Time Warner Cable has sparked a plan to launch a city-wide Wi-Fi network in Austin, Texas, a move that coincidentally comes soon after Austin became one of Google Fiber’s next build out targets.
The MSO has already deployed a “limited number” of hotspots in Austin at popular, high traffic areas such as Zilker Park and Barton Springs. TWC has plans to deploy at least 1,000 access points in Austin in 2013, a spokesman says. Ruckus Wireless is the MSO's access point supplier in the market.
The resulting network will provide free access to TW Cable's residential cable modem customers (Standard Internet tier or above) and to its business service customers. Time Warner Cable is also offering free trials and prepaid access options starting at $2.95 per hour.
Comcast, Cox Communications, Cablevision Systems and Bright House broadband subs will also have free access thanks to a cross-MSO “CableWiFi” roaming partnership announced in May 2012.
TW Cable ended 2012 with more than 11,000 Wi-Fi hotspots deployed, with about 10,000 of them coming way of its Los Angeles system. It has also launched a Wi-Fi app in tandem with Israeli startup WeFi that helps customers identify the best available Wi-Fi signal available in a given area.
According to the latest figures from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, U.S. cable MSOs have combined to deploy more than 120,000 Wi-Fi hot-spots. Cablevision’s Wi-Fi network in its tri-state region in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut is home to about 75,000 hotspots. Written testimony this week from Comcast revealed that the MSO has deployed more than 55,000 hotspots, more than double the 25,000 it had installed by the end of 2012.