WiFi networks being deployed by cable companies increased dramatically in 2013, setting up MSOs to be leading low-cost providers of nomadic broadband data service. Cable customers now can access free WiFi in in hotspots that are strategically located in high-traffic areas such as restaurants, malls, sports arenas, parks in a growing number of cities through roaming agreements that were signed throughout the year.
Additionally, cable giants have found an additional revenue stream in unlicensed spectrum, offering WiFi to non-customers for a fee.
“Cable is a growing part of public WiFi development. These hotspots … are quickly becoming an integral part of the U.S. communications network,” wrote John Solit, spokesman for the National Cable and Telecommunications Association.
In June, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks announced their combined WiFi network exceeded more than 150,000 hotspots in major cities across the nation, which was triple the size when “CableWiFi” was originally deployed June 2012.
In July, Time Warner Cable expanded its WiFi infrastructure in New York City, with more than 1,700 active WiFi hotspots in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, and more than 1,000 new WiFi hotspots in Manhattan. Nearly 10,000 more hotspots are projected to be added across New York City by the end of 2013.
In November, Cox Communications announced that its customers will be able to access nearly 200,000 WiFi hot with the integration with Time Warner Cable’s hotspots.