Canada's Shaw chooses Wi-Fi as primary wireless technology

Taking a page from Cablevision in the U.S., Canadian cable company Shaw Communications announced it will adopt Wi-Fi has its primary wireless strategy.

The company said it completed a strategic review of its wireless business opportunity--including the potential value of wireless in the traditional cable bundle. It concluded that Wi-Fi offered a cheaper and more viable alternative.

"A wireless offering could give us a platform to extend our services and leverage our broadband, video, voice and content/programming businesses. However, the economics of a conventional wireless business as a new entrant are extremely challenging," the company said in a release. "New entrants lack the economies of scale and scope to compete effectively against well established incumbents with ubiquitous coverage, extensive device ecosystems, deep spectrum positions and large retail networks. Even with our established base and considerable strengths and assets, we could not justify a wireless network build at this time."

Shaw's reasons for moving to Wi-Fi include the fact that Wi-Fi technology has improved significantly in terms of throughput, coverage and reliability. It also cited the technology's ability to provide seamless hand-off and serve as an offload network for mobile operators. "In addition, given that Wi-Fi spectrum is free and there are no device subsidies, we can build extensive Wi-Fi coverage at a substantially lower cost relative to a traditional wireless network and still provide our customers with an excellent broadband wireless experience," the company said.

For more:
- see this release

Related articles:
Shaw posts markedly better third quarter results
Shaw backs down (somewhat) and raises data caps
Cablevision dedicates video channel to its WiFi buildout

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