Carrier WiFi

Bright House Lights Up Wi-Fi in Florida

Bright House Networks is the latest cable MSO to join the Wi-Fi club following the deployment of 2,000 hot spots that will supply free access to its cable modem subs and paid options for everybody else.

The MSO is reportedly concentrating deployments in high-density locations such as International Drive in downtown Orlando, as well as shopping centers, sports venues, parks and beaches.

Bright House subs within reach of one of the MSO's hot spots can log in with their high-speed Internet account information. The company was not immediately available for further comment. It's not yet known who is supplying Bright House's WiFi gear, but if it's following the tech track Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) is taking in Los Angeles, it could be good news for BelAir Networks Inc.

Update: Bright House SVP of Network Engineering and Operations Craig Cowden cleared up the MSO's Wi-Fi vendor situation -- it'll be spreading the wealth between BelAir and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). "BelAir is the only current AP vendor. However, we plan to also deploy Cisco APs -- perhaps as early as the first half of the year. At this point, we plan to balance our AP equipment across these two vendors," he said in an emailed statement.

Why this matters
Bright House is the latest major cable op to get into the act as its peers start to chase after a national Wi-Fi roaming platform that, in theory, would let cable modem subs access hot spots operated by other MSOs when they are on the go. To that end, CableLabs is working on a common, Wi-Fi roaming architecture that will try to scale the roaming package Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), TW Cable and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) have cobbled together in the Northeastern U.S.

The deployment gives Bright House the beginnings of a wireless broadband platform (and a value-add for its own cable modem service) that's been lacking because it never launched a WiMax service tied to its investment in Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR). It's got its cellular bases covered because it's among a handful of MSOs that recently struck a spectrum and services deal with Verizon Wireless . (See MSOs Sell AWS Spectrum to Verizon for $3.6B and Comcast, TW Cable to Halt Clearwire Sales.)

For more
Read more about cable's Wi-Fi ambitions.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:45:44 PM
re: Bright House Lights Up Wi-Fi in Florida

The other interesting thing about this is that Bright House is committing to deploying WiFi coast to coast in Florida... not just in its footprint, so they are building in a biz model versus just a bell and whistle to retain their cable modem subs.  Got a call in to see what the final rollout plan is. JB

AESerm 12/5/2012 | 5:45:37 PM
re: Bright House Lights Up Wi-Fi in Florida

To some extent, BH has been part of this club for a while, having deployed radios in places like Bakersfield, going back to 2009. Granted, 2k hotspots is a bigger deal. And the road is clearing for more. Giving up the AWS spectrum means BH, Comcast and TWC don't have to bother with the hybrid Wi-Fi/4G radios that are 2x-plus as expensive as Wi-Fi only. The 802.x technology itself is simply growing up, too. 

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:45:36 PM
re: Bright House Lights Up Wi-Fi in Florida

Right, guess it depends on how we want to define club.  I'd say deploying a pocket of WiFi access points might make you a pledge-worthy. 2,000+ means you've been through Hell Week and are now an active member. JB

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:45:36 PM
re: Bright House Lights Up Wi-Fi in Florida

Correction on all this out of footprint talk.  Seems like there was some confusion there. BH just told me that the WiFi build  is all in footprint.

They also passed along some pricing details (subject to change, of course) for non-HSD subs:

$1.99 for one hour

$3.95 for three hours

$8.95 for a day

$19.95 for a week

Also , nothing much to say in terms of whether they'll be allowing cable modem customers from other MSOs to roam on their WiFi network. "We are currently keeping our options open," a spokeswoman said via email.




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