TWC expands Wi-Fi network to North Carolina, now up to only 125,000 hotspots

Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) confirmed it has only deployed 125,000 public hotspots nationwide. 

TWC made the revelation while announcing that it has extended its Wi-Fi network into Greensboro and Wilmington, N.C. Earlier deployments have taken place in Southern California, New York City, Charlotte, Raleigh, Myrtle Beach, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Kansas City and Hawaii. 

TWC's reach pales in comparison to the national reach of Comcast, which said during its third-quarter earnings call last month that it had 11.7 million public hotspots deployed -- many of which stem from dual-purpose routers assigned residential users.

Cablevision, meanwhile, touts a far more concentrated base of 1.4 million hotspots across its Northeast footprint.

As cable companies including Comcast make moves to enter the wireless business, based partly on the backs of their Wi-Fi networks, TWC's light Wi-Fi reach will soon be combined with that of Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR), if the companies' proposed merger gains federal approval.

A Charter rep confirmed to FierceCable that the MSO has not yet publicly revealed how many hotspots it has deployed. "We have just begun offering public Wi-Fi hotspots in St. Louis in business locations such as doctor offices and coffee shops, etc.," said Charter spokesman Justin Venech.

Charter has promised to build 300,000 public Wi-Fi hotspots as part of its proposed purchase of TWC and Bright House, though the company hasn't provided a timeline for that buildout.

"We continue to see customers embrace our free Wi-Fi offering with over 400 million active sessions on our network so far this year," said Rob Cerbone, VP of wireless product management for TWC, in announcing the company's North Carolina deployment. "We'll continue to deploy additional hotspots in popular, high-traffic areas so our customers can enjoy fast, reliable connections for all their wireless devices on the go."

According to Multichannel News, TWC is using equipment from Ruckus Wireless for its latest public Wi-Fi deployment. In the past the company has used equipment from Ericsson and Cisco.

The announcement of TWC's North Carolina deployments comes as the MSO is partnering with iPass, a company touting a new service designed to give consumers more protection when they're hopping on public hotspots.

During the iPass' third-quarter conference call with investment analysts last week, iPass Chief Commercial Officer Patricia Hume said that in addition to its deals with Devicescape and Fon, iPass added TWC as a partner. She said the partnership with Time Warner will add "tens of thousands" of hotspots in the United States in important venues. iPass, a worldwide Wi-Fi network aggregator, has inked deals with the likes of big brands like Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), HP and Huawei.

TWC also has a Wi-Fi roaming agreement with Boingo.

For more:
- see this Multichannel News article
- read this Time Warner Cable press release

Related articles:
TWC's Marcus: Streaming strategy is about getting rid of set-tops, not skinny bundles
iPass introduces SmartConnect, adds Time Warner as partner
FCC to fine Hilton Hotels $25K for not cooperating in Wi-Fi blocking investigation

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