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Cable Technology Feature Article

September 20, 2012

U.S. Wi-Fi Hot Spots May Reach 100k by End of 2012

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

It will be a lot easier to find a free public Wi-Fi hot spot in the United States by the end of the year, with news that cable TV companies will likely their number to about 100,000.

Investor’s Business Daily reported that in May Comcast (CMCSA), Bright House Networks, Cox (News - Alert) Communications, Cablevision Systems (CVC) and Time Warner Cable (TWC) decided to share their 50,000 Wi-Fi hot spots.

"We really look at it as a product enhancement to our high-speed data (HSD) product," TWC's chief financial officer, Irene Esteves, explained at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch conference held earlier this summer. "For us, it's really improving the retention and the experience of our HSD customers."

For example, Time Warner (News - Alert) Cable will have 10,000 public Wi-Fi hot spots in Los Angeles alone, 

Investor’s Business Daily reported.

Jefferies analyst Thomas Seitz speculated that cable companies may someday charge for Wi-Fi access.

"Cable – with its extensive Wi-Fi networks passing restaurants, shopping areas, universities, transportation hubs and increasingly businesses – could ultimately play a disruptive role (in wireless services)," he told Investor’s Business Daily.

In a related matter, cable TV operators could expand Wi-Fi networks even more if the FCC (News - Alert) approves a plan to make more unlicensed radio spectrum available through auctions. The FCC will meet on the issue on Sept. 28, TMCnet reported.

Image via Shutterstock

In Wi-Fi news about Brazil, TIM has partnered with Linktel Corporate, a Brazilian Wi-Fi carrier, and will increase its TIM Wi-Fi cell site in 1,500 hotspots.

It is expected to reach a total of 10,000 hotspots in Brazil by the end of 2012, TMCnet reported.

In a related matter, increased demand for 3G and 4G LTE (News - Alert) and HSPA+ has hurt the Wi-Fi business, compared to five years ago, according to News Pakistan. So expansion news is a good sign for the sector.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Braden Becker

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