TWC WiFiOn the heels of Google’s launch of its “fiberhood” fiber-optic service a few weeks ago in Kansas City, Time Warner Cable is turning on free Wi-Fi hotspots for its subscribers and launching its low-cost Starter Internet tier in the area.

Time Warner Cable rolled out its TWC WiFi service, which is free to subscribers with Standard and above data plans, in 14 locations yesterday, including River Market, Crossroads District/Downtown Kansas City, 18th and Vine District, Brookside, Waldo, Westport, and Loose Park. Time Warner Cable, which had its biggest Wi-Fi deployment last year in its Los Angeles footprint, said it would be enabling more hotspots in Kansas City going forward.

“Time Warner Cable is committed to making Internet access fast, easy and available when and where customers want it,” said Perry Watson, TWC area vice president of operations. “Today, people are on the go but still want to remain connected, and TWC WiFi is the perfect fit for customers with an active lifestyle.”

In addition to Los Angeles, Time Warner Cable customers also have access to more than 60,000 TWC WiFi and partner hotspots across the country in cities such as New York, Charlotte, Detroit, Indianapolis and Tampa through roaming partnerships with Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Bright House Networks, Cablevision and Cox Communications.

Time Warner Cable also announced it would provide free TWC WiFi Hotspots to any of the company’s business-class high-speed data customers in the Kansas City area. These hotspots are available now to local businesses throughout the metro area and serve as an indoor extension of the TWC WiFi network in Kansas City.

“Time Warner Cable is striving to bring the Internet to our customers wherever and whenever they want to use it, and TWC WIFi Hotspots for Business are a great step in that direction,” said Paul Robinson, regional vice president of business services for Time Warner Cable. “The Wi-Fi benefits our customers and is great for our business-class partners, as well, because it will help drive additional traffic to their locations.”

TWC WiFi Hotspots for Business allow any business-class customer to host a TWC WiFi access point inside their business. TWC provides all hardware, including a dedicated cable modem with free dedicated bandwidth and all necessary cabling and power adaptors, and TWC also provides 24/7 support for all TWC WiFi Hotspots for Business.

Wi-Fi users in the Kansas City area that aren’t Time Warner Cable subscribers, or who don’t have a qualifying data plan, can use the network by paying for a TWC WiFI Access Pass, which feature various time blocks options.

Time Warner Cable is using gear from Ruckus Wireless to provision its Wi-Fi service in Kansas City.

Time Warner Cable’s Starter Internet tier is also now available to eligible families in the Kansas City area. Starter Internet, which costs $10 a month for up to two years, features download speeds of up to 5 Mbps. Starter Internet customers in the Kansas City area will also be able to access TWC WiFi at no additional charge.

“The Internet plays an essential role in the lives of Americans. Time Warner Cable is working hard to ensure that everyone has access to broadband, especially households with children who risk falling behind their peers in digital literacy,” Watson said. “In this case, doing good is also good for business, as we hope this program will help families who are currently offline understand the importance of, and appreciate the benefits of, an Internet connection.”

Nationwide, 550 schools throughout Time Warner Cable’s footprint have been selected to participate in the initial phase of the Starter Internet program. Starter Internet is being offered to families of students attending any one of the participating schools.

In the Kansas City area, 85,000 students in 190 schools and in grades ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade are eligible for the Starter Internet service. Time Warner Cable said it plans to expand Starter Internet availability to additional area school districts, with timelines to be announced at a future date.