Comcast is raising the stakes on its Wi-Fi game by drawing a bead on 8 million hotspots by the end of this year.
Those 8 million access points, which will emanate from businesses, outdoor locations and neighborhood hotspots with second SSIDs in customers’ gateways, are slated for 19 of the country’s 30 largest cities. Earlier this month, Comcast announced it had surpassed 1 million Xfinity WiFi hotspots.
Comcast is taking its Wi-Fi ambitions coast-to-coast with the new access points scheduled in, among other locations, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Hartford, Houston, Indianapolis, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C.
“Wireless access is increasingly important to our customers, and we are building a network that not only meets today’s needs but also stays ahead of tomorrow’s demands,” said Marcien Jenckes, executive vice president of consumer services for Comcast Cable. “Xfinity WiFi is a reliable, fast resource for millions of customers who want access to the Internet, anytime, anywhere. We’ll add millions more hotspots this year in the places where our customers live and work.”
Comcast customers are tapping into Wi-Fi at an increased rate as the company estimated that nearly 200 million out-of-home sessions have been initiated on its network this year, which is a 700 percent increase over the same period last year. According to research by Cisco, 88 percent of all U.S. data traffic on mobile and portable devices will travel over Wi-Fi by 2018.
Yesterday the NCTA announced at The Cable Show that the CableWiFi Alliance’s total number of hotspots stood at 250,000. Two years ago, Comcast, Cablevision, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks announced the alliance that allows their subscribers to roam on the other providers’ access points when they’re out of footprint for their own.
Comcast’s neighborhood hotspots aren’t included in the CableWiFI Alliance’s numbers.