Cable Wi-Fi

TWC Not Ready for Community WiFi

DENVER -- While Comcast has significantly expanded the reach of its WiFi footprint through the use of home-based hotspots, its proposed merger partner, Time Warner Cable, isn't planning a similar strategy. At Light Reading's "Optimizing and Monetizing WiFi" breakfast session here Tuesday, TWC principal architect Roger Stanford said community WiFi isn't on the product roadmap.

Community WiFi has helped boost Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s home hotspot count to more than 4.5 million pver the past couple of years. Plus, in collaboration with Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY), Comcast expects to offer access to more than 10 million hotspots in the US and Europe by year's end.

In contrast, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) has only about 46,000 hotspots nationwide, including its latest deployments in the San Diego area. (See Comcast, Liberty Global Ink Big WiFi Pact and Time Warner Cable Launches WiFi in San Diego.)

Get the latest updates on cable's WiFi push by visiting Light Reading's cable WiFi content channel.

Home hotspots make use of gateways that broadcast two SSIDs; one for public use and the other for private subscriber access. While Time Warner Cable won't use this type of hardware for community WiFi, Stanford did say the company is looking at deploying dual-SSID wireless gateways for smart home services. Right now, TWC has to put two devices in a home if a customer subscribes to both traditional Internet service and a new smart home service. However, with multiple SSIDs, the operator could combine functions in a single gateway.

Although Time Warner Cable's WiFi hotspot ambitions may be limited now, that could quickly change if and when Comcast's planned acquisition of the company is approved. At that point, the Time Warner Cable team likely won't have a choice about following in Comcast's footsteps.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

KBode 9/24/2014 | 2:05:46 PM
Re: Well... They've got a lot of smaller tier cities and rural markets, but they also cover New York City, which of course would be an ideal place for something like this. 
Atlantis-dude 9/24/2014 | 1:31:55 PM
Re: Well... Is TWCs footprint more in high density area compared to comcast?
KBode 9/24/2014 | 8:26:17 AM
Well... I imagine that if they're bought by Comcast, this is something that will make their way across their footprint anyway, so I imagine this is only one of many projects that aren't a priority while they prepare to dismantle existing company leadership and systems...
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