"There isn't a big fluctuation in residents," said Time Warner spokesman Gary Underwood. "We can get accurate data."

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