Carrier WiFi

Cox Checks Into Hotel Wi-Fi

Diving further into the hospitality market, Cox Communications will offer Wi-Fi service to its large base of hotel customers throughout the U.S. later this summer.

The commercial unit of the third-largest U.S. MSO, Cox Business said it will launch managed Wi-Fi service for hotels, other hospitality properties and large multi-location organizations across its service footprint. Known as Cox Business Hospitality Wi-Fi, the new service will include pro-active network monitoring, guest troubleshooting and customer support features.

Cox Business, which already offers commercial Wi-Fi service to hotels in Las Vegas and a few other parts of its footprint, said it will use the MSO's national fiber backbone and/or hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) network to deliver the managed Wi-Fi service nationally. Cox said it will rely on Cisco Systems's Wi-Fi platform for the national rollout.

Exploiting its position as the dominant cable provider in hotel-rich Las Vegas, Cox Business now boasts 2,000 hospitality customers around the nation. The properties it serves have a combined 250,000 guest rooms.

One of the five big U.S. MSOs participating in the CableWiFi national roaming alliance, Cox has not rolled out Wi-Fi service nearly as aggressively as its four partners so far. At latest count, Cox had deployed about 1,700 hotspots in its territories, well behind the 80,000-plus hotspots of Cablevision Systems and the 58,000 hotspots of Comcast. But it appears to be getting more aggressive now.

Cox thus joins Comcast, Dish Network Corp., LG Electronics Inc. and other major pay-TV players and consumer electronics makers seeking to capture bigger shares of the lucrative hospitality market. In the wake of the recent bankruptcy filing and Chapter 11 reorganization by long-time hospitality leader LodgeNet Interactive Corp., competitors have been jumping into the market, hoping to take advantage of LodgeNet's financial difficulties as hotels update their video and broadband networks and equipment.

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

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