It is no secret that cable operators in the United States and elsewhere are rapidly deploying millions of private and public Wi-Fi hotspots. Though cable MSO executives often contend the primary reason for their interest in Wi-Fi is to keep their customers satisfied, many industry observers suggest there is an even bigger plan that could impact traditional cellular operators and potentially alter the overall wireless industry landscape. FierceWirelessTech has talked to a number of experts to nail down the top five motivators for cable companies to become Wi-Fi providers.
The recent report that Apple's late cofounder Steve Jobs hoped to encourage wireless router makers to include a "guest network" option so Wi-Fi's footprint could be spread exponentially is helping focus more attention on Hotspot 2.0, which enables seamless roaming between Wi-Fi networks and also enables seamless data roaming between Wi-Fi and cellular networks. But recent comments from industry executives indicate Hotspot 2.0 has yet to gain widespread adoption, though its impact could be expansive in the future.
Hotspot 2.0 Wi-Fi technology now has a large-scale municipal footprint in San Francisco and San Jose, Calif., thanks to the efforts of both cities in partnership with equipment vendor Ruckus Wireless and Global Reach, which is providing device provisioning and unified authentication services.
Google is reportedly preparing to subsidize commercial-grade Wi-Fi gear and software for small- and medium-size businesses, possibly in exchange for having Wi-Fi users use their Google accounts to sign into those businesses' Wi-Fi hotspots, which will in turn help Google better target advertising to them.
Rob Cerbone runs all of Time Warner Cable's wireless activities, including the company's relationship with Verizon Wireless and certain mobile apps, such as TWC's WiFi Finder. For Cerbone's comments on TWC's 2014 wireless roadmap, including his thoughts on Hotspot 2.0 technology, check out this Hot Seat interview.
According to documents unearthed by Computerworld, Google may add Wi-Fi capabilities to its rollout of fiber connections in select cities across the country.
Time Warner Cable thinks of Hotspot 2.0 Wi-Fi access points as "complementary" to a cellular contract, but not likely as a replacement, according to CEO Rob Marcus. Hotspot 2.0, Marcus said in prepared remarks during an analyst conference, "will make our ever-expanding Wi-Fi network more secure and even easier to use." It also "makes our HSD (high-speed data) product more valuable," he added later.
Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus sees the MSO's focus on HotSpot 2.0 Wi-Fi access points as "complementary" to a cellular contract, but not likely a replacement, he said during an analysts' conference call this morning.
Time Warner Cable has taken the nationwide plunge and is making HotSpot 2.0 technology available on most of the 33,000-plus access points where it has also launched TWCWiFi-Passpoint security.
Time Warner Cable confirmed its rollout out of "TWCWiFi-Passpoint," a national Wi-Fi network that includes Hotspot 2.0 technology on most of its public access points as well as upgraded encryption.