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US CableWiFi set to challenge AT&T


Published: 25 May, 2012


US cable interests have been slowly getting closer together in WiFi for some time, but have now gone the whole hog and decided that any customer of one, can use the WiFi network of all the others, right across the US.

It will single handedly bring 50,000 hotspots to bear up against the AT&T 80,000 plus, under a single brand, CableWiFi. From here the cable companies - all of the big ones except Charter - so that means Comcasst, Time warner Cable, Cox, Cablevision and Bright House Networks - will begin building out aggressively to "own" WiFi across the US. If they all try to install FON type software on home based devices, they could harness WiFi from almost 50 million homes between them (although they have not said that this is part of the plan).

Another area that has not been talked about, but which will almost certainly happn, is that TV Everywhere video services will be moved out of the home, to these hotspots, so that people can watch cable content on the go - something very few have been able to do until now and which needs further rights negotiations for many of them.

If you add to that being able to watch cable video on the Verizon Wireless LTE networks, that will make for a compelling reason to be part of cable in the US, and potentially halt AT&T broadband growth in its tracks.

In essence they will all enable each other's high-speed Internet customers to access their metro WiFi networks. And the reason that this is not a matter for regulator intervention is because it only involves 50,000 hotspots. There will be a single brand name used for the service called CableWiFi and the first part of the network has already been implemented, because CableWiFi was the brand under which Bright House Networks and Cablevision began a similar exercise with just the two of them in New York City and central Florida. The system will be built out over the next few months to include all of the other 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."

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