Light Reading

Comcast Whips Up More WiFi

Alan Breznick
5/1/2014
50%
50%

LOS ANGELES -- The Cable Show -- Seeking to blanket the US with wireless coverage, Comcast aims to expand its WiFi footprint to a whopping 8 million hotspots by the end of the year, far more than any other wireless provider.

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) announced the enormous WiFi expansion plans at the Cable Show here Wednesday, saying that it will extend its Xfinity WiFi network to 8 million hotspots by adding locations in 19 of the country's 30 largest cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Hartford, Houston, Indianapolis, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C.

Comcast is looking to blanket the US with WiFi coverage by deploying hotspots in 19 of the nation's largest metro areas.
Comcast is looking to blanket the US with WiFi coverage by deploying hotspots in 19 of the nation's largest metro areas.

The MSO said it will beef up its network rapidly by focusing on three different types of locations -- outdoor public areas, business facilities, and neighborhood hotspots in private homes. The vast majority of hotspots will be added in customer homes, where the cabler is now installing access points with a second, public SSID signal on the new WiFi-enabled data gateways that it's deploying throughout the nation.

Comcast officials, who just announced that they had activated their 1 millionth hotspot a few weeks ago, said they're carrying out the ambitious expansion drive to satisfy existing subscriber demand and future-proof their wireless network for rapidly growing needs. "Wireless access is increasingly important to our customers, and we are building a network that not only meets today's needs but also stays ahead of tomorrow's demands," claimed Marcien Jenckes, executive vice president of consumer services for Comcast Cable.

The MSO's soaring WiFi usage numbers tell much of the story. Comcast estimates that nearly 200 million out-of-home sessions have been initiated on the Xfinity WiFi network so far this year, a 700% increase from the same period last year. Due to increases like that, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) estimates 88% of all US data traffic on mobile and portable devices will travel over WiFi links by 2018.

Despite some signs that they and other large US MSOs may be looking to develop a "WiFi First" mobile voice service with their rapidly growing WiFi networks, Comcast executives insisted that they're not planning such a service now. Although WiFi can do a lot, they said, it is not a licensed technology and can never match a cellular network.

The top wireless service executives of other leading US MSOs echoed that sentiment at the show. Representing the national CableWifi Alliance consortium -- which consists of Comcast, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), Cox Communications Inc. , Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), and Bright House Networks -- they said they still view WiFi as a complementary service to cellular, not a competitive one. They also said they view their WiFi services as ways to differentiate their offerings from their telco rivals.

Unrelated to the Comcast news, the CableWiFi Alliance announced that it now covers 250,000 cable hotspots throughout the US, up from 200,000 last fall and 150,000 a year ago. At these hotspots, cable subscribers can either use their own MSO-branded SSID or the newer "CableWiFi" SSID to link to the network.

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

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
atif.sajid@gmail.com
50%
50%
atif.sajid@gmail.com,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/3/2014 | 11:57:46 PM
Re: Shifting to WiFi Makes Sense, But...
I wonder if if Comcast planning to use it's WiFi reach for offloading any mobile data?

 

Atif
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
5/1/2014 | 1:45:32 PM
Re: Shifting to WiFi Makes Sense, But...
Sprint says it has handoff in place for its service, but I haven't heard how well it works. I could see cable going this route, but I'm not sure if they need to at this point. Their WiFi is already a great value add.
Phil_Britt
50%
50%
Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/1/2014 | 11:20:02 AM
Shifting to WiFi Makes Sense, But...
The shift of voice calls to WiFi makes sense in order to use other network resources for higher margin data uses. But the question will be how well the handoff goes to and from WiFi as one leaves or enters the range of a WiFi hotspot.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Networks of the future will rely on "white box" switches and servers rather than proprietary hardware and that's going to alter the shape of the communications industry. Who says so? John Chambers.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Intros Smart Device for eLTE

3|30|15   |   05:25   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed a secure, location-aware multimedia smartphone for its eLTE trunked radio solution, says Huawei's Norman Frisch.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Win Video, Win All

3|30|15   |   06:44   |   (0) comments


Video is going to be the next main source of revenue for operators. Operators have big opportunities and advantages to monetize video services. Globally, Huawei has helped more than 70 operators achieve over 30 million video subscribers. Watch this video for more.
LRTV Custom TV
The Benefits of HyperScale Clouds for NFV

3|27|15   |   01:50   |   (0) comments


Hyperscale cloud has been developed by the Internet giants to support the creation and delivery of software-based services at blistering speeds, and at the lowest possible cost. The original ETSI NFV vision was to adopt hyperscale cloud architecture and practices. This vision has become somewhat obscured along the way, due to misunderstandings about the hyperscale ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
eLTE Rapid Meets the Need for Speed

3|26|15   |   4:45   |   (0) comments


Designed especially for emergency and dedicated ad hoc local mobile communications coverage, Huawei's eLTE Rapid solution can deliver trunked voice, video and data coverage for multiple users over a 6km range and be set up in just 15 minutes, explains Huawei's Norman Frisch.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
On Videos: Challenges & Opportunities

3|26|15   |   5:56   |   (0) comments


Most everything is now connected. And along with 4K and 4G technologies, everyone could be creating and broadcasting video contents. Users are expecting better video experience with any screen, anywhere and anytime. Operators will meet new challenges, but also see some big opportunities.
LRTV Custom TV
JDSU: Delivering Dynamic Networks for a Personalized Experience

3|26|15   |   5:59   |   (0) comments


Light Reading speaks to JDSU at Mobile World Congress 2015 about new solutions in the areas of HetNets, VoLTE, backhaul, virtualization, big data analytics, and real-time intelligence.
LRTV Custom TV
Smarter Service Chaining & New Ways to Benefit From Qosmos Technology

3|25|15   |   03:11   |   (0) comments


David Le Goff, director of strategic and product marketing at Qosmos, explains how the company has added application awareness to subscriber information to make service chaining more efficient and reduce costs for networking and infrastructure. In addition, Qosmos technology, which has been delivered as C libraries, is now also available as a virtual machine, ...
Between the CEOs
Qosmos CEO: The Changing Face of DPI

3|24|15   |   13:53   |   (0) comments


LR CEO and Founder Steve Saunders sits down with the head of Qosmos to talk about the changing state of the art in deep packet inspection technology, including its role in SDN and NFV architectures. Also, how the comms market is becoming more like the automotive industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
FC Schalke Scores With Its Agile Stadium

3|24|15   |   6:23   |   (0) comments


Top German soccer club FC Schalke 04 has deployed a new, agile WiFi network from Huawei in its Veltins-Arena stadium and is reaping the benefits in terms of customer satisfaction and business opportunities, explains marketing chief Alexander Jobst.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Insights on Mobile Video

3|24|15   |   7:51   |   (0) comments


More people than ever are now watching videos on smartphones. Seventy percent of mobile traffic will be video traffic until 2018. In this video, Huawei's exports give their insights on mobile video in terms of business model, network planning and 4G network construction.
LRTV Documentaries
The Rise of Industry 4.0

3|24|15   |   02:26   |   (9) comments


Are you ready for the fourth industrial revolution? It's a big deal for influential operators such as Deutsche Telekom.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Getting Connected With eLTE

3|23|15   |   06:04   |   (0) comments


Trunked radio communications have entered the 4G LTE world, and with Huawei's eLTE solution, can now deliver a full range of data and video services as well as push-to-talk voice, explains Huawei's Norman Frisch.
Upcoming Live Events
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 5, 2015, Hyatt McCormick Place, Chicago, IL
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
AT&T Woos SMBs With Small-Scale WiFi
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 3/26/2015
Just Don't Say IBM Is 'Relaunching' Networking Business
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 3/26/2015
TV Everywhere Nears Mainstream Adoption
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 3/27/2015
Carriers Are Bright Spot in BlackBerry Q4
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 3/27/2015
Comcast Says TWC Deal Will Close Later
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 3/26/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
LR CEO and Founder Steve Saunders sits down with the head of Qosmos to talk about the changing state of the art in deep packet inspection technology, including its role in SDN and NFV architectures.
Chattanooga’s EPB publicly owned utility comms company has become a poster child for how to enable a local economy using next-gen networking technology. Steve Saunders, Founder of Light Reading, sits down with Harold DePriest, president and CEO of EPB, to learn how EPB is bringing big time tech to small town America.
Cats with Phones
Interspecies Phone Love Click Here
"No, you hang up."
"No, YOU hang up."
Latest Comment