Home Control, Energy Management and Health Services On Tap For Cable Ops
Combined Wi-Fi Network has Tripled In Size Since Last Year’s Cable Confab
Washington — The MSO members of the “CableWi” roaming alliance announced Monday that they have deployed more than 150,000 hotspots combined, essentially tripling the size of the wireless broadband network since announcing the wireless broadband partnership at last year’s cable event.
Those MSOs – Cablevision Systems, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks – claim they now operate the largest Wi-Fi network in the U.S.
According to Multichannel News research and tracking, those MSOs have deployed north of 165,000 hotspots. Among individual U.S. MSOs, Cablevision, the first in the group to deploy public Wi-Fi on a broad basis, has deployed more than 80,000 hot spots.
Customers of those MSOs can tap in by logging in with their credentials when they encounter a Wi-Fi access point broadcasting the “CableWiFi” SSID. Once a device is authenticated, it will auto-connect to other CableWiFi hotspots automatically.
Together, the CableWiFi members have deployed access points in several U.S. cities, including New York City; Los Angeles; Chicago; Philadelphia; Atlanta; Baltimore; Boston; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; Orlando; Tampa; and Kansas City.
The first implementation of CableWiFi began in May 2012, when the five MSOs announced a combined metro WiFi networks comprised of over 50,000 hotspots.
“At Cablevision, we see firsthand how much usage and convenience WiFi delivers to our customers, which is why we have long been a proponent of this value-added benefit. When we partner with other cable operators in this expansion of Cable WiFi, it gives our Optimum Online customers even greater access to wireless Internet service,” said Gemma Toner, Cablevision’s SVP of broadband product management, in a statement.
“WiFi is a key component of our efforts to deliver Xfinity Internet customers the fastest and most reliable Internet connection, both inside and outside of the home,” added Tom Nagel, SVP of business development at Comcast Cable.
“We recognize that an Internet connection wherever you are is a hugely important feature so we’ll continue to bring more WiFi to the places where our customers live, work and play. It’s like taking your home Internet service with you,” said Mike Roudi, SVP of corporate development for Time Warner Cable.
“Through these WiFi networks, our customers will benefit from having access to WiFi that is complementary to their cellular plans and experience,” said Kelly Williams, VP of product strategy and management at Cox.
“Our customers will enjoy expanded access to WiFi connectivity while on-the-go through this rapidly growing network of Cable WiFi access points located throughout the U.S.,” said Leo Cloutier, SVP, corporate strategy and business development at Bright House Networks.
Washington — After the Cable Show crowd got a wake-up call Tuesday from the fifes, drums and bugles of the U.S. Army Old Guard Army Fife and Drum Corps, acting chairwoman Mignon Clyburn took the stage for her first, and likely only, Cable Show in the big chair, and she came armed with praise for the industry, as well as a call to action.
“What a phenomenal conference…. You have done an incredible job of connecting this nation,” she told the audience in a brief Q&A with NCTA president Michael Powell. She pointed out that most of America has access to broadband, but that the country can’t be satisfied with reaching the majority. Almost a million Americans haven’t adopted broadband, she said, adding that cost and literacy were factors. “There are a whole host of people who don’t see what’s in it for them,” she said.
Clyburn said it was “phenomenal” that the cable industry was a big driver of the move of content to the anytime anywhere model.
While Clyburn has been identifying herself as acting chairwoman, Powell said that technically, there was no such thing. “There is nothing acting about you in my mind,” he said.
Convention cochair Abbe Raven introduced Clyburn with the observation that after nearly 80 years, “we can say there is a woman running the FCC.” Powell echoed the historic note, saying she had been an “exemplar” to men as well as women because of her achievement. He asked her what that achievement meant to her. Clyburn said she thought about her grandmother, who was not allowed a full education “due to the laws of the land” at the time, but always encouraged her.
Powell pointed to the president’s announcement of a goal of connecting 99% of students to high-speed broadband within five years and asked whether she thought Wi-Fi should be part of that equation. She said “absolutely,” and that the solution needed to include both licensed and unlicensed services. She said it was not going to be possible to hardwire the entire country and that the goal should be connecting in the most efficient way possible.
Asked what her agenda would be, Clyburn cited statutory requirements like measuring video competition and continued work on incentive auctions, which she said was sucking up a lot of oxygen at the agency, but in a good way since it would be a win-win for industry and consumers.
TV stations may want to re-read their retrans contracts to see whether they, too could be subject to distant signal importations. The U.S. Court of Appeals has denied motions for a stay and injunction against Time Warner Cable for retransmitting Nexstar distant signals, agreeing with a Texas district court that Nexstar is not likely to succeed on the merits of its breach of contract claim against Time Warner Cable.
Nexstar said that the language in its retrans consent agreement (RCA) did not apply to delivering signals outside a market, while TWC said it granted broad carriage rights.
The Texas district court, in denying to enjoin Nexstar, agreed with TWC that the contract provided those broad rights and the Fifth Circuit affirmed that decision this week.
“[T]he plain language of the RCA grants Time Warner broad authority to retransmit Nexstar signals on Time Warner stations (sic),” the appeals court said in the May 30 decision.
Parsing that plain language, the court said that “[Nexstar] hereby gives [Time Warner] the nonexclusive retransmission of the entire broadcast signal of each Station (the ‘Signal’) over each System pursuant to the terms of this Agreement,” meant TWC could retransmit the signals on any or all of its systems, not just the one serving the relevant market.
Time Warner Cable issued this statement: “On Thursday, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a decision in Nexstar’s lawsuit against TWC. The Court of Appeals decision affirmed the district court judge in all respects in finding that Nexstar was not likely to prevail in its breach of contract and copyright case, since our retransmission consent agreement clearly gives us the right to carry Nexstar signals in distant markets.”
A Texas district judge last fall denied Nexstar’s request for a temporary restraining order against Time Warner Cable and signaled Nexstar is unlikely to win its suit charging the cable operator impermissibly imported Nexstar signals into distant markets to substitute for Hearst TV stations that had gone dark there due to a retrans fight with TWC.
Hearst and TWC settled their dispute not long after the suit and TRO request were filed, so the TRO was essentially moot, but Nexstar was charging copyright infringement and the decision suggests TWC is free to import those Nexstar signals again if it runs into a retrans impasse in those or other markets.
“The Court of Appeals decision affirmed the district court judge in all respects in finding that Nexstar was not likely to prevail in its breach of contract and copyright case, since our retransmission consent agreement clearly gives us the right to carry Nexstar signals in distant markets,” TWC said in a statement
Cox Communications has stepped up efforts to help customers affected by the devastating tornado that hit the Oklahoma City area earlier this week, securing programming rights to extend its Cox TV Connect TV Everywhere app outside of the home and setting up centers where customers can access telecom services.
At least 24 people were killed and thousands were left homeless and without power in the devastating twister that struck the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore on May 20.
Cox Communications parent Cox Enterprises has pledged about $1 million to relief efforts in the areas.
The Cox TV Connect app, which gives TV Essentials and Preferred High Speed Internet Access customers live streaming access to about 90 channels, will be available to certain mobile devices for the next 90 days, said spokesman Todd Smith in an e-mail message. The app is normally available only inside the home but the company is extending the capability to help connect Cox customers to the content they care about wherever they have sought refuge in the weeks and months ahead.
Video can be viewed live on supported Apple and Android devices and is authenticated with the customer’s Cox primary account holder user ID and password.
Supported Apple devices are iPhone, iPad, and iTouch. Supported Android Tablet Devices include: Kindle Fire 2nd generation, Kindle Fire HD 7”, Kindle Fire HD 8.9”, Google Nexus 7”, Samsung Galaxy Tablet 2 – 7”, Samsung Galaxy Tablet 2 – 10.1”, and Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1”. The full suite of TV Connect channels can be accessed here.
Cox is also offering free services at two telecommunications centers in Oklahoma: St. Andrew
800 NW 5th St, Moore, OK 73160; and the Moore Community Center, 301 N. Broadway, Moore, OK 73160
Both locations have Wi-Fi, local and long distance calling and HD TV service.
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