Major U.S. cable companies join forces on WiFi

On Monday, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable announced that they will allow each other's high-speed Internet customers to access their metro WiFi networks, totaling over 50,000 hotspots.                            


To simplify access, a new network name, "CableWiFi", has been created for subscribers to use when accessing the WiFi hotspots outside their home market. Bright House Networks (Syracuse, N.Y., USA) and Cablevision (Bethpage, N.Y., USA) launched "CableWiFi" alongside their branded WiFi networks in the New York City area and central Florida earlier this month. Over the next few months, the "CableWiFi" network name will be added by each of the cable companies to their branded WiFi hotspots.


"This effort adds great value to our high speed Internet customers by providing free wireless Internet access on all of their WiFi enabled devices in our markets and additional areas across the country," says Nomi Bergman, president of Bright House Networks.


When traveling outside their home markets, high-speed Internet subscribers of the participating companies will look for the "CableWiFi" network and through a sign-on process connect using the same credentials as when accessing their providers' WiFi networks. In the coming months, users will be able to have their devices auto-connect to the Internet when located in any of the "Cable WiFi" hotspots.


"We believe that WiFi is a superior approach to mobile data, and that cable providers are best positioned to build the highest-capacity national network offering customers fast and reliable Internet connections when away from their home or business broadband service," said Kristin Dolan, Cablevision's senior executive vice president of product management and marketing. "We've built an extensive WiFi network in our own service area, and see real value and potential in other leading providers joining with us to extend that connectivity to major markets across the country."


The participating cable operators currently offer more than 50,000 WiFi hotspots located in New York City and the surrounding Tri-State area, Los Angeles, Tampa, Orlando, and Philadelphia. The operators plan to expand into several additional cities. The network has both indoor and outdoor WiFi hotspots located in popular, high traffic locations, such as shopping districts, cafes, malls, arenas, restaurants, parks and beaches.


In early 2010, Cablevision, Comcast (Tupelo, Miss., USA) and Time Warner Cable (New York) entered into an agreement allowing their customers in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Connecticut to access WiFi hotspots offered by each operator in these areas.


"Mobility is an increasingly important part of our Xfinity services product roadmap. WiFi technology, coupled with our agreements with Verizon Wireless, are two significant ways we are executing on our strategy to deliver the best in- and out-of-home communications experience for our customers," says Dave Watson, COO of Comcast Cable.

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