Time Warner Cable's Cerbone dishes on Wi-Fi, cellular and the need for unlicensed spectrum

Tammy Parker, FierceWirelessTech

Trying to get executives from leading cable operators to spill the goods regarding the likelihood that their Wi-Fi networks might someday provide head-to-head competition against cellular networks has become something of a parlor game for analysts and media. I, too, gave it a shot when I recently got the opportunity to speak with Rob Cerbone, vice president of wireless products at Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC).

Cerbone responded that there might be lots of ways for TWC to monetize its Wi-Fi footprint in the future once various technical roadblocks are solved. But he insisted that for now, the MSO is content to roll out Wi-Fi hotspots as a way to provide value-added, nomadic wireless service for its fixed broadband customers.

"For us, Wi-Fi is our network. While we have a partnership with Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) for our customers that want a mobile offering, our wireless network today is our Wi-Fi network," he told me.

Cerbone also discussed TWC's Wi-Fi rollout roadmap for the rest of this year and explained why TWC is supporting the WiFiForward coalition, which is calling for policymakers to open up more unlicensed spectrum for Wi-Fi and other uses. For more comments from Rob Cerbone, check out this FierceWirelessTech On the Hot Seat feature. --Tammy