Comcast, TWC and Cablevision make friendly, team up for NYC-wide WiFi

Sean Hollister
S. Hollister|04.16.10

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Comcast, TWC and Cablevision make friendly, team up for NYC-wide WiFi
And Comcast makes three. Two years after Cablevision started rolling out hotspots in the Big Apple and less than a month after Time Warner joined it, Comcast has gotten buddy-buddy with the pair in their efforts to blanket New York City with WiFi. If you subscribe to any one of their data services, you now get free access to all three, and can use your existing login at any Optimum, Time Warner or Xfinity hotspot across the city. In a press release, Cablevision executive John Bickham said the agreement might be "the first of many." We wonder if by banding together, cable might one day compete with the telcos on wireless connectivity, the way they now do with home internet and television services. Still, the best laid plans... Full press release after the break.
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Cablevision, Comcast and Time Warner Cable Internet Customers Can Now Roam Free Across Three WiFi Networks

Agreement Between Major Cable Providers Extends Reach And Value Of Distinct New York-Area WiFi Deployments By Allowing Customers Free Access To All Three Networks

Free Cable WiFi Emerging As Valuable Enhancement For Customers As Demands For Mobile Data Increase

NEW YORK, April 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) today announced an agreement to allow their high-speed Internet customers to roam freely across the companies' respective WiFi networks at no additional charge, greatly expanding the reach and value of cable WiFi in the New York metropolitan area. Whether in Manhattan's Madison Square Park, areas of the Jersey Shore or in the Hamptons, high-speed Internet customers served by any of the companies can enjoy fast and free wireless Internet access on a full range of WiFi-enabled devices, including the iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and laptop computer.

The companies have deployed thousands of WiFi access points across the market, providing fast and free wireless Internet connections as a complement to broadband service as demand for mobile data continues to increase. Each access point today displays authentication options for all three WiFi services - Optimum WiFi, Time Warner Cable WiFi and Xfinity WiFi - allowing customers to use their own provider's sign-on process to get online.

"Cable providers interconnecting WiFi services so customers can roam freely across networks is an extremely meaningful and transformative development," said John Bickham, Cablevision's president of cable and communications. "This agreement – the first of its kind and, we believe, the first of many – combines the reach and the value of our respective WiFi deployments and delivers fast and free wireless Internet access that stretches across the market, at a time when consumer demand for mobile data is exploding."

"Our customers are purchasing devices that have WiFi built into them and increasingly want wireless broadband access anytime, anywhere," said Cathy Avgiris, SVP and GM of Communications and Data Services at Comcast. "With this partnership, we're excited to offer a great in-home and on-the-go Internet experience. As a result, our Xfinity Internet and High-Speed 2go customers can now connect and enjoy their devices in more locations in the tri-state area."

"This unique partnership is a win-win for our one million Road Runner customers in the NYC metro area, adding another dimension of value and convenience," said Howard Szarfarc, Executive Vice President of Time Warner Cable's NYC region.

The importance of WiFi as a fast and reliable way to access the Internet is becoming increasingly clear as WiFi-enabled devices continue to proliferate, most recently Apple's iPad. Apple announced earlier this month that it had already sold 85 million iPhone and iPod touch devices and 450,000 iPads, all enabled with WiFi.

"With WiFi connectivity forecast to be embedded in more than one billion mobile computer, phone and consumer electronics devices by 2012, this interconnection and free roaming agreement among the three leading cable operators in the New York metropolitan area represents a major breakthrough for cable broadband customers, extending wireless broadband connectivity from the home and business to thousands of WiFi access points throughout the region," said Berge Ayvazian, telecom industry analyst from Heavy Reading. "This historic agreement clearly makes the tri-state area the national leader in WiFi, an increasingly important distinction."
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