Horizon Chillicothe Telephone, based in Chillicothe, OH, announced the launch of a series of wireless Wi-Fi hotspots throughout their southern Ohio community. The new service, branded as Horizon View, will add wireless broadband service to Chillicothe’s bundling strategy, and will be available as a free value add feature for Chillicothe Internet subscribers. “We want our Horizon customers to be able to take their Internet service with them around town,” said Bill McKell, Horizon CEO. “As portable computers get smaller and more handheld devices, like the iPhone, prefer the fast speeds of WiFi access points, Horizon is committed to providing high-speed wireless Internet service in the places our customers visit the most.” Chillicothe hopes to have 100 wireless hotspots operating throughout their service territory by then end of the year.
This Chillicothe example illustrates the growing trend of smaller service providers, both telecom and cable, leveraging broadband wireless services to extend their value and brand. As WiMAX and other wireless broadband technologies come to market, service providers of all sizes will be pressured to include a broadband wireless option for their subscribers. The future will see further convergence of wireless and broadband, with most devices including laptops, portable media players, and cell phones (not just smartphones) having wireless broadband connectivity built directly into them. As consumers begin to become familiar with these features, demand for wireless broadband connectivity will increase dramatically.