Comcast, taking a page out of Cablevision Systems' play book, is experimenting with offering free wireless Internet service to broadband subscribers in parts of New Jersey.
Cablevision last year embarked on a plan to roll out free Wi-Fi access to existing high-speed Internet subscribers in commercial and high-consumer-traffic areas across its entire New York metro service area, a project budgeted at more than $300 million.
Comcast has copied the idea, having set up access points at about 100 New Jersey Transit stations, located in the Main-Bergen County, Glen Rock, the Montclair-Boonton area, Morris, Essex, the North Jersey Coast, Pascack Valley, Raritan Valley and along the Northeast Corridor.
In addition, as part of the trial, each MSO is cross-honoring the other's subscribers so that a Comcast customer can access Cablevision Wi-Fi access points and vice versa.
Comcast's trial service, like Cablevision's Optimum Wi-Fi, will provide 1.5 Mbps download speeds to existing cable-modem subscribers using laptops or other Wi-Fi-enabled devices.
The story was first reported Friday by BroadbandReports.com and was confirmed by Comcast representatives.
Separately, Comcast has invested $1.05 billion in Clearwire, which plans to deploy a nationwide WiMax high-speed wireless service offering up to 6 Mbps.