Comcast has widened its wireless reach with the launch of Xfinity Wi-Fi -- with more than 2,000 wireless hotspots in its Philadelphia, New Jersey and Maryland operating area -- a service that lets broadband customers tap into Internet access in public places for no additional charge.
The MSO expects to add another 1,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in the area, which it calls the "Freedom Region," before the end of the year, but does not currently plan to launch Wi-Fi in other markets or nationally at this time, according to spokesman Charlie Douglas.
Comcast serves about 2.5 million customers in the greater Philadelphia area, New Jersey and northern Delaware. The MSO's broadband customers already have access to thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots in the New York metro area for no additional fee, through reciprocal agreements with Cablevision Systems and Time Warner Cable.
Separately, Comcast resells 4G wireless broadband services provided through its stake in Clearwire, whose other investors include Sprint, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Google and Intel, and offers 3G-only data plans in some markets through Sprint. Comcast positions the High-Speed 2go services, which start at $40 per month, as mobile extensions of the wired broadband.
In the Freedom Region, the Comcast Wi-Fi network is available in parks, commuter rail stations, shopping districts and beachfront boardwalks. For example, in Philadelphia, hotspots are located at SEPTA's Suburban and Market East stations, many train platforms along the Paoli/Landsdale and the Manayunk/Norristown Line (formerly R6), the Wells Fargo Center and the South Street shopping district, as well as in the suburbs of Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware and Chester counties.
In New Jersey, the MSO has Wi-Fi access points in Berkeley Heights, Livingston, Long Branch, Montclair, New Brunswick, Perth Amboy, Red Bank, Rumson, Summit and Trenton, plus many towns along the Jersey Shore. Wi-Fi access has been available to N.J. Transit passengers in northern New Jersey since a trial started more than a year ago. Additional hotspots have also launched in and around Wilmington, Delaware.
"With the explosion of wireless Internet devices, new platforms and apps, consumers are increasingly looking to enjoy entertainment and communications on the go," said Cathy Avgiris, Comcast's senior vice president and general manager of communications and data services. "We offer some of the fastest Internet speeds in the home and, by offering Xfinity Wi-Fi, we're also providing a fast wireless Internet experience for our customers when they are outside the home."
A coverage map showing Wi-Fi hotspots available to Comcast customers is available at: www.xfinity.com/wifi.