Carrier WiFi

Time Warner Cable Flies WiFi in NYC

WiFi or WiMax? The answer for Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) is rapidly becoming both after the MSO made a big WiFi move in New York City that makes "free" wireless access available to about 1 million Road Runner cable modem subscribers. (See TWC Launches NYC WiFi Zones.)

Time Warner Cable is complementing its own WiFi network buildout by partnering with Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC). Under that arrangement, TWC high-speed customers can connect to Cablevision's more broadly deployed Optimum WiFi canopy, which is using a mix of gear from BelAir Networks Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). Cablevision customers, in turn, will be able to log in to TWC's homegrown WiFi access "zones." (See Cablevision Expects Lower WiFi Bill and Cablevision Plays WiFi Card .)

TWC's initial WiFi zone deployment covers eight commuter rail platforms on the Long Island Railroad Port Washington line and four parks in Queens (Bowne Park and Kissena Park in Flushing, Baisley Pond Park, and Railroad Park in Jamaica (this map shows where those zones are). The MSO's NYC WiFi page also notes that additional zones will be "coming soon."

Cablevision, meanwhile, has already deployed thousands of WiFi hotspots in its New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut footprint.

Time Warner Cable is introducing WiFi access in NYC to sweeten the pot for its cable modem service as the MSO continues to feel pressure from area competitors such as Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and RCN Corp. . TWC has already met the wireline competition in NYC by launching Docsis 3.0 services there last fall. (See TWC Fights FiOS in NYC.)

NYC isn't the first market where TWC has deployed WiFi. A company spokesman confirmed that the MSO has launched hotspots in some systems serving parts of North Carolina and Wisconsin, among others.

TWC's wireless ambitions aren't WiFi-only. It's also getting aggressive with WiMax, offering mobile broadband services in a handful of markets, including Dallas, North Carolina, and Hawaii, through its Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) partnership. (See Time Warner Cable Hits WiMax Accelerator.)

TWC is the second MSO to hook into Cablevision's WiFi deployment. Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has also tapped in as part of a technical WiFi trial it's conducting in about 100 New Jersey Transit commuter rail stations, allowing its cable modem subs to get wireless access by logging in with their user names and passwords. (See Comcast Gives WiFi a Try .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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