Cable Companies to Expand WiFi

Nationwide deal is largest Internet service pact ever

Five of the nation's largest cable companies have agreed to connect their WiFi networks, giving their Internet customers access to metro WiFi through more than 50,000 hotspots in the New York City area, Los Angeles, Tampa, Orlando and Philadelphia. The service, available to subscribers whenever they roam outside their own cable system, will be dubbed "CableWiFi."

The announcement was made this morning by Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable, coinciding with the opening of the industry's annual cable show in Boston.

Earlier this month, Cablevision and Bright House Networks launched CableWiFi alongside their branded WiFi Networks in the New York City area and central Florida. The other companies will be rolling out the service over the next few months.

The new service represents the largest WiFi sharing effort among cable operators to date and is part of the industry's strategy to position itself as more than just a pay TV service.

"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.

Plans are for the cable companies to grow the number of WiFi hotspots and expand into additional cities.