Cable companies, which backed out of the cell phone world, are increasing their presence in Wi-Fi. One example, Time Warner Cable is expanding its Wi-Fi infrastructure in New York City, with more than 1,700 active Wi-Fi hotspots in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, and adding more than 1,000 new Wi-Fi hotspots in Manhattan in mid-July. By the end of this year, nearly 10,000 more hotspots will be added across New York City.
Time Warner provides Wi-Fi at no additional cost to its customers and on a pay as you go basis to non-subscribers at more than 75,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Users connect to a TWC Wi-Fi hotspot by using an app available in Google Play and the Apple App Store.
Cox Business, an arm of Cox Cable, is making Wi-Fi available at hospitality venues across its national footprint later this summer.
“A seamless wireless Internet experience is one of the most critical elements of a positive hotel stay,” said Jeff Adelmann, vice president of product development and management for Cox Business.
Cox Business engineers and technicians design and install a wireless network with Cisco Service Provider Wi-Fi Solution to provide Internet access in all parts of the property. The Cox Hospitality Wi-Fi service includes continuous monitoring of the Cisco solution.
Cox Business has been offering business-grade Wi-Fi in hotels in a portion of its footprint for several years, including some of the largest hotels in Las Vegas.
Cable Companies Offer Wi-Fi Roaming
Major cable companies have already banded together to provide Wi-Fi roaming for their customers. Time Warner, Comcast, Bright House Networks, and Optimum cable all allow their cable modem subscribers to roam on each other’s cable Wi-Fi networks just by selecting the “CableWiFi” service on their smartphone, tablet or computer.
“These inter-company network-sharing arrangement s are an early step by the big cable operators to provide a shadow wireless national network for VoIP and Internet connectivity, both complementing and competing with traditional cellular service providers” said Jonathan Kramer, a telecommunications attorney and wireless engineer in Los Angeles.
Comcast’s Wi-Fi strategy currently includes two approaches. The first is the inclusion of tens of thousands of Xfinity Wi-Fi access points in the CableWiFi Alliance, which enables Xfinity Internet customers access to more than 150,000 indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi hotspots in more than a dozen major cities across the country through the “CableWiFi” SSID. The second is the launch of a home-based, neighborhood hotspot initiative.
Comcast’s home-based wireless gateway broadcasts two Wi-Fi signals. By default, one signal is securely configured for the private use of the home subscriber. The second is a neighborhood “xfinitywifi” network signal that can be shared. This creates an extension of the Xfinity Wi-Fi network and will allow visiting Xfinity Internet subscribers to sign in and connect using their own usernames and passwords. Currently 100,000 of these gateways are in place.
The National Cable and Telecommunications Association wrote in its July 4th blog that the number of cable Wi-Fi hotspots is now 150,000 nationwide.
“Cable is a growing part of public Wi-Fi development. These hotspots … are quickly becoming an integral part of the U.S. communications network,” wrote John Solit, NCTA spokesman. “To put it in perspective, there are 10 times more cable Wi-Fi hotspots in America than there are Starbucks hotspots. Cable Wi-Fi hotspots are used by consumers not only to provide access to broadband when they’re on the go, but also to help manage their wireless accounts by offloading usage onto Wi-Fi when possible.”
Netherland Cable Cos. Launch, Share Wi-Fi Networks
Cable companies worldwide are expanding into Wi-Fi service. One example is a Netherlands-based cable company, Ziggo, which has begun a national rollout with 65,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in The Hague, with plans to expand access to almost 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots by the end of August.
“For many years, Ziggo clients have been using our products in the comfort of their own homes, where they have been able to fully enjoy our service offerings. We now want to provide this as a mobile experience,” said Pieter Vervoort, vice president, Consumer Products & Innovation at Ziggo. “We are currently working on several new services that will be geared to the ‘Ziggo WifiSpots’ network.”
Ziggo also plans to combine Wi-Fi networks with cable company UPC, according to Dutch News, with testing beginning this month.