June 29, 2009

Comcast To Unveil New Wireless Web Service On 4G Network

Comcast announced on Monday it is introducing a wireless service that will allow subscribers to access the Web beyond their homes anywhere in the U.S., Reuters reported.

The company said the new fourth-generation (4G) wireless service is its first joint development between Clearwire Corp and other companies that use the emerging WiMax high-speed mobile technology.

Comcast, Time Warner Cable and other companies are looking to develop technologies that don't restrict subscriber access to the home, as many consumers already update their blogs and watch videos using their mobile phones.

"Comcast High-Speed 2go," is expected to deliver data to laptops, netbooks and other devices over a wireless network at speeds faster than what is currently available.

While existing 3G wireless networks typically offer download speeds between 1 and 1.5 megabits a second, Comcast said it will offer download speeds as high as 4 megabits per second.

Cablevision Systems offers mobile Internet service via Wi-Fi, a short-range service typically limited to a home, restaurant or "hotspot."

Comcast said its "Comcast High-Speed 2go" officially launches on Tuesday in Portland, Oregon and is expected to expand to Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia before 2010.

When bundled with home Internet service, subscribers can receive a Metro version of the data card, which is typically installed into a laptop to allow wireless Internet access, for an additional $49.99 a month. The Metro version will only work within the 4G metropolitan coverage area.

However, subscribers can access the Internet via Sprint Nextel Corp's 3G network in places where the 4G network is not available for $69.99 a month.

Although the technology is currently still unproven, the hotly anticipated WiMax is expected to blanket entire cities with Web access for mobile devices at speeds up to five times faster than traditional wireless networks.

Cable companies are hoping that Clearwire, founded by wireless pioneer Craig McCaw, will help them resolve their long-running wireless conundrum. The cable industry is also trying to figure out ways to make more video available beyond traditional TV sets.

Both Comcast and Time Warner announced last week they are testing ways to allow people to watch more TV shows over the Web, while making sure they keep paying for their traditional cable or satellite TV services.

Comcast's new wireless service will likely be marketed as a way for subscribers to watch their favorite shows anywhere in the country.


On the Net: