Just in time for summer, Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) says it has expanded its outdoor Wi-Fi network to three new cities--Dallas and San Antonio in Texas and Raleigh, N.C., so it now offers more than 100,000 TWC Wi-Fi Hotspots across its national Wi-Fi network.
TWC Internet customers also can get access to one of the nation's largest free Wi-Fi hotspot networks, Cable WiFi, totaling more than 400,000 hotspots in major cities across the country. That network is made possible through a partnership involving TWC and Bright House Networks, Cox Communications, Optimum and Xfinity.
Last year, TWC Internet customers engaged in more than 180 million Wi-Fi sessions on its network, a 327 percent increase over the previous year, said Rob Cerbone, VP of Wireless Product Management for Time Warner Cable, in a press release.
During panel discussions at the Wi-Fi Innovation Summit in San Mateo, Calif., in April, Cerbone and other leaders in the Wi-Fi industry talked about some of the remaining pain points that exist in Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi industry is trying to solve a lot of problems with Hotspot 2.0 and Passpoint to get the experience as seamless as possible and in many ways, more like cellular.
Part of the challenge is a lot of companies in the Wi-Fi space also have competing business strategies, Cerbone noted during a panel discussion with T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) and Boingo Wireless. "It's unfortunate that if I have a customer and they're a T-Mobile customer and they're a Time Warner Cable customer, we should be able to figure out how to make those two things work together seamlessly, so the customer doesn't have to go figure all that out and provision it on their own," he said. Getting things to work more seamlessly is probably more about business issues than technical issues, he added.
Time Warner Cable launched its TWC WiFi network in Los Angeles in 2011 so that customers could get the most out of their TWC home Internet subscription when they're on the go. Those hotspots are being upgraded to Hotspot 2.0, Release 2, but there's no timetable as of yet, a spokeswoman told FierceWirelessTech.
The access points in these new markets are being provided by Ruckus Wireless. The newest hotspots are Hotspot 2.0-compliant but not with Release 2. Ruckus just introduced its Hotspot 2.0, Release 2 product last month. Release 2 introduces standardized credential management, so that it's easier for network operators to manage all devices and for consumers to use hotspots. Unique to Ruckus is the ability to use social media logins, like Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), LinkedIn and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), thereby making it easier for users to log in without going through a series of steps every single time.
TWC says it has continued to build its outdoor network in areas where its customers live, work and play with expansions to New York City, Austin, Kansas City, Charlotte, Myrtle Beach, San Diego, Palm Springs, Hawaii and more recently, the Dallas, San Antonio and Raleigh additions. TWC also has hotspots available nationwide throughout TWC service areas in indoor locations where customers are likely to dwell, including restaurants, hair salons, shopping malls, gyms and transportation hubs.
TWC's partnership with Boingo means TWC Internet customers can get free Wi-Fi access at more than 100 premium Boingo locations, including 25 airports in the U.S. Nearly all of the TWC WiFi Hotspots as well as the Boingo locations are Passpoint-enabled so that customers can securely roam and seamlessly connect to the TWC WiFi-Passpoint and Boingo "Passpoint Secure" networks.
"The ability to use free Wi-Fi at the beach, a park, the airport, a neighborhood coffee shop or even your dentist's office can make a big difference in what you save each month by not using cellular data," Cerbone said in the release.
- see the release
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Time Warner Cable, Ruckus and others voice support for Release 2 of HotSpot 2.0
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