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Comcast Engaged in Free Wi-Fi Trial
Working with Cablevision on Wi-Fi trial in New Jersey
by Karl Bode 12:56PM Friday Jan 30 2009
Broadband Reports has learned that Comcast is engaged in trials that may (or may not) result in the company offering Comcast customers free Wi-Fi. According to sources within Comcast, the cable giant has been studying Cablevision's free Wi-Fi operations with great interest, and today launched a technical trial offering Wi-Fi service near NJ Transit commuter rail stations throughout the New Jersey region. According to the source, users are required to sign into the service by entering their Comcast.net usernames and passwords before they are allowed to access the Internet via the Wi-Fi Hot Zones.

We're reviewing all aspects of wireless data networks and gauging user interest as a value-added service to Comcast High-Speed Internet
-Comcast
Comcast spokesperson Mary Nell Westbrook confirmed the trial. "We're reviewing all aspects of wireless data networks and gauging user interest as a value-added service to Comcast High-Speed Internet," says Westbrook. "Comcast Wi-Fi is a limited local trial -- a beta test service that is available at no additional charge to existing Comcast Internet customers," she says.

Both Cablevision and Comcast confirmed to me that the two companies were collaborating on the deployment of Wi-Fi technology. "Comcast conducted some side-by-side learnings with Cablevision as part of their launch of their Optimum Wi-Fi service," says Westbrook. Cablevision spokesman Jim Maiella confirmed the collaboration, but didn't offer additional specifics.

Westbrook makes clear that while the two companies worked together on technical tests, the Comcast and Cablevision services in New Jersey will remain entirely separate, though there will apparently be some gear cohabitation. "A Comcast customer cannot access any of the Optimum WiFi Hot Zones," notes Westbrook. "For the trial, our services are both available at all of the locations that are included -- generally NJ Transit commuter rail stations -- but the two services are offered separately."

Given this is an early technical trial, no product launch dates have been announced, though our source tells us the trial is scheduled to run until late December of this year. Comcast is far from hashing out marketing specifics concerning the trial, so there's no word yet on non-subscriber pricing or usage restrictions. Cablevision likewise isn't commenting on when Wi-Fi will be officially available in New Jersey, we assume a co-habitation agreement simply extends commuter availability of their existing Wi-Fi footprint while users cross Comcast territory.

Cablevision announced their own Wi-Fi ambitions last May, saying deployment will take roughly two years to complete, and will cost Cablevision about $100 per customer (Cablevision has 3.1 million cable customers, 2.4 million of whom have broadband). After lighting up a massive swath of Long Island in September, Cablevision activated high traffic areas of Connecticut -- as well as in Westchester/Dutchess counties in NY. Cablevision's current network offers symmetrical speeds of 1.5Mbps, and they provide a coverage map here.

"Wi-Fi is nothing new to most MSOs," insists Comcast's Westbrook. "Many have similar services or trials and frankly it's not new to Comcast," she notes, adding that they've had it in a number of markets already -- including some they acquired from Time Warner Cable. Comcast has offered Wi-Fi at the Houston Astros Minute Maid Park; select retirement communities in Florida; certain parts of San Jose; and certain hospitality venues and pilots at the University of Miami. The company is also of course working with Clearwire to offer mobile WiMax.

Both Cablevision and Comcast have renewed their interest in Wi-Fi, as it gives them an additional weapon to use when competing with Verizon FiOS. You might recall that Verizon once offered free Wi-Fi in Manhattan, but scrapped the project back in 2005 because they feared it cannibalized the sale of their (then) $80 EVDO service. We'll post more on Comcast's new Wi-Fi efforts when we have it. We'd be happy to hear from any local New Jersey customers who can test the service's speed.

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hottboiinnc
ME

join:2003-10-15
Cleveland, OH

TWC HotSpots

TWC used to do this in select regions. But they gave up on it after a few areas were lit-up. Mostly was available in Texas from what I read.

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

Re: TWC HotSpots

PTD does the same but their hotspots are mostly in pennsylvania.
hottboiinnc
ME

join:2003-10-15
Cleveland, OH

Re: TWC HotSpots

We'd have citywide wifi now from Buckeye if it wasnt for our damn mayor wanting to sign the deal with MetroFi and then them wanting half of what the build out cost.

dadkins
Can you do Blu?
Premium,MVM
join:2003-09-26
Hercules, CA
kudos:18

Free WiFi is cool!

Contrary to what some people have said in the past(No Names), WiFi for free is a good thing.
Whether its at a coffee shop, Panera bread, your local Public Library, the local pub/lounge, or where ever - it's great!

Not that I get out much anymore, but it's nice to sit with a laptop and cruise the web when you stop for coffee or commuting or something.
Waiting for the next train can get boring as hell!
--
Think outside the Fox... Opera

ninjatutle
Premium

join:2006-01-02
San Ramon, CA

Re: Free WiFi is cool!

Free WiFi sucks!

I have my own mobile service, ATT 3G. No security concerns, no wandering eyes and no needing to buy over priced milk lattes.
hottboiinnc
ME

join:2003-10-15
Cleveland, OH

Re: Free WiFi is cool!

don't have that problem when it comes from the ISP you get it included.

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
said by ninjatutle:

Free WiFi sucks!

I have my own mobile service, ATT 3G. No security concerns, no wandering eyes and no needing to buy over priced milk lattes.
Yeah but 5G/month cap?

I have Verizon EvDO but use free wifi where I can.

ninjatutle
Premium

join:2006-01-02
San Ramon, CA

Re: Free WiFi is cool!

Yes 5GB capage thanks to Verizon getting the trend started.

I watch my limit to about 200 MB a day when using, I don't use everyday. I could still surf all I want, watch some youtube and still not hit that cap. I do updates or any big file transfer when I am logged in at home or at the office.

dadkins
Can you do Blu?
Premium,MVM
join:2003-09-26
Hercules, CA
kudos:18
FREE = FREE!
I have seen free wireless at 12-14mbps... what's AT&T 3G?

No worries about cutting into that monthly cap.
No need for an air card or USB modem.

Knock yerself out!
--
Think outside the Fox... Opera

ninjatutle
Premium

join:2006-01-02
San Ramon, CA

Re: Free WiFi is cool!

Knock yer self out surfing DSLR at 12GBs. Pretty much the same experience I am getting except your pages loaded yesterday while I'm still waiting.....

dadkins
Can you do Blu?
Premium,MVM
join:2003-09-26
Hercules, CA
kudos:18

Re: Free WiFi is cool!

said by ninjatutle:

Knock yer self out surfing DSLR at 12GBs. Pretty much the same experience I am getting except your pages loaded yesterday while I'm still waiting.....
12GBs?
12mbps
Sitting at a hotspot, I can download 1-2GB videos and have no worries about some POS 5GB monthly cap.
Sit there doing things other than surfing webpages and I could blow through your 5GB without knowing it.

No thanks!
--
Think outside the Fox... Opera

ninjatutle
Premium

join:2006-01-02
San Ramon, CA

Re: Free WiFi is cool!

I'm sure the other patrons albeit it freeloaders, will be happy to know your slowing down everything with your Buffy the Vampire and Battlestar Galatica downloads..

dadkins
Can you do Blu?
Premium,MVM
join:2003-09-26
Hercules, CA
kudos:18

2 edits

Re: Free WiFi is cool!

said by ninjatutle:

I'm sure the other patrons albeit it freeloaders, will be happy to know your slowing down everything with your Buffy the Vampire and Battlestar Galatica downloads..
LOL! Give it up ninja!
I suppose you never use or take anything that is offered for free.

--
Think outside the Fox... Opera

ninjatutle
Premium

join:2006-01-02
San Ramon, CA

Re: Free WiFi is cool!

No you give up.

Yes, I have 5GB to burn where ever I chose to.

dadkins
Can you do Blu?
Premium,MVM
join:2003-09-26
Hercules, CA
kudos:18

1 edit

Re: Free WiFi is cool!

You just have to take swings, don't you!



I have endless to burn where ever I wish - Bluetooth to my cell!
Not cheap, but there's no limit!
One would be dumb not to use freely offered *FASTER* WiFi and save on their paid for service.

»www.wififreespot.com/
--
Think outside the Fox... Opera

ninjatutle
Premium

join:2006-01-02
San Ramon, CA

Re: Free WiFi is cool!

Didkins, don't you ever think about anything other than taking movies from somewhere over the web and watching it on yer lil vaio?

People don't need 20gbs at every second of the day. I've been online all morning and only burnt 56mb.

dadkins
Can you do Blu?
Premium,MVM
join:2003-09-26
Hercules, CA
kudos:18

3 edits

Re: Free WiFi is cool!


STBY
 

ONOES!!1
 
First off, learn to read and spell, ok?
My screen name is dadkins and not didkins.

Second, if you were to expand your horizons, you would find that free *LEGAL* video is available many places.
Also, there are these things called "Rental Sites"! Imagine that, a site where you can rent movies. Amazing, aint it?

Third, learn computer terminology and abbreviations.
WTF is 20gbs?
My Comcast line speed is 17.3mbps(mbps means megabits per second), and I don't need to use it every second of the day.
Most people understand that faster means on and off because the download finished in a reasonable time.

Finally, don't hate on my VAIOs.
They are not little like your netbook, or your monthly cap, or whatever else you have that's little...
I have big things.
Save your money and maybe some day you can afford a VAIO too!
I've been online since 5:30 AM and I'm already at 491MB(MB means Mega-Bytes)

Ah, email! It seems that I have a pending download waiting for me - it's a movie! You know movies, right? About to hit my connection for 1.4GB(GB means Giga-Bytes).

Is it ok with you if I download my new rental?

Learning is fun!
--
Think outside the Fox... Opera

ninjatutle
Premium

join:2006-01-02
San Ramon, CA

Re: Free WiFi is cool!

Free WiFi is cool!....

---
BART signs 2-year deal for Wi-Fi

"free Internet access - but with a catch. Access will be cut off after 3 1/2 minutes and the users will have to endure 30 seconds of ads before being able to surf the Internet."

»www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c···KD4C.DTL

A pilot project testing high-speed Internet access on portions of BART will expand systemwide, allowing people to surf the Web, send e-mail and videoconference when riding the rails or waiting in the stations.

Titus
Mr Gradenko

join:2004-06-26
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Embarq Now Centu..

1 recommendation

said by dadkins:

Contrary to what some people have said in the past(No Names), WiFi for free is a good thing.
Whether its at a coffee shop, Panera bread, your local Public Library, the local pub/lounge, or where ever - it's great!
There's an auto center here that offers not only wifi, but they have a few laptops for use in the customer waiting area while your car is worked on.
They note this in their TV ads. I've often wondered if it draws customers ...
--
hottboiinnc
ME

join:2003-10-15
Cleveland, OH

1 recommendation

Re: Free WiFi is cool!

Tom's Tire does that in Toledo. They do the wifi and they advertise it. not sure about the laptops though.

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

1 recommendation

said by dadkins:

Contrary to what some people have said in the past(No Names), WiFi for free is a good thing.
Whether its at a coffee shop, Panera bread, your local Public Library, the local pub/lounge, or where ever - it's great!

Not that I get out much anymore, but it's nice to sit with a laptop and cruise the web when you stop for coffee or commuting or something.
Waiting for the next train can get boring as hell!
I find the hotspot phenomenon handy at both the dentist's office and also the auto dealership when waiting for car maintenance.
--
My BLOG .. .. Internet News .. .. My Web Page

dadkins
Can you do Blu?
Premium,MVM
join:2003-09-26
Hercules, CA
kudos:18

Re: Free WiFi is cool!

Absolutely!
Waiting in the doctor's office can be a total drag.
Cruising websites, watching videos(ONOES!!1), seeing what's new on the software sites, checking news/weather.

It seems some people can't grasp the idea of it yet though.
Ah well, WE know about it!
--
Think outside the Fox... Opera

InSiGhTcOm

@insightbb.com
Okay, how is it (free) Wi-Fi ? It's only free for the people who use Comcast or whatever provider. This was my problem with a certain over priced coffee house chain that advertised free Wi-Fi but you had to be a Verizon mobile(... or was it sprint. I can't remember) customer, or had to pay like 1o cents a minute for Wi-Fi service. So it's technically not free. We have a big city park here that broadcasts A Wi-Fi signal for anyone to use. That's free.
hottboiinnc
ME

join:2003-10-15
Cleveland, OH

1 recommendation

NetNearU

Comcast uses NetNearU for the backend software:

Key Customers
Some of the largest and most successful companies in the world rely on NetNearU and its products to manage their networks.
Comcast Corporation
MCCS
Time Warner Cable
Bright House Networks
Sprint Nextel
EMBARQ
and many more...

www.netnearu.com
Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·Embarq Now Centu..
·Comcast
·CenturyLink

When free is really fee.

If Comcast restricts access their Wi-Fi Network to existing broadband subscribers the service is not free. It is just another perk to induce potential customers to select Comcast for their ISP.

One should ask: Is the included Wi-Fi service advertisement free? How many subscribers on the same account will be allowed to connect to the Comcast Wi-Fi network simultaneously?
majortom1029

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

Re: When free is really fee.

since it sounds like the same thing as cablevisions then anybody with a comcast username and password will be able to log in .
Lazlow

join:2006-08-07
Saint Louis, MO

Same login/password?

I guess I would feel a little better if the login/password were different on the road. WiFi is still pretty hackable/sniffable.

CheeseSteak

@verizon.net

Why didn't Comcast just take over EarthLink's network?

Instead they will just pay for their own and raise the cable rates...
hottboiinnc
ME

join:2003-10-15
Cleveland, OH

Re: Why didn't Comcast just take over EarthLink's network?

cause Earthlink doesn't own much of anything. It's mostly leased. They're dial-up numbers; leased, their cable modem network- resold on the Comcast and TWC network.- Very limited in Comcast though.

Earthlink doesnt really do anything but dial-up and DSL which is also resold (plus they'd compete against themselves in areas of DSL).

mikesterr

join:2008-04-18
Atco, NJ

We will have it when we have it!

said by Karl :

We'll have more on Comcast's new Wi-Fi efforts when we have it.
Well I should hope so!
patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1

802.11y

When will people learn that wifi isn't meant for a MAN. 100 feet max using any stock laptop. Plus competing with all the other 2.4 interference. Anyone wanting to set up a wifi mesh/gird/wide area coverage should only use »en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11y and not pollute 2.4 even more. And you wonder why there isn't ubiquitous wifi coverage and cellular standards won.
beaups

join:2003-08-11
Hilliard, OH

Re: 802.11y

802.11y are you kidding??????

Let's see....

1.) The standard was just ratified 6 months ago
2.) The frequency is higher so penetration and range will be lower
3.) Show me a laptop or phone with built-in 802.11y
4.) It's a LICENSED spectrum

Nothing to see here, move along....
YellowDart

join:2003-07-09
world

Could this be a trial?

Click for full size
These towers began to pop up in Boston (Back Bay neighborhood)

It is Comcast territory but there are no identification on them of any kind.

It is either WiFi or WiMax.
majortom1029

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

Re: Could this be a trial?

hmm the technology comcast and cablevision are using connect up to their network. usually on telephone poles. that i do not think is one because here in cablevision land i havent seen any of cablevisions wifi ap's mounted like that.

Karl Bode
News Guy
join:2000-03-02
kudos:39

1 recommendation

Associated Press

Oh wow, look! The Associated Press is reporting that Comcast is engaging in a trial of Wi-Fi after working in concert with Cablevision!

»www.google.com/hostednews/ap/art···961O8K05

Excellent job, AP!

Morac
Cat god

join:2001-08-30
Riverside, NJ
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: Associated Press

quote:
Comcast, the nation's largest cable operator, has set up equipment at about 100 New Jersey Transit commuter rail stations and parking lots.

They are in the Main-Bergen County area, Glen Rock, the Montclair-Boonton area, Morris, Essex, the North Jersey Coast, Pascack Valley, Raritan Valley and along the Northeast Corridor.

All these locations are Trenton or North of Trenton, so nothing in South Jersey.
--

The Comcast Disney Avatar has been retired.

ztmike
Mark for moderation
Premium
join:2001-08-02
Michigan City, IN

Monthly cap

I bet this free wifi will come with Comcasts 250gb monthly cap.

Clear

@comcast.net

New Wi-Fi Offered in Oregon

Wi-Fi is what fiber optics was to copper wire, superior. In the next 10 years when wireless services are on par with wired options everything is probably going to be wireless. You won't have to worry about plugging your computer in with the exception of the power source. Having said that, a good wireless technology that recently has emerged known as WiMax is currently being offered in Portland, Oregon. It's offered by a company called Clear . As I said, they only offer the service in Oregon but plan on expanding to other areas soon. If you live around the area you might want to give it a look.
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
Reviews:
·ooma
·Optimum Online
·Verizon FiOS

beyond wifi..

Cable should move beyond wifi into wireless data/voice. Telcos have a monopoly revenue stream in wireless which should be met with some competition by cable companies. Wifi alone will not be enough to compete with cell phone voice and 3g/lte services. New wireless protocols and hansets must be introduced as an alternative to AT&T, Sprint, Tmobile, and Verizon.