Cablevision wants to spread WiFi into New York trains

Building off the success of the free WiFi access service it currently offers to subscribers throughout its metro New York footprint, it makes sense for Cablevision to target New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority's commuter trains and stations with the service. By submitting an application for the MTA's Interest for Wireless Broadband Services in Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and Metro-North Railroad Trains and Stations," the service provider believes its one step closer to reaching that goal.

The MSO does have a few things going for it in its MTA WiFi application. It already offers its Optimum WiFi service to subscribers in several heavily trafficked areas, including downtown sites, parks and various outdoor locations. What's more, Cablevision's WiFi service is available in 96 percent of the LIRR and Metro North railroad platforms and parking lots throughout its service footprint. Customers apparently like the service, as the cable company reported that users have accessed the web via their WiFi network more than 4 million times since launching the service last September.

But Cablevision is not alone in its desire to provide WiFi on trains. Although fellow cable MSO brethren Comcast and Time Warner Cable did not submit bids for the project because the MTA project is out of their service range, Cablevision will face tough competition from dominant wireless operators Sprint and Verizon.    

Cablevision, not surprisingly, believes the relationship it already has with commuter train patrons that subscribe to their broadband service bodes well for them. "We've been in this business now for a year, and the response from our customers is overwhelming," said Kevin Curran, senior vice president of wireless product development with Cablevision in a Wall Street Journal article on the proposed WiFi network. "They want broadband access on the trains."

For more:
- Multichannel News has this article
- Wall Street Journal has another article

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