According to a report from Dell’Oro Group, in the fourth quarter of 2008, municipal Wi-Fi contributed to more than 70 percent sequential growth in Cablevision’s net subscriber additions – a rate higher than any other cable operator in North America.
“In the two quarters since Cablevision’s rollout of Optimum Wi-Fi, a complementary outdoor Wi-Fi service for its existing broadband subscribers, Cablevision has seen a strong lift in net subscriber additions,” said Ben Kwan, analyst of wireless LAN research at Dell’Oro Group. “Cablevision’s Optimum Wi-Fi service is rekindling interest in municipal Wi-Fi applications among other large service providers, such as Comcast. For this and other reasons, we believe municipal Wi-Fi applications will become an increasingly important growth driver for the service provider mesh market in 2009,” added Kwan.
In February, it was announced that Comcast was testing a free wireless Internet service for its cable subscribers in parts of New Jersey (story here), shadowing Cablevision, which is offering Wi-Fi in its Long Island, Connecticut and Westchester markets and will complete the wireless rollout by early 2010.
Cablevision is growing its network Wi-Fi hotspots to New Jersey, as well. Both operators are setting up Wi-Fi hotspots at commuter rail stations all through New Jersey, similar to Cablevision’s network of hotspots at Long Island Railroad (LIRR) stations.
The overall service provider mesh wireless LAN market declined by almost 10 percent in the fourth quarter, but the market is expected to post double-digit growth in 2009. The report also indicated that strong, double-digit revenue growth for enterprise-grade 802.11n equipment was only able to partially offset a sharp decline in 802.11a/g equipment sales in the fourth quarter.