Cablevision announced a major expansion of their mesh Wi-Fi network, Optimum WiFi, which is now operational in many parts of its New York market. Optimum WiFi will deliver symmetrical 1.5 Mbps service throughout Cablevision’s footprint. The expansion includes commercial and high-traffic areas of Nassau County, in areas of Suffolk County, and on the commuter rail platforms and station parking lots across all of Long Island. “We believe free and broadly available WiFi access will become an important and popular enhancement for our Optimum Online customers. Just a few months into our Optimum WiFi deployment, we have already built and activated the nation’s largest and most advanced consumer WiFi network, which will continue to grow and expand, ultimately allowing Optimum customers to bring the superior Internet experience they enjoy at home with them across our entire service area,” said Tom Rutledge, Cablevision’s chief operating officer in a company statement. Cablevision intends to spend $300 million on the project.
Cablevision has an impressive track record, with industry leading penetration of broadband and voice services on a homes passed basis. Expanding the broadband experience beyond the home is a smart move. Cablevision hopes to leverage the proliferation of wi-fi enabled devices among everyday consumers, including laptops, smartphones, mobile Internet devices, and digital cameras. Providing the means for portable broadband connectivity as a free value add to existing broadband subscribers will help strengthen Cablevisions “Optimum” brand and value proposition with existing and potential customers. Whether it can match up with pending 4G plans from its competitors remains to be seen. But, in true Cablevision fashion, they’re not waiting around to find out.