22
May
cablewifi

Surfing the web while on the move has become a reality thanks to mobile internet over 3G or LTE. However despite yearly advancements in its technology, the reliability of mobile networks remains lackluster.

A solution to ubiquitous connectivity has come in the form of blanketing various cities with wireless hotspots. For example, in Singapore the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) have initiated the Wireless@SG program which aims to provide wireless hotspots all across the island.

In a similar vein, a group of US cable companies have come together to provide their customers with access to each others wireless hotspots. Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox Communications, and Time Warner Cable have over 50,000 hotspots in various locations around the US, and soon these will all be accessible to customers of any of those five companies using the "CableWiFi" network name. Bright House Networks is the first company to roll-out the "CableWifi" hotspot, alongside its own network, in New York City and Florida. The remaining four companies will be adding the CableWiFi name to their existing networks in the next few months.

cablewifi

Users can connect to a "CableWiFi" network with the same username and password used when accessing their providers' own wireless networks. In the future users will be automatically connected to "CableWiFi" hotspots when in range.

Once the roll-out is complete, there will be over 50,000 hotspots available across the US in New York, Los Angeles, Tampa, Orlando, and Philadelphia. To find out more information about the location of the hotspots, head to www.cablewifi.com.

Not only will this initiative be great for users who don't wish to use mobile internet or who only have WiFi on their device, CableWiFi should dramatically decrease the load borne by mobile networks across the US.

Check out CableWiFi's press release below for more details:

Major U.S. Cable Companies Join Forces on WiFi

Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable Will Share Access to over 50,000 Hotspots, Expand WiFi Availability and Simplify Access for their High Speed Internet Customers

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable today announce that they will enable each other’s high-speed Internet customers to access their metro WiFi networks, totaling over 50,000 hotspots. To simplify access, a new network name, “CableWiFi”, has been created for subscribers to use when accessing the WiFi hotspots outside their home market. The first implementation is already complete as Bright House Networks and Cablevision launched “CableWiFi” alongside their branded WiFi networks in the New York City area and central Florida earlier this month. Over the next few months, the “CableWiFi” network name will be added by each of the cable companies to their branded WiFi hotspots.

“This effort adds great value to our high speed Internet customers by providing free wireless Internet access on all of their WiFi enabled devices in our markets and additional areas across the country,” said Nomi Bergman, President of Bright House Networks.

“We believe that WiFi is a superior approach to mobile data, and that cable providers are best positioned to build the highest-capacity national network offering customers fast and reliable Internet connections when away from their home or business broadband service,” said Kristin Dolan, Cablevision’s senior executive vice president of product management and marketing. “We’ve built an extensive WiFi network in our own service area, and see real value and potential in other leading providers joining with us to extend that connectivity to major markets across the country.”

Dave Watson, Chief Operating Officer of Comcast Cable added, “Mobility is an increasingly important part of our Xfinity services product roadmap. WiFi technology, coupled with our agreements with Verizon Wireless, are two significant ways we are executing on our strategy to deliver the best in- and out-of-home communications experience for our customers.”

“The way customers are using our service continues to evolve,” said Jill Campbell, Cox Communications COO. “This is a new area of opportunity that we need to explore.”

“We have long been the leading providers of high-speed internet services in our customers’ homes. Through our rollout of WiFi and the benefits of this collaboration we greatly increase the value and reach of our high-speed internet service, providing access to broadband outside the home and in cities across the country,” said Rob Marcus, President and COO of Time Warner Cable.

When traveling outside their home markets, high-speed Internet subscribers of the participating companies will look for the “CableWiFi” network and through a simple sign-on process connect using the same credentials as when accessing their providers’ WiFi networks. In the coming months, users will be able to have their devices auto-connect to the Internet when located in any of the “Cable WiFi” hotspots.

The participating cable operators currently offer more than 50,000 WiFi hotspots located in New York City and the surrounding Tri-State area, Los Angeles, Tampa, Orlando, and Philadelphia. The operators plan to continue to grow the number of WiFi hotspots and expand into several additional cities. The network has both indoor and outdoor WiFi hotspots located in popular, high traffic locations, such as shopping districts, cafes, malls, arenas, restaurants, parks and beaches. Subscribers will be able to find the nearest WiFi hotspots by visiting the WiFi homepage of their current cable provider or going to www.cablewifi.com

This is the largest and most inclusive WiFi sharing effort among cable operators to date. In early 2010, Cablevision, Comcast and Time Warner Cable entered into an agreement allowing their customers in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Connecticut to access WiFi hotspots offered by each operator in these areas.

[Source: CableWiFi via BGR]

Abhiroop Basu
Abhiroop Basu is an opinionated tech and digital media blogger. As a doe-eyed twenty-something he started his first blog TechComet to comment on anything tech-related that caught his omniscient eye. Since then he has blogged for Android Police, Make Tech Easier, and This Green Machine. In the real world, Abhiroop Basu is a resident of Singapore and the Editor of The Digit, a subsidiary of The Potato Productions Group.

  • cody kain

    about time now if they would
    cut deals with cell providers as well or something... i saw that they
    have this over in Europe before and thought it was a great idea or
    something similar to this unless i misunderstood the websites :p.
    However with tiered data on most cell
    providers this is smart as hell not like cable internet is cheap if you
    pay for fast speeds. Glad to see my money isnt going to waste sucks it
    is only in certain cities though. hope they roll out more places as time
    goes on. :)

  • http://twitter.com/aosmitty andy smith

    Isn't this a step and a half from what earthlink tried so many years ago - creating a wifi network for users out in the wild?  How is this significantly different?

    • cody kain

       because many companies are behind it instead of just one lol

  • http://digg.com/users/OmegaWolf Silver Fang

    Now if only there were a free equivalent.

    • http://openid-provider.appspot.com/TheMerkinman Merk

       Entitlement much?

  • Nex1

    I cant wait to get back from oversea's to give this a try. I live in the Tampa area. Woot!

  • Munsoned

    Well, this is only good if you are in L.A. or in the respective NYC/Philly areas. I'm looking at a coverage map via Time Warner and Comcast and I don't see coverage anywhere else; the Same with Optimum. Bright House seems to be strictly in the Florida/Alabama area. You have more coverage with Cox. I'm not going to hold my breath on this one. I imagine the coverage will grow over the next few years. I'm not too excited about this because I'm satellite. Not to mention, I'm boycotting Comcast with the way they screwed up the network and badge change about 5+ years ago when Time Warner switched to the Comcast network. Service in just about every area sucked, and from what people have told me that are current customers, still sucks. The "COOL NEW BADGING" to XFINITY doesn't hide the fact that they still pissed of their customer base in my area, AND it’s one of the major metropolitans.

  • Brandon Anderson

    I wouldn't exactly say it works "Across the US"

  • http://www.newsgroupservers.net/ TC

    My biggest concern is spoofers.  

    I can imagine it won't be hard for someone to carry a wireless access point in their car and broadcast a "CableWiFi" SSID.  Simply duplicate the official logon page, and get people to enter their cable company user ID and password without even having an internet connection after they're done.  
    Heck - they could even provide a valid connection once they get the user id's and passwords just to snag all their activity.
    Hopefully the consortium has already built in safeguards and will properly educate its customers to minimize the risk.

    • http://meatcastle.com/ Youre My Boy Bloo

      That's a really good idea. I think I will do it.

    • FirefighterMatt56

      I always look at the url before logging in to anything. It has saved my rear once (not in this case). No one will be able to replicate the URL.

      • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

        Completely wrong.  If I control any part of the route between you and the internet at large, I can spoof anything you try to see...it's very commonly referred to as a man-in-the-middle attack.  This is actually how all connect-then-log-in services already work, they intercept any attempt to connect to anything and then feed you a redirect to a url they've crafted (it didn't used to be this way, they used to just feed a page to you with the url you'd requested...some hotels still do this...but it tends to be confusing, breaks some services and make customers really angry).  Security Certificates go a long way in preventing this, but total end-to-end control like this makes certificates substantially less reliable (and many people ignore them anyway).

      • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

        Completely wrong.  If I control any part of the route between you and the internet at large, I can spoof anything you try to see...it's very commonly referred to as a man-in-the-middle attack.  This is actually how all connect-then-log-in services already work, they intercept any attempt to connect to anything and then feed you a redirect to a url they've crafted (it didn't used to be this way, they used to just feed a page to you with the url you'd requested...some hotels still do this...but it tends to be confusing, breaks some services and make customers really angry).  Security Certificates go a long way in preventing this, but total end-to-end control like this makes certificates substantially less reliable (and many people ignore them anyway).

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/abhiroop-basu/ Abhiroop Basu

          I think the eventual goal of CableWifi is to use some kind of enterprise authentication (such as SSA) to ensure that the credentials are stored on your device and automatically transferred to the hotspot. So, there should not be any need for a browser.

          • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

            I'm not doubting/questioning that there will be an eventual solution, hopefully one that doesn't require custom software (because that quickly excludes large batches of users based on OS, especially on tablets and phones).  Also, with luck, they will figure out a real solution sooner rather than later.
            I'm just correcting a dangerous misconception that looking at a URL is fool-proof. If your connection to the internet is compromised then technically there's very little you can be completely confident of.

  • Frank Bales

    Figures that Charter's not one of the companies.  I wish there was a reliable, and affordable, national wifi system. I can dream can't I? 

  • FirefighterMatt56

    Ive actually had this in my area for a few months through Dim Shack (Bright House). It works decently well. Its nice to have internet on my Transformer Prime while in the city.

  • Jammer

    You mean free if you already pay? :scratches head:

  • Unhappybirthday

    There are some serious anti-competitive problems with this deal...

    http://act2.freepress.net/letter/verizon_spectrum_co_letter/

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