Photos: Cable Wi-Fi – A Whole New Ballgame

Cable operators are outfitting sporting venues with free Wi-Fi as a way to tout their broadband services. Here's what Comcast has cooked up at the home of the Philadelphia Phillies

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

March 28, 2013

3 Min Read
Photos: Cable Wi-Fi – A Whole New Ballgame

Major U.S. MSOs have deployed more than 100,000 Wi-Fi hotspots as they look to add value to their broadband service tiers. That strategy has also opened opportunities for operators to offer free Wi-Fi access at major sporting venues. Comcast has just lit such a network covering major congregation spots in the outfield areas of Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies' home opener isn't until Friday, April 5, but the Wi-Fi network is up and running and will be accessible Friday night (March 29), when the first of the team's final two spring training games comes to Citizens Bank Park. We took a look around earlier this week to check out the new Wi-Fi set-up. Click "next" to start your tour. Just outside the park, the Xfinity Wi-Fi app offers evidence that Philadelphia has become a hot spot for the MSO's hot spots. It's eerily quiet around the park on an off-day. But the promise of spring baseball is in the air(and so is Wi-Fi). Harry The K's is one of the locations where consumers can tap in to Comcast's Wi-Fi network. At the park, the MSO is offering free access to all comers. Existing Comcast broadband customers can log in with their credentials, while non-subscribers receive a special prompt that will let them plug into the wireless network. Citizens Bank Park will give baseball fans a subtle reminder that there's a free Wi-Fi network available... these ballpark locations. The Cisco-made Wi-Fi antennas have been painted Phillies red so they can blend with the park's aesthetics. Here's another AP we spotted. The park is backhauling its Wi-Fi traffic on Comcast's Metro Ethernet platform. MetroE services now account for about 15 percent of Comcast Business Services revenue, and the Phillies are responsible for some of it. As Phillies Director of Information Systems Brian Lamoreaux, one of our guides on this day, points out, the Budweiser Rooftop in center field is another region with access to free Wi-Fi. Kick back, watch the game, tweet about that double play, and upload photos to Facebook ... without putting a dent in your cellular data cap. Fans can also tap in as they stroll down Ashburn Alley. Viewable from the park: the Philly skyline, including the still sorta-new and shiny Comcast Center. Another view of Ashburn Alley. The kids can go crazy at in the Bull's BBQ area whilst you gobble down some grub and some bandwidth, if you so desire. Yup, Comcast will be marketing ballpark Wi-Fi to the hilt this summer. We didn't confirm this, but we do not believe that this statue of Phillies great Mike Schmidt just outside the park doubles as a Wi-Fi hot spot. You can hit Xfinity Live, across the street from the park, for some pre- and post-game libations. And it also has free Wi-Fi. Ahhh... just a reminder that spring is here, giving everyone (even Cubs fans) hope that their team will make a run at the pennant.

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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