Cable Wi-Fi

Cox Whips Up Western WiFi

Fresh off its launch of 1-Gig broadband service in Phoenix last month, Cox Communications is now deploying several thousand WiFi hotspots to complement its wireline offering in the large Arizona market.

Cox Communications Inc. , the third-biggest cable operator in the US with about 4 million broadband customers, announced that it has deployed 500 hotspots in the Phoenix area. Plans call for deploying another 1,200 access points in the market by the close of the year and 2,500 more in metro Phoenix by the end of 2015. (See Cox Goes Gaga Over Gigabit.)

Want to know more about cable WiFi? Check out our dedicated cable WiFi content channel here on Light Reading.

The Phoenix access point deployment comes as Cox seeks to ramp up the number of public hotspots installed across the US. The MSO, which earlier this year announced the installation of 2,500 hotspots in Omaha, Neb. and sections of Connecticut and Virginia, has now deployed about 25,000 hotspots throughout the nation.

That number pales in comparison to some of its fellow large US MSOs. For instance, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has deployed more than 5 million hotspots throughout the US and Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), which is a bit smaller than Cox, has deployed more than 1 million in the New York metro area alone. Even Bright House Networks , which is much smaller than Cox, has deployed more hotspots so far.

But Cox, which got off to a later start in WiFi than most of its cable counterparts, seems determined to start catching up now, especially with the introduction of its new GigaBlast 1-Gig service. The MSO intends to follow up its rollout of GigaBlast in each new market with substantial deployments of WiFi, starting with Las Vegas later this year.

Like most of its fellow MSOs, Cox is installing more powerful WiFi routers in each new broadband subscriber's home to bolster its WiFi rollout. It's also piggybacking on the nationwide "Cable WiFi" network stitched together by four other major cable operators -- Comcast, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), Cablevision and Bright House. This network now offers free roaming service to cable subscribers at more than 300,000 hotspots across the US.

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

mhhf1ve 12/8/2014 | 4:20:08 PM
Re: the beneficiaries of millions of hotspots? WiFi hotspots are far too limited in range for them to be that useful for truly mobile users. Sure, it might be convenient for coffee shops and airports and other retail spots with foot traffic. On the other hand, when my LTE signal is weak or spotty, I've found WiFi hotspots to be a nice "backup" connection. But it's hardly a replacement. I'd pick LTE or 3G if I had to pay for it.... 
justanotheruser 12/8/2014 | 3:50:44 PM
Re: the beneficiaries of millions of hotspots? I'm in the Phoenix area and I agree with you, I ended up removing the connections to Cox as they end up disrupting other apps during the attempt to connect, I assume that the benefit is only for people sitting on a corner browsing but it you are on the move is nothing but a waste, trying to connect then authenticate
mhhf1ve 11/17/2014 | 4:59:32 PM
Re: the beneficiaries of millions of hotspots? NYC is planning to launch Gigabit wireless from WiFi hotspots funded by advertising...


10,000 hotspots across NYC that are free and include free domestic phone calls? That's a nice upgrade from the old telephone booths... but I wonder what kind of graffiti will destroy these things... and how nasty the touchscreens will get over time.
danielcawrey 11/16/2014 | 1:56:15 PM
Re: the beneficiaries of millions of hotspots? This is good news, and it shows how much wifi is now available for roaming. My understanding is that wireless carriers are also rolling out wifi hotspots as well, which are more economical than using towers in some areas. 

I can see that peering is going to becomoe popular on hotspots, if it hasn't already. 
thomas.cnx 11/14/2014 | 6:29:04 PM
Re: the beneficiaries of millions of hotspots? I can tell you from my perspective that I tend to find wi-fi connections a nuiscance more than anything.  My phone will constantly try to connect to the wi-fi hotspot, but if the connection is weak or the throughput is less than optimal, it just bogs things down.  As such, I often find myself turning off wi-fi and getting a much quicker data download through the LTE network.
mhhf1ve 11/14/2014 | 4:30:49 PM
the beneficiaries of millions of hotspots? As telcos/cablecos deploy these huge wifi hotspot networks, it'll be interesting to see who actually benefits the most from them? Do consumer end-users care that much about a gazillion wifi hotspots when cellular connections are already in most urban places? Are the winners here small businesses that attract foot traffic to their retail spaces for free/sponsored internet connections? Do the ISPs themselves benefit the most from the advertising/promotional aspect of reminding everyone everywhere that their service is available in locations that their competitors might not be in?
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