Cablevision Widens Its Wi-Fi Net

Cablevision Systems Corp.'s Wi-Fi network has expanded to 75,000 hotspots across its tri-state region in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and says more than 1 million of its cable modem customers have tried it so far, the company announced Monday.

The expansion is up from the 35,000 indoor and outdoor hotspots the MSO had deployed as of last June when Cablevision launched an ad campaign featuring "HotSpot" the dog designed to educate customers on Cablevision's growing Wi-Fi network.  Ericsson and Cisco System Inc. are among the hotspot suppliers of Cablevision's Wi-Fi network, which delivers speeds up to 15 Mbit/s downstream and 4 Mbit/s upstream.

Cablevision and other cable operators are using their Wi-Fi networks to add value to their wired broadband services.  Cablevision is also touting them as a faster and less expensive option than 3G and 4G cellular data services that are often subject to data usage caps.

"Using Optimum WiFi can help reduce dependence on overpriced, slower, and constrained cellular data networks and mobile data plans that come with steep overage charges. We are pleased that more than one million of our customers are enjoying the many benefits of Optimum WiFi, with the vast majority using the service on a regular basis," said Cablevision senior vice president of broadband product management Gemma Toner, in a statement.

Cablevision's expansion will also benefit cable modem customers of the MSO's Wi-Fi roaming partners: Comcast, Bright House Networks, Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable. Among the group, TW Cable ended 2012 with more than 11,000 Wi-Fi hotspots deployed, with 10,000 of them coming way of its Los Angeles cable system.

According to the latest figures from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, U.S. cable MSOs have combined to deploy about 120,000 Wi-Fi hot-spots so far.