Light Reading

Comcast, TWC Boost Business WiFi

Alan Breznick
6/3/2014
50%
50%

Months before they plan to consummate their proposed $45 billion marriage, Comcast and Time Warner Cable are already starting to think and act more like one, at least on the wireless front.

The two large US MSOs each unveiled plans to expand their WiFi offerings for business customers. While the specifics of the plans differ, both cable companies are seeking to boost the appeal of their commercial packages, woo more business prospects, and foster greater WiFi use by their commercial clientele.

In the bolder of the two initiatives, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) announced Tuesday that it's rolling out a dual-band WiFi gateway for commercial customers. Known as the Business Wireless Gateway, the wireless router enables the MSO's commercial subscribers to assign a private WiFi signal for their own use while making the other WiFi signal available publicly to their own customers.

The new business-oriented device thus apes the dual-band wireless gateways that Comcast is busily deploying under its home hotspot initiative, which the MSO is using to expand its hotspot coverage drastically around the nation. Comcast, which now has more than 1 million public hotspots throughout the US, is looking to boost that total to a whopping 8 million access points by year's end. (See Comcast's Home Hotspots Heat Up and Comcast Whips Up More WiFi.)

Comcast said it is offering the new dual-band gateways and Business WiFi service in most of its commercial Internet packages, along with around-the-clock customer technical support. Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is supplying the new dual-band devices for Comcast.

Unlike Comcast, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) is not installing dual-band WiFi gateways in all of its commercial locations. But the MSO is now offering its advanced TWC WiFi Hotspot service for no extra charge to its SMB and enterprise subscribers throughout the US, enabling them to offer free wireless service to their customers.

TW Cable's WiFi Hotspot solution includes a free WiFi access point installed and managed by the MSO's business services unit. The access point also comes with its own Internet connection, which ensures that companies can keep their private web traffic separate and secure from the public Internet traffic, similar in function to the dual-band gateways that Comcast is now installing for its commercial customers. (See TWC & Charter Embrace Next-Gen WiFi.)

Also unlike Comcast, TW Cable does not have millions of WiFi hotspots spread across the nation. But like Comcast, TWC, which now has more than 35,000 hotspots in New York City, Los Angeles, Austin, and four other major markets, is rapidly building up its network of access points. In a separate deal announced Tuesday, for instance, TWC said it is teaming up with Boingo to offer WiFi roaming at both operators' locations.

These like-minded moves by TWC and Comcast come just a month after both firms conducted nationwide surveys showing that US businesses want their WiFi now. In the TW Cable survey, 80% of SMBs said they believe their customers expect free WiFi service, and they ranked it as a prime way to attract new customers. But only 43% of respondents actually offered free WiFi to their customers.

Likewise, the Comcast survey of "Main Street" entrepreneurs and small-business IT decision makers found that offering free WiFi does a better job of keeping their customers happy than offering such other goodies as free candy, water, or magazines. Most respondents also said that free WiFi offerings help bring in new customers, encourage repeat business, and lead to higher sales per customer visit.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
mhhf1ve
50%
50%
mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/4/2014 | 6:29:52 PM
Usage numbers for WiFi hotspots?
I'd be curious to know how many people use WiFi hotspots regularly and how frequently? Does anyone who uses a WiFi hotspot really often.. ever convert to a 4G LTE mobile data plan? (or vice versa?)

 
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/3/2014 | 6:52:30 PM
Comcast, TWC Boost Business WiFi
Alan, Impressive moves, and choreography, by the two companies.

In identifying the focus on infrastructure for business to WiFi, doesn't this represent a new direction for both of them?  It certainly makes sense and seems like a very smart move, especially expanding the markets together.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Network architects aiming to upgrade their networks to support agile, open, virtualized services in the 21st century need to consider new criteria when choosing between technology suppliers.
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Wagner’s Ring
Business Value Trumps Moving Bits for Virtual Networks

7|7|15   |   01:22   |   (0) comments


At the recent Open Networking Summit, carriers described how they're focused on increasing revenue rather than just improving technology. This requires cultural changes, which can be more difficult than technology changes.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live from the Big Telecom Event 2015

7|7|15   |   2:28   |   (0) comments


VeEX's Carl Goldschmidt provides new product updates, including the RXT modular test platform and TX300s. With the latest technology in pluggable physical interfaces, the RXT platform combines multiple technologies with testing range from 10 Mbit/s to 100 Gbit/s. The TX300s is an "All-in-one" advanced multi-service test platform from 64 Kbit/s to 100 Gbit/s that ...
LRTV Custom TV
Light Reading Interviews MRV: 2015 Big Telecom Event

7|7|15   |   3:45   |   (0) comments


Scott St. John, SVP of Global Sales & Service, discusses MRV's customer-centric culture, the new OptiPacket OP-X1 100G access platform, and recent customer wins with Light Reading at BTE 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Procera: Enhancing the Subscriber Experience

7|7|15   |   4:53   |   (0) comments


Hear from Procera on the latest in Subscriber Experience solutions. Learn how Procera's RAN Perspective technology helps network operators monitor and manage network traffic, in real-time, solving congestion and other network issues.
Between the CEOs
HP's Prodip Sen: The NFV Journey

7|7|15   |   21:39   |   (0) comments


Prodip Sen, CTO of the Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) business unit at HP, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the four stages of the NFV journey.
LRTV Documentaries
Leading Lights 2015 Winners' Video

7|7|15   |   08:34   |   (2) comments


Hear what the Leading Lights 2015 winners had to say after they picked up their awards in Chicago.
LRTV Documentaries
PSA: The Perils of a Hyper-Connected Society

7|6|15   |   1:38   |   (0) comments


A public service announcement calling attention to the perils of a hyper-connected society.
LRTV Interviews
Guavus Takes Analytics on the Road

7|6|15   |   4:09   |   (3) comments


Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina tells Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders how the analytics tools developed for telcos are applicable to the transportation industry.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Mellanox's New 25/50/100Gb/s Ethernet Products

7|6|15   |   2:44   |   (0) comments


Mellanox offers a complete 10/25/40/50/56/100Gbit/s solution that delivers industry-leading performance, scalability, reliability and efficiency for optimal application performance and data center ROI.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Arista's CloudVision

7|6|15   |   6:01   |   (0) comments


Anshul Sadana answers questions from Steve Saunders, Light Reading’s founder and CEO, about Arista’s CloudVision, a global cloud network controller for workload orchestration and workflow automation delivering a turnkey solution for cloud networking.
LRTV Custom TV
Red Hat Demo

7|2|15   |   10:53   |   (0) comments


Red Hat's Nicolas Lemieux demonstrates how Red Hat is driving innovation through open source communities.
LRTV Custom TV
Red Hat's Approach to OpenStack Adoption

7|2|15   |   5:17   |   (0) comments


Red Hat's Radhesh Balakrishnan outlines his company's open source strategy for both enterprises and telcos.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Equinix walks through the past four digital economy eras from computing to network to connected to today's interconneted world.
Hot Topics
What's a Gigabit Good For?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/1/2015
IBM Sows Seed for New Telco Unit, Plans NFV/SDN Push
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 7/6/2015
FCC Chairman Talks Up SDN/NFV
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 7/2/2015
A&E Launches Lifetime OTT Service
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 7/3/2015
What the Helio? MVNO Is Back After First Flop
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 7/6/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Prodip Sen, CTO of the Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) business unit at HP, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the four stages of the NFV journey.
Casa Systems has been going from strength to strength over the last couple of years. In 2013, it became the first vendor to ship an integrated CCAP device -- the ...
Cats with Phones