Large cable MSOs (multi service Operators), together with several major IT firms and telecom organizations, have formed an alliance to free up spectrums in order to expand WiFi support network in Washington D.C.
The major participants in this alliance called “WifiForward” include Cable TV operators Comcast Corp. (CMCSA - Analyst Report), Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC - Analyst Report) and Charter Communications Inc. (CHTR - Analyst Report), IT firms Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., and telecom organization Consumer Electronics Association, among others.
“WifiForward” aims to protect and strengthen existing unlicensed spectrums, free up new spectrums to use at several different frequency bands and establish rules to encourage growth and deployment of WiFi networks.
Recently, research firm WeFi Inc. reported that the number of commercial WiFi hotspots is expected to reach 10.55 million in 2018 in the U.S. Earlier, WeFi had reported that the amount of mobile data offloaded in WiFi networks had jumped a tremendous 875% in the U.S. in 2013.
Sharing of WiFi networks by cable TV operators is not new in the U.S. In 2012, five cable large TV operators created a web access network called “CableWiFi”. The firms include Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC - Analyst Report), Cox Communications Inc. and Bright House Networks LLC.
Subscribers of these cable MSOs can access the Internet through laptops, smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices through a nationwide shared network of more than 200,000 WiFi hotspots in metro areas. This also allows the subscribers to access the Internet from any location.
Cable MSOs throughout the U.S. are facing increasing competition from telecom operators, satellite TV providers and online video streaming service providers.
Roaming WiFi connectivity is likely to become a huge opportunity for cable MSOs to minimize their respective customer churn rate. In addition to retail consumers, the business enterprises are likely to become major growth accelerators for mobile WiFi hotspot.