Liberty Global envisions pan-Europe Wi-Fi network
At the CTAM EuroSummit, Liberty Global executive Peter Dorr raised the possibility of creating a pan-European Wi-Fi network that would be free to cable subscribers.
Dorr, Liberty Global’s managing director strategic marketing, sales & care, noted that Ziggo in The Netherlands has already activated nearly 1 million public Wi-Fi hotspots by partitioning residential routers and reserving part of each router’s capacity for that purpose.
Liberty Global owns UPC, the other major cable operator in the Netherlands. Using the same home router partitioning technique used by Ziggo (and several U.S. cable operators), UPC has just launched a trial of free Wi-Fi hot spots in the Netherlands where wireless internet is offered by turning home routers into hot spots. activate its own Wi-Fi hotspot network. Dorr said that might open a larger opportunity.
“Why not connect the two networks?” said Dorr, “and all of a sudden we have a free wi-fi network for all cable customers. Unlimited wireless internet at many locations with a one-off authentication. And at the next level we can do it for other countries…” Dorr’s quote was provided by EuroSummit.
Such a network would also allow for an alternative mobile phone service that would allow customers to make calls from their smartphones, perhaps at regular fixed line prices.
Dorr also spoke about Liberty Global’s Horizon multi-screen service, which is based on ActiveVideo’s cloud-based technology. Dorr said that at the rollout, customers complained about the difficulty of using the user interface (UI) – it was too slow, it required too many clicks for navigation, it lacked some important shortcuts.
Because the UI was cloud-based, however, the company was able to quickly revise it with a firmware upgrade, Dorr said. Between that and the distribution of a new remote control that incorporated several new shortcut buttons, Liberty Global was able to respond quickly to those specific complaints.
Next for Horizon is also a companion box, that pairs with the gateway to provide multi-room capability.
There were 300,000 Horizon sets in the three markers where it launched on June 30, 2013. And around 400,000 people activated the Horizon TV service. Horizon is now available in The Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland and it just launched in Germany.