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Among the many advantages presented with the proposed combination of
Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks is
that it will add more momentum to the MSOs wireless ambitions.
During the May 26 call to discuss the deal, Charter CEO Tom Rutledge was
asked about the many synergies resulting from the union of the three MSOs.
In addition to serving a wider pool of enterprise business customers “we
also have the opportunity to work across the industry to use our Wi-Fi
networks, which are interoperable and allow customers to roam from one to
the other and have services across the various platforms that exist,” he said.
“I think in this structure we’ll be able to make those kinds of opportunities
work better and easier, just because you will have less people that you have
to coordinate with in order to make those new products work. So while we
haven’t really considered those as part of our evaluation, I think there is a
better industry as a result of this combination.”
Much of that energy will come from Time Warner Cable. The MSO in early
June announced it had expanded its outdoor Wi-Fi hotspot networks in
Dallas, San Antonio and Raleigh, N.C. And under a deal struck last year,
Time Warner Cable customers have access to more than 100 Boingo
hotpots located at the largest U.S. airports.
In all, it has 100,000 hotspots across its market footprint, and as part of the
Cable WiFi partnership with Comcast, Cablevision, Bright House and Cox
its customers have access to more than 400,000 hotspots throughout the
Up to now, Charter has not focused as much on extending Wi-Fi hotspot
services. It does offer residential customers Spectrum Wi-Fi, banking on
public hotspot services it has sold to Spectrum Business customers. That
may only amount to a few thousand locations, however.
But that will change if the three-way merger is consummated. The New
Charter will be a member of the Cable WiFi partnership, and its legacy
Charter residential customers will gain access to the full 400,000-plus
In the conference call, Rutledge — who also helped craft Cablevision’s
ambitious public Wi-Fi hotspot rollout when he served as chief operating
officer there — indicated the Wi-Fi opportunities expanded beyond just
the existing partnership.
As for wireless “yes, we will be expanding our wireless footprint and
building out our Wi-Fi networks in a public way so that people can use our
products in mobile and sedentary applications outside of their residence
and businesses,” he said. “And from that will come additional opportunities
to create new subscriber relationships that may be based entirely on
mobility. But I think that’s a long-term opportunity of the industry and one
that is enhanced by this combination.”
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