Comcast to Share Wi-Fi Internet Hotspots With Cable Rivals (1)
May 21 (Bloomberg) -- Comcast Corp., the largest U.S. broadband provider, and rivals such as Time Warner Cable Inc. will share mobile-Internet hotspots to boost their wireless coverage and fend off competition from phone carriers.
Bright House Networks LLC, Cox Communications Inc. and Cablevision Systems Corp. are also part of the pact, according to a statement from the companies today. The five cable carriers will let each other's Web customers access their metropolitan- area Wi-Fi networks, totaling more than 50,000 hotspots.
The cable providers are trying to ward off phone companies such as Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc., which are expanding on their turf by offering TV and broadband access in addition to wireless and landline phone connections. By boosting their free wireless-Internet coverage, the cable carriers are attempting to give customers another reason to stay and forgo phone carriers' wireless-data plans.
As part of the accord, Bethpage, New York-based Cablevision and Bright House already started sharing their Wi-Fi networks in the New York area and central Florida earlier this month.
Comcast, based in Philadelphia, fell 0.3 percent to $28.28 on May 18, and Cablevision declined 0.3 percent to $11.09. Time Warner Cable, based in New York, fell 0.6 percent to $74.07.
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