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Cable Industry Provides Cross-Carrier Wi-Fi
'CableWi-Fi' Initiative Involves 50,000 Hotspots
by Karl Bode 01:57PM Monday May 21 2012 Tipped by AndyDufresne See Profile
Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox Communications, and Time Warner Cable this week announced they'll be partnering further on offering Wi-Fi for free to the companies' subscribers, allowing users of any of the cable operators the ability to access hotspots owned by any other participating ISP. According to the combined company press statement, the initiative will be called "CableWifi" (that will also be the SSID) and involve over 50,000 hotspots that users can access with credentials from any participating cable ISP.

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Over the last few years, Cablevision has taken the lead over the last few years when it comes to offering subscribers free Wi-Fi as an added perk, an initiative Comcast and Time Warner Cable grew more involved in starting in 2010 -- in some instances actually sharing physical infrastructure.

"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."

Numerous cable companies claim they had originally planned to build their own cellular networks to offer wireless service, but all of them found that competing in wireless (particularly thanks to the Verizon/AT&T duopoly) was a steeper climb than they had anticipated. Most of the companies have since offloaded their acquired spectrum to Verizon Wireless -- and recently announced a cross-marketing deal that involves them bundling Verizon Wireless services.

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25139889

join:2011-10-25
Toledo, OH

TWC

did this a long time ago in Texas. They later killed the idea when TWC in most areas became Comcast. I am surprised they haven't teamed up with Bingo or iPass yet for roaming $$$$$.
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Online DSL
·Comcast

Re: TWC

"most"?? I wouldn't call swapping markets (TWC got Dallas, Comcast got Houston) "most areas became Comcast". Though I don't think that the swap did anything to consolidate either company's markets (the Golden Triangle area is still TWC...heck, Houston is the only Comcast market in Texas).

dennismurphy
Put me on hold? I'll put YOU on hold
Premium
join:2002-11-19
Parsippany, NJ
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

The one thing I've missed since switching to FiOS ....

The one thing I've missed since switching to FiOS has been Cablevision (Optimum Online)'s OOL WiFi service.

It's just about everywhere I go in NJ/NY. An excellent benefit/perk for cable customers.

Verizon supposedly has a Wi-Fi service, but you need Windows-based client software, and that's a non-starter for me. I just use my MiFi LTE device in that case.

Good stuff though - Cablevision really offers a superior (Internet and phone) product, and to say they've blanketed NJ & NY with WiFi is an understatement. A job well done.
axus

join:2001-06-18
Washington, DC

Re: The one thing I've missed since switching to FiOS ....

Looks like Michael Powell wasn't completely wrong That's a pretty nice perk, what are the drawbacks of WiFi compared to a cell phone data plan?

Bootes
Premium
join:2005-01-28
New York, NY

Re: The one thing I've missed since switching to FiOS ....

said by axus:

Looks like Michael Powell wasn't completely wrong That's a pretty nice perk, what are the drawbacks of WiFi compared to a cell phone data plan?

Cell phones still have better coverage and can be used well in a moving vehicle. The Wifi is great if you're sitting stationary somewhere.
majortom1029

join:2006-10-19
Lindenhurst, NY
kudos:1
said by axus:

Looks like Michael Powell wasn't completely wrong That's a pretty nice perk, what are the drawbacks of WiFi compared to a cell phone data plan?

Wifi has no data caps. if your phone is 3g its faster, if 4g then 4g is faster then wireless (as of right now since cablevision limits their ap's to 15/3)

Bootes
Premium
join:2005-01-28
New York, NY
Verizon WiFi is terrible. Requiring Windows makes it useless for me, but I haven't even seen any hotspots they offer that aren't free anyways. Optimum WiFi is the one thing making me consider switching back to Optimum.
25139889

join:2011-10-25
Toledo, OH
didn't VZ have Wi-Fi in the city before and scrapped the project?
davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:2

Cable Industry Provides Cross-Carrier Wi-Fi

They really need to work with their business subscribers about creating more WiFi locations. Discounts, no cost equipment installation, or added services at no charge may be needed to convince business owners to create guest access. I know my community would have at least a 100% increase in hotspots if the cable companies could figure out how to get the business owners to support it.
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Online DSL
·Comcast

Re: Cable Industry Provides Cross-Carrier Wi-Fi

Agreed. Or just start handing out routers like Illiad (Free.fr) is doing with their STBs...the cable modem is a wireless router with an SSID that's accessible by cable customers, is sectioned off of the rest of the network, and doesn't impact the speed of the business user when guests are online.

To be fair though, the equipment that CV has beployed in the NYC area is high-end stuff, such that they can offer something like 15 Mbps down, 2 Mbps up over WiFi reliably (wish TWC or Comcast did that in their areas).
BosstonesOwn

join:2002-12-15
Wakefield, MA

Re: Cable Industry Provides Cross-Carrier Wi-Fi

Wont happen, new security standards for most business does not allow this to happen at all.
davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:2

Re: Cable Industry Provides Cross-Carrier Wi-Fi

What security standards do not allow this WiFi common log in?
BosstonesOwn

join:2002-12-15
Wakefield, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

Re: Cable Industry Provides Cross-Carrier Wi-Fi

Basic security standards for the "business". Basically any wifi that is not protected by 2 forms of auth is supposed to be physically segmented off of the network and broken apart by a firewall.

It's something to do with protecting employee info. I forget the actual law # but I remember 2 years ago going over it and realizing it would cost us almost 13 grand for just the hardware.
--
"It's always funny until someone gets hurt......and then it's absolutely friggin' hysterical!"
davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:2
The problem with just handing out WiFi capable routers is that many business manager or owners will stick it in any old spot they have with no thought to signal coverage. A good installation that provides adequate signal coverage for a particular structure may require multiple access points. I would rather the owners pay the wholesale costs for equipment and have any labor cost at no charge. A good installation technician who can run cabling to multiple APs, set signal levels, and check coverage is the most costly element. And it is the one with the most variables.
elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY
Ouch. Read the reports. Hot Spot Squatting is on the rise. The last thing any business wants is to add a public hotspot. They have to use a hook at my local coffee spot.

If these guys keep lowering caps, you will have people driving all over the place to get their fix and if this correlates to public businesses this can mean either MORE business or squatting. Depending upon the location this may be good or bad.

And what's to stop these guys for charging for this..You know that's coming.
davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:2

Re: Cable Industry Provides Cross-Carrier Wi-Fi

There are hardware, software, and communication ways to deal with squatters. Yes, you can connect here. No, we do not have any power outlets in the customer area that work. The manager at one coffeehouse disconnected the electrical outlets for one of the most popular areas of seating in the establishment. It was near the order pick up area. The squatters needed electricity, but they would have to go away from the self-serve coffee and drink refill areas to get it. Some days there is no power at any outlets in the customer seating area. Squatters like reliable sources of electricity and she is not going to give it to them. I have read about sophisticated electrical control systems that can be programmed to stop or start the flow of electricity to outlets based on a schedule the
owner can set up. No outlet electricity during busy times when table turn over needs to be as fast as possible. Electrical power available during slack times.

I think one of the reasons the cable industry is doing this is the ridiculous AT&T and Verizon positions that businesses that are provisioned with a typical 3.0Mbps DSL circuit are really offering a great WiFi experience for a business's many customers. AT&T and Verizon have got some minor positive PR for their WiFi programs. The cable companies want some of that also, and know that if they do it correctly, they can probably get even more positive public relations out of WiFi sponsorship. Think about an 8 bonded channel down, 4 bonded channel up, DOCSIS 3.0 connection compared to a 3.0Mbps down, 0.375Mbps up DSL connection for a 100 seat coffee house. All else being equal, which is going to deliver a better WiFi experience?

Could they charge for it? Yes. But here's something I think they are looking at. It is a big giant advertising campaign for the cable industry, with the local cable company's logo displayed somehow alongside the national WiFi HotSpot logo. Most likely it is less expensive than other ways of trying to make a despised industry look good. They also want to try to get more people who do not subscribe to cable broadband, in areas with existing cable plant, to sign up. If you can support a bunch of 100 seat coffee and sandwich shops, certainly you must be able to provide good service to my home.
majortom1029

join:2006-10-19
Lindenhurst, NY
kudos:1
They do not need business owners approval at all. The AP's are on the poles connected to the HFC network. They run on their own frequency on the coax that is different then the cablemodem and stb frequencies.

Its just a matter of the cablecompany taking the AP and hanging it on the pole.
davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:2

Re: Cable Industry Provides Cross-Carrier Wi-Fi

I have seen that and one light one from Ruckus Wireless that can hang on the cables between poles. The problem with that setup is that there is less of a environment of concern about the AP not working. Who do you report a bad AP to? By engaging businesses, you can have a point of contact person who can take note of the failed AP, from a customer commenting about it, and report it to the cable company for repair. Also, exterior only APs do not necessarily provide good interior coverage. I think both exterior and interior APs need to be used to get comprehensive service in an area. But if there were no cooperating businesses, you are correct, I would rather have an exterior only AP than nothing.
bklass
Premium
join:2012-02-06
Canada
kudos:2

Not a surprise

Cartel behaviour ... this is the "free market" in operation. Isn't Verizon trying to ditch its open access spectrum blocks ... made possible by cableco's selling back their closed spectrum to Verizon. In return? Bundling their Wi-Fi with Verizon services. I thought the only modicum of competition we were supposed to have in North America was between cable and telco's ... how can there be competition when all these companies are in bed with each other?
davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:2

Re: Not a surprise

The cable companies that thought they were going to build cellular networks or fixed based wireless broadband got a rude awakening. In order to get the geographic coverage that would satisfy customers enough to make an adequate profit, they were going to have to spend an enormous amount of money. In order to provide good customer service for wireless, they would have to spend another mountain of money they did not have. They quickly decided to find a legal way to get rid of the spectrum that might be profitable for them. The solution is not beneficial to the average cable subscriber, but it avoids a fight with stockholders over capital spending.
majortom1029

join:2006-10-19
Lindenhurst, NY
kudos:1

1 recommendation

This has NOTHING to do with the verizon deal. Cablevision has been doing this for 3 years or so . They have been sharing the wifi with comcast and timewarner for 2 of those years. This deal ads brighthouse to the deal and combines all the ssids into one.

Cablevision who started this is Not in that Verizon deal. Cablevision started this as a perk for their customers that verizon does not have.
bklass
Premium
join:2012-02-06
Canada
kudos:2

Re: Not a surprise

it says in the article that they're planning on offering this bundled with verizon cellular service
davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:2

Re: Not a surprise

The bundling with Verizon cellular services is not necessary to get the CableWiFi service. If you are a cable broadband service subscriber, you will get log in access to CableWiFi cooperating WiFi hotspots.
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY

never worked

the cablecos have been advertising inter-op login for wifi but it has never worked. even if you use userid@cablecohere.com as the login id...

believe it when I see it..
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink

Re: never worked

While this round might actually work, and the access speeds are far superior to that found via Boingo / Starbucks et al, who actually uses Cable Wifii?

In our town, where they're "spending $15 million" to deploy thousands of access points, the signal is usually not close enough or strong enough to be relevant.
davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:2

1 edit

Re: never worked

You are confusing a Santa Monica municipal WiFi project, paid for by municipal tax revenue, with a private consortium's efforts to coordinate access to some private APs used by private businesses that have cable company supplied broadband.

As far as coverage and usable signals, the only city wide municipal WiFi, that I know of, that seems to have good indoor and outdoor coverage is Wireless Minneapolis »www.usiwireless.com/service/minn···dule.htm. But they use Ruckus wireless customer premise equipment modem to capture the signal from the outdoor APs and re-transmit it, on Ethernet cable, indoors. They explicitly state to subscribers not to expect good indoor signal strength if you do not use the Ruckus equipment. You can take the Ethernet signal and connect it to a WiFi capable router of you buy separately on your own.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink

Re: never worked

said by davidhoffman:

You are confusing a Santa Monica municipal WiFi project, paid for by municipal tax revenue, with a private consortium's efforts to coordinate access to some private APs used by private businesses that have cable company supplied broadband.

No, I'm not confusing anything, but I can see how you might.
Its true that Santa Monica has spent untold millions developing both a WiFi and two generations of fiber ring, both of which are inaccessible to residents and most businesses.

But I was referring to Time Warner's WiFi network.

»articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/10···20110910

bobgwen

join:2001-07-07
Bartow, FL

Comcast

Right now it looks like all of Comcast's hotspots are in the New York area and that is it according to their map. I assume they will be building it out soon? Of course since this will be for any cable customer, I guess it doesn't matter if it is Comcast's or not.
--
brought to you by Carl's Jr.
Esteban Colberto for President of Cuba

jonathan2200

@verizon.net

Bright House Tampa Bay Hotspots

Bright House has quietly been putting WiFi Hotspots all over town. I notice them being added to existing overhead coax lines in nearly every part of town.
tim tim tim

join:2010-08-14
Lutz, FL
kudos:2

Re: Bright House Tampa Bay Hotspots

»brighthouse.com/tampa-bay/shop/internet/wifi

The tampa area is very covered.. Pretty much all of the beach has wifi at this point, all of bayshore and most of the other busy areas around the city.

Its actually pretty good too, I am able to stream music from it at over 300 feet away in my vehicle with no buffering and surf the web too. Its not as fast as a wired home connection but its nice for what it is though