Cox is the latest cable company to make a push into premium home WiFi, and it's relying on Arris and Netgear equipment to deliver the upgraded service.
Following soft launches in California in 2016, Cox Communications Inc. is now ready to aggressively promote its new Panoramic WiFi service including: faster wireless speeds, expanded in-home coverage with WiFi extenders, a mobile app for network management, optional professional installation and round-the-clock customer support. While only available in California today, Cox says service availability will expand to new markets in 2017, and that the company will kick off a campaign to market Panoramic WiFi with a Super Bowl ad set to air regionally in San Diego this weekend.
The cost of the service is $10 per month, plus $4 per month for any WiFi extenders. Professional installation fees also apply.
Why is the Panoramic WiFi launch important? For two reasons.
First, Cox is the just the latest Internet service provider to emphasize in-home WiFi performance as a key component of its consumer broadband offering. Cable companies have talked about the importance of delivering a premium WiFi product for years as a way to drive new revenue, cut down on customer complaints and keep up with the faster broadband speeds enabled through wired connections. However, the path to deployment has been slow. That's finally starting to change with more competitive pressure coming from the retail sector and more operators actively launching next-generation WiFi packages. (See Google Plans Home WiFi Takeover, Frontier Calls In WiFi Fix With AirTies Mesh and Battle for the Home Network? It's On.)
Second, in choosing hardware from Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) and Netgear Inc. (Nasdaq: NTGR) for its new WiFi service, Cox is forgoing an opportunity to hop on the Comcast bandwagon and license that operator's new "digital home" service. Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) announced its in-home networking platform early in January, and Canadian operator Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI) has said since then that it will license the WiFi solution alongside Comcast's X1 video platform. Cox also licenses X1. (See Comcast Unveils Smart Home Platform and Rogers Embraces 'Comcast North' Strategy.)
Naturally, in moving forward with its own Panoramic WiFi offering, Cox hasn't dismissed the notion of ever using Comcast's digital home platform in the future. For the moment, however, Cox has chosen a different route. Customers that want to sign up for Panoramic WiFi will either need to rent the Arris TG2472 802.11ac WiFi modem or subscribe to Cox's Gigablast service using a Netgear R6300 router.
— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading