Cable Show: Comcast Lights Up Wi-Fi in D.C.

MSO Deploys Nearly 3,800 Hotspots In Nation’s Capital

Washington –  Comcast said its initial rollout of a Wi-Fi network here comprises almost 3,800 Wi-Fi hotspots that are accessible by its cable modem customers, as well as customers who get service from four other MSOs that are part of the “CableWiFi” roaming consortium.

As part of a summer customer acquisition campaign, Comcast is also offering non-Xfinity Internet customers the opportunity to access the service free through Thursday, July 4.

Comcast, which timed the announcement with this week’s show, said the deployment is concentrated in parks, shopping districts, schools, and small businesses in areas such as Adams Morgan, Capitol Hill, Chinatown, Dupont Circle, Eastern Market, Georgetown, Foggy Bottom, and the U Street Corridor. 

Comcast is also bringing Wi-Fi access to surrounding metro areas in Maryland (Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Rockville, Gaithersburg and Silver Springs), and Virginia (Arlington, Old Town Alexandria, Reston, Manassas and Woodbridge).

Comcast has also rolled out its Xfinity WiFi network in Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, and parts of California, Delaware and New Jersey. Those access points are also accessible to cable modem subscribers of CableWiFi partners Cablevision Systems, Cox Communications, Bright House Networks, and Time Warner Cable.  Together, those MSOs have deployed more than 150,000 indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi hotspots.

Comcast also revealed Monday that it is pairing its Wi-Fi network strategy with a home-based, neighborhood hotspot initiative that transforms wireless gateways into quasi-public hotspots that are accessible to the MSO’s cable modem subs. That part of the plan will eventually create a network of “millions” of additional Xfinity WiFi access points for Comcast customers, the MSO said.

Although Comcast and other MSOs do offer paid access to their Wi-Fi networks, the strategy is largely viewed as a customer retention tool.