Internet service speeds up
Time Warner Cable Inc. is boosting the speed for its standard Internet service.
Effective this month, the company is increasing maximum download speed from 10 Mbps to 15 Mbps, it announced Thursday.
The standard Internet service is the most popular option for customers.
The faster speeds begin automatically. Customers also can upgrade immediately by pushing the reset button on their modem or unplugging the power cord from the modem for 10 seconds, plugging it back in and then rebooting their computer.
Wind study receives funds
The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $4 million for wind energy development on Lake Erie. An announcement about what was called the first project of its kind in the U.S. was made by Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Avon Lake.
The funds will go to Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. It plans to install nine 3-megawatt direct-drive wind turbines on what are called “ice breaker monopile foundations” seven miles off the Cleveland coast.
Brown’s office said the Energy Department selected seven projects “that will accelerate the commercialization of innovative offshore wind technologies.”
Later, the Energy Department will select up to three projects aimed at achieving commercial operations by 2017. The projects will be eligible for up to $47 million over four years.
CARS & TRUCKS
GM revamps 2014 lineup
General Motors is giving its big pickups a much-needed makeover. The company unveiled new versions of its top-selling Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra on Thursday. The 2014 models will go on sale by early spring or late summer.
The models enter a market where truck sales are growing after a five-year slump. And GM’s current trucks are looking dated, hurting sales. The current trucks, last revamped in 2007, are the oldest on the market and have fallen behind newer models from Ford and Chrysler.
Porsche reduces labor hours
Volkswagen AG’s Porsche sports-car unit moved to shore up its industry-leading profit margins by cutting the number of labor hours required to produce a vehicle.
The 3,300 workers at its car plant in the Zuffenhausen district of Stuttgart, Germany, will work 34-hour weeks by mid-2013, an hour less than at present, while producing the same number of vehicles, Porsche said in a statement.
Mortgage rates at 3.3 percent
Average interest rates on fixed mortgages fell this week to near-record lows, providing more incentive for Americans to buy homes and refinance. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan dipped to 3.32 percent. That’s below last week’s rate of 3.34 percent and just above the 3.31 percent, the lowest rate on records dating to 1971. The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage declined to 2.66 percent from 2.67 percent last week. The record low is 2.63 percent. The rate on the 30-year loan has remained below 4 percent all year.
U.S. wholesale prices decline
Cheaper gasoline drove down a measure of wholesale prices in November for the second straight month, a sign inflation remains in check. The producer price index fell 0.8 percent last month, the steepest drop since May, the Labor Department said. That follows a 0.2 percent decline in October. Gas prices fell last month by the most in more than three years. Food prices, however, rose by the most in nearly two years, pushed higher by costlier beef and vegetables. Beef prices jumped 8.2 percent, the biggest gain in 4½ years. Vegetable prices rose nearly 12 percent.
Compiled from staff and wire reports