Cablevision, a cable triple play pioneer, announced plans to launch a broadband wireless network covering their New York metro footprint within two years. The new network will be based on Wi-Fi mesh technology and will be offered at no charge to existing Cablevision customers and for a fee for non-Cablevision customers. Cablevision has about 3.3 million customers and an industry leading broadband penetration rate of 50%. This launch follows a trend by other smaller cable MSOs and broadband service providers, who see broadband wireless networks as a value add opportunity for existing customers.
This is not just about broadband Internet access though. For example, Multichannel News describes a possible scenario offered by Cisco, where “… a Wi-Fi mesh network could allow a cable operator to offer subscribers ubiquitous connectivity in a metro area for any service. For example, someone watching TV could choose to transfer the video signal to a cellular phone and walk outside if Cisco’s Cable Service Mesh is deployed in the subscriber’s neighborhood.” Applications like that could provide tangible competitive advantage. At least until Verizon integrates a similar service utilizing FiOS and LTE. With announcements like this and the recent WiMAX joint venture featuring prominent cable companies, it appears as if cable is getting their wireless mojo going.