), the largest cable MSO (multi service operator) in the U.S., is
aggressively expanding its WiFi home hotspots network. WiFi has
become the major source of Comcast to offer wireless services to
subscribers. At the end of 2013, the company had over 350,000
WiFi home hotspots and plans to achieve 1 million WiFi
connections activation in 2014.
In 2013, Comcast sold the wireless spectrums it horded through
the SpectrumCo venture to
Verizon Communications Inc.
). After that, the company is emphasizing on WiFi home hotspot
network to offer wireless services. Comcast currently has a Zacks
Rank #3 (Hold).
Large cable MSOs together with several major IT firms and
telecom organizations has formed an alliance to free up spectrums
in order to expand WiFi support network in Washington D.C. The
major participants in this alliance called "WifiForward" include
cable TV operators Comcast,
Time Warner Cable Inc.
) and Charter Communications
) and Microsoft Corp., and telecom organization Consumer
Electronics Association, among others.
"WifiForward" aims to protect and strengthen existing
unlicensed spectrums, free up new spectrums to use at several
different frequency bands and establish rules to encourage growth
and deployment of WiFi networks. Research firm WeFi Inc. reported
that the number of commercial WiFi hotspots is expected to reach
10.55 million in 2018 in the U.S. Earlier, WeFi had reported that
the amount of mobile data offloaded in WiFi networks jumped a
tremendous 875% in the U.S. in 2013.
Sharing of WiFi networks by cable TV operators is not new in
the U.S. In 2012, five cable large TV operators created a web
access network called "CableWiFi". The firms include Comcast,
Time Warner Cable, Cablevision Systems, Cox Communications Inc.
and Bright House Networks LLC.
Subscribers of these cable MSOs can access the Internet
through laptops, smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices
through a nationwide shared network of more than 250,000 public
WiFi hotspots in metro areas also allows the subscribers to
access the Internet from any location.
Cable MSOs throughout the U.S. are facing intense competition
from telecom operators, satellite TV providers and online video
streaming service providers. Roaming WiFi connectivity is likely
to become a huge opportunity for cable MSOs to minimize their
respective customer churn rate. In addition to retail consumers,
the business enterprises are likely to become major growth
accelerator for mobile WiFi hotspot.
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