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Cable Technology Feature Article

April 16, 2010

Free Roaming Between Cablevision, Comcast and Time Warner Now Possible

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

An agreement has been reached between Cablevision Systems Corp., Comcast Corporation and Time Warner Cable to allow their high-speed Internet customers to roam freely across the companies' respective WiFi (News - Alert) networks without any additional charges.

This expands the reach and value of cable WiFi in the New York metropolitan area. To get TMC's Rich Tehrani's (News - Alert) take on this announcement, check out his blog.

'Cable providers interconnecting WiFi services so customers can roam freely across networks is an extremely meaningful and transformative development,' said John Bickham, Cablevision's president of cable and communications, in a statement.

'This agreement - the first of its kind and, we believe, the first of many - combines the reach and the value of our respective WiFi deployments and delivers fast and free wireless Internet access that stretches across the market, at a time when consumer demand for mobile data is exploding.'

The three power players here have developed thousands of WiFi access points across the market, delivering fast and free wireless Internet connections as a complement to broadband authentication options for all three WiFi services: Optimum (News - Alert) WiFi, Time Warner Cable WiFi and Xfinity WiFi. This approach allows customers to use their own provider's sign-on process to get online.

'Our customers are purchasing devices that have WiFi built into them and increasingly want wireless broadband access anytime, anywhere,' said Cathy Avgiris, SVP and GM of Communications and Data Services at Comcast (News - Alert).

'With this partnership, we're excited to offer a great in-home and on-the-go Internet experience. As a result, our Xfinity Internet and High-Speed 2go customers can now connect and enjoy their devices in more locations in the tri-state area.'

Howard Szarfarc, executive vice president of Time Warner Cable's NYC region. Noted that this unique partnership is certainly a win-win for the company's one million Road Runner customers in the NYC metro area.

It is becoming increasingly clear how important WiFi is as a fast and reliable way to access the Internet, especially as WiFi-enabled devices continue to proliferate throughout the market. One recent example is the Apple iPad. The company has already announced the sale of 85 million iPhone (News - Alert) and iPod touch devices and 450,000 iPads, all enabled with WiFi.

In other WiFi news, Austin bars and eateries will begin offering free access. A local computer company called Discount Electronics is going to offer a unique service to the hundreds of customers, who frequently visit the city's many eateries, coffee shops and bars.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi