April 28, 2013
With New Wi-Fi Hotspots, Time Warner Goes Head-To-Head With Google Fiber In Austin
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Time Warner Cable (TWC) has announced they will be bringing free Wi-Fi hot spots to customers in Austin, Texas — just days after a press conference revealed the Lone Star State capital would be one of the US cities receiving Google Fiber high-speed broadband internet service.
According to CNET´s Dara Kerr, the new hot-spot network will be free to all Time Warner customers with a Standard Internet plan or above, as well as to the company´s Business Class subscribers. Non-customers can gain access to the Wi-Fi network for a fee of $2.95 per hour, which will be expanded throughout Austin over the rest of the year.
The timing of the announcement is not coincidental, Time Warner officials admit.
“We´ve been rolling out our free WiFi network across our footprint for some time now, as part of our larger strategy to offer significantly more value to our Internet subscribers,” Digital Communications Director Jeff Simmermon said in a Wednesday blog post. “Austin was in the game plan for 2013. But Google´s recent announcement encouraged us to deploy our network more aggressively now. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we´re ready to compete.
“Even more good news: our Internet customers also have access to the nation´s largest free WiFi Hotspot network, with over 100,000 hotspots, through the CableWiFi network name,” he added. “The network enables TWC Internet customers to access the hotspots operated by TWC and other cable companies in major cities across the country including New York City; Los Angeles; Chicago; Philadelphia; Atlanta; Baltimore; Boston; Washington, DC; San Francisco; Orlando; Tampa, Kansas City, Charlotte and more.”
Time Warner is not the only cable provider to offer Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the US, as rivals such as Cablevision and Comcast do so as well, HNGN´s Robert Christie explained. However, Christie said, it remains to be seen whether or not TWC´s newly expanded free hotspot program will win over Austin customers and keep them from investing in Google´s one gigabit broadband service, which will cost users approximately $70 per month.
Simmermon said TWC is planning to roll out new Wi-Fi hotspots at Lamar, Congress, 5th and 6th Streets in Austin. Time Warner subscribers will need to log-in using the same username and password used to manage their current accounts, and an app is available in the Google Play and Apple App Stores to help individuals locate the company´s Wi-Fi hotspots, he added.