Qwest is preparing to automatically give its customers free unlimited access to Wi-Fi across the country.
Public Wi-Fi hotspot networks have become a competitive must-have. Several MSOs are similarly offering Wi-Fi. For example, Bright House Networks runs a network of Wi-Fi hotspots, Cablevision is expanding its hotspot network and Comcast has embarked on building a Wi-Fi network, as well.
Verizon is negotiating Wi-Fi access too, according to The Wall Street Journal (story here; registration required).
Qwest accomplished the feat by negotiating access to AT&T’s approximately 17,000 Wi-Fi hotspots. That includes hotspots at Starbucks and McDonald’s.
Qwest did not offer any details on the structure of its arrangement with AT&T.
Qwest sponsored a customer survey, one result of which was that Qwest customers wanted wider Internet access. Dan Yost, executive vice president for Qwest’s Mass Markets Organization, said: “Our study showed that nearly half of all respondents get ‘antsy,’ in about an hour, if they can’t check e-mail, social networking sites or instant messaging. Our free solution keeps Qwest customers connected.”
All current and new Qwest high-speed internet customers are automatically eligible and can look for the “QwestWiFi” service set identifier or SSID, which will be rolling out to venues over the next couple of weeks.