Broadband Reports that Comcast is testing Wi-Fi for its customers: Karl Bode gets Comcast to confirm a trial that the company is offering at New Jersey Transit stations. Comcast has been talking to Cablevision about how its program works. Cablevision has committed to a 2-year, $300m rollout of Wi-Fi across much of its New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut territory, offering service only to cable broadband subscribers but at no additional cost.
Cablevision is using Wi-Fi as a tool to attract and retain customers, estimating that its costs are about $100 per household. That's far less than the cost to acquire or re-acquire a customer that shifts to a fiber-based TV offering or satellite, or one that unplugs entirely.
As is the case with large cable operators (multiple service operators or MSOs), which have franchises all over the place, Cablevision and Comcast are perhaps technically competitors, but don't really geographically compete. Cablevision and Comcast's true competition is AT&T and Verizon, along with other IPTV providers.
Cable firms have an advantage in already having a high-voltage powered plant over the territory they cover. Adding Wi-Fi nodes, especially the cable-plant compatible BelAir nodes that Cablevision chose, is therefore a substantially easier undertaking. Depending on the area, cable firms may already have the necessary rights of way and equipment-hanging privileges to put up Wi-Fi nodes--a problem that dogged the 2005 to 2007 wave of metro-scale Wi-Fi deployments.