Cincinnati Bell offers eero’s home Wi-Fi system at retail stores

Image: eero

Cincinnati Bell has begun offering eero’s whole-home Wi-Fi system in its eight of its Greater Cincinnati retail stores to target users that need broader coverage for their growing arsenal of connected devices.

By offering eero’s platform in its retail stores, Cincinnati Bell will enable its growing base of FTTH customers to deploy Wi-Fi via multiple access points throughout their homes to create a wireless mesh network that enhances coverage.

Customers that use the eero platform can expand the system as needed through the eero app (iOS and Android Support). Over-the-air software updates give customers access to new features, performance improvements and security.

RELATED: Cincinnati Bell’s Torbeck: Our fiber build could exceed 95K new addresses

Whether it’s music of video streaming what’s driving the need for enhanced in-home Wi-Fi coverage is the growing proliferation of internet-enabled devices in the home. A set of three eeros will typically cover the average home (3,000-4,000 square feet).

A compelling element for the consumer is ease of installation. After a user plugs one device into their existing DSL or FTTH modem, additional eero access points just need power from a standard outlet.

Each eero device then automatically connects to each other to create a single wireless mesh network that covers the home. Users that have wired their home with Ethernet wiring can also hard wire each device.

Image: eero
As it gains new competitive threats from Charter, which entered Cincinnati via its acquisition of Time Warner Cable, Cincinnati Bell could offer the eero device as part of a Fiber optics or even a DSL bundle.

While extending Wi-Fi coverage in a home is nothing new, eero said that its approach differentiates it. Unlike many range “extenders” that reduce bandwidth because they rely on a single wireless radio to both send and receive data, each eero device has two radios that communicate with a user’s devices and syncs with other eero access points in a home.

The devices also operate on one network (SSID), enabling broadband users with connected devices like an iPhone to connect to the nearest eero access point.

Video consumption grows

One of the trends that will surely drive the need for wider Wi-Fi coverage will be the consumption of online video via tablets and, increasingly, connected TVs.

According to the NPD Group’s Connected Home Entertainment Report, more than half, or 52%, of all U.S. homes with internet have at least one TV connected to the internet, leading to the increase of 6 million homes over the past year.

Consumers may be using a variety of devices—including video game consoles, streaming media players, Blu-ray disc players and the TVs themselves—to connect to the internet, but the average connected TV home had nearly three (2.9) devices installed that they could use for programming from apps on their televisions.

At the same time, Cincinnati Bell itself is looking at developing an OTT application in partnership with Roku. However, the telco did reveal a specific timeline about when Cincinnati Bell would offer an OTT-based video offering.

If and when it does release its own OTT video offering, Cincinnati Bell’s Fioptics users that leverage the service will be able to access the service more effectively throughout their homes if they purchase an eero device.

Broadening broadband coverage

For Cincinnati Bell, timing of the eero deal is important, particularly as Cincinnati Bell blankets more of its wireline territory with its Fioptics FTTH broadband service.

As of the end of the third quarter, Cincinnati Bell said it passed 78,000 new homes and businesses to reach 64% coverage of greater Cincinnati with Fioptics service.

However, the telco maintains it could surpass its FTTH network mark by the end of the year.

Ted Torbeck, CEO of Cincinnati Bell, told investors during its third quarter earnings call that “it is likely this year's [Fioptics] build could exceed 95,000 new addresses.”