CHICAGO--Comcast Cable CTO Tony Werner said that 60 percent of the company's new customers never connect a wire to access Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) services. Instead, he said, those customers use Wi-Fi exclusively to access content and services.
"I do believe the home will go fully wireless inside," Werner said here during an INTX panel discussion about next-generation network technology in the cable industry.
Indeed, cable operators across the spectrum are increasingly investing in wireless technologies as a way to smooth out users' experiences. At the INTX show, Comcast announced the company's new DOCSIS 3.1 modem that the company said will be available to customers in early 2016. The device features a Wi-Fi router "capable of delivering gigabit wireless speeds, IP video technology and integrated home automation and security capabilities," the company said.
Further, cable's investment into Wi-Fi is expanding beyond just the residential market; for example, Comcast is one of a handful of cable operators that supports the CableWiFi alliance, which is seeking to pool public Wi-Fi hotspots into a network that users can roam through.
Beyond Wi-Fi, Werner also offered a glimpse into Comcast's evolving view onto the evolution of technology. He said Comcast is working to make its network and its services more open. "You can't be a closed, proprietary player," he said.
Werner pointed to Comcast's recent announcement that it would support a wide range of products and services in its Xfinity Home smart home business. The company this week said it will offer new partner devices from August, Automatic, Cuff, Leeo, Lutron, Rachio, SkyBell and Whistle starting this summer; Comcast also said it is developing an integration with Nest Labs through the Works with Nest program.
Werner added that Comcast is growing into a major supporter of OpenStack, which is creating a cloud operating system that controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a datacenter. Werner said Comcast's support of OpenStack underscores the company's more open approach to software and services.
Werner's comments on Comcast's technology positioning are noteworthy because he just this week was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame. "Tony's role in building industry-leading leading products and services, like the X1 Entertainment Operating System, has helped to transform Comcast from a technology consumer to a cutting-edge technology creator. His vision fuels a dynamic team effort that has accelerated the pace of innovation throughout the company," wrote John Schanz, Comcast Cable's EVP and chief network officer, in a company blog post about the news. "I have been particularly inspired by Tony's advancement of cloud-based technology, which has turbocharged our product development cycles and enabled customers to take their Xfinity experiences with them wherever they go."
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