Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision subscribers will be able to roam for free across each other’s Wi-Fi hotspots in the New York City metropolitan area.
With the agreement, subscribers will be able to use their Wi-Fi-enabled devices, such as iPhones, iPads, Blackberrys and laptops, from Manhattan to the Jersey Shore or the Hamptons.
Between them, the cable operators have deployed thousands of Wi-Fi access points across the market as a complement to subscribers’ existing data services. Each access point displays authentication options for all three Wi-Fi services – Optimum Wi-Fi, Time Warner Cable Wi-Fi and Xfinity Wi-Fi – allowing customers to use their own provider's sign-on process to get online.
Cablevision has about 2.5 million high-speed Internet subscribers in the area, while Time Warner Cable has roughly 1 million. Comcast’s footprint doesn’t extend into the New York City metropolitan area, but it has subscribers in New Jersey and Connecticut.
Time Warner Cable first announced its Wi-Fi service in the New York City area in March, which also included access to Cablevision’s hotspots.
Earlier this year, Cablevision launched an automatic sign-in feature that allows its users to automatically connect after their initial sign-ins.
Cablevision’s Optimum Wi-Fi offering, which is also free to its data subscribers, launched in 2008 with an estimated price tag of $300 million.
Time Warner Cable and Cablevision are both competing with Verizon throughout the New York City metropolitan area, while Verizon is a competitor for Comcast in New Jersey and Connecticut.