Is free Wi-Fi the next big thing for broadband providers? Cablevision's success says so.

Is free Wi-Fi the next big thing for broadband providers? Cablevision's success says so.

Summary: A few months ago, I reported on Cablevision rolling out free Wi-Fi for its subscribers in Long Island as a way to stem the flow of customers toward cellular broadband providers. It sounded like a smart idea at the time, but a new report suggests that it was a really smart move for Cablevision.

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A few months ago, I reported on Cablevision rolling out free Wi-Fi for its subscribers in Long Island as a way to stem the flow of customers toward cellular broadband providers. It sounded like a smart idea at the time, but a new report suggests that it was a really smart move for Cablevision.

According to telecommunications market research firm Dell'Oro Group, Cablevision gained a whopping 70 percent more subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2008 than it did in the previous quarter, while the overall market declined 10 percent. Dell'Oro attributes the subscriber growth in large part to the free Wi-Fi. It's little surprise, then, that Comcast has since started its own free Wi-Fi trial for subscribers in northern New Jersey.

Is free Wi-Fi in your local area (including on your commute) a feature that would influence your decision on broadband providing, or keep you from switching providers? Let us know the our TalkBack section.

Topics: Telcos, Broadband, Mobility, Networking, Wi-Fi

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Talkback

5 comments
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  • The difference between Cablevision and Comcast

    I have a feeling that Cablevision values their customers. I have a feeling Cablevision doesn't send their customers letters informing them they've violated some usage limit, with said limit never being communicated to their customers. I have a feeling Cablevision doesn't totally violate their customers' rights by throttling applications which, even though perfectly legal, interfere with their ability to oversell their nodes by a couple hundred percent of actual capacity.

    Just a hunch. ]:)
    MGP2
  • Free Horse and Buggy, Right Here!

    Wifi is dead.

    Clear Wimax is the only provider worth having.

    It can do:

    Internet, phone, television, file downloads, streaming movies...

    There is no need for maintaining expensive wires all over the place, or thousands of cell antennae.

    A few big Wimax towers can cover the whole metropolis and wide stretches of rural areas.
    jabailo1
  • It's not "free" at all!

    They raised their prices across all their services to pay for the "free" wi-fi. Total crap if you ask me. As soon as FIOS is available in my area, I'm dumping Cablevision. Their done milking me for their investment mistakes.
    ajprove
  • Big Cities: Yes; Very Rural Areas: NO

    I live outside a very small town. Our chance of getting FREE wi-fi is almost totally nil. We also have a fair amount of mountains around us, so even if they tried to put it in, many of us would not be able to get it because of the mountains blocking the signal. Maybe in 10-20 years after almost everyone else has got it and they make some more technological advances
    mike.ellenberg@...
  • RE: Is free Wi-Fi the next big thing for broadband providers? Cablevision's success says so.

    Of course, anything Free for the Consumer is good. The free wireless that I have at the Hotel varies between 36-48 kbps. Hooked up to my Gravity with T-Mobile's Internet package, I'm running 460.8 kbps and don't have to sit still ?? The T-Mobile's package runs $19.95, though it offers more, the modem speed is worth the package.
    twbeebe