BOSTON — Five of the nation's biggest cable operators are cooperating to provide Wi-Fi service in public places for their customers.
The agreement, announced Monday at a cable industry conference, is a part of the industry's strategy to stay relevant as mobile Internet use widens. For the past two years in parts of the Northeast, customers of Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision have used the WiFi hot spots of the other companies. With the new agreement, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks will participate and the WiFi network sharing will come online in other parts of the country where the companies operate.
The companies said that more than 50,000 hot spots are available in places like malls, arenas and parks. They plan to add more, making it possible for smartphones and other devices to connect to them.
The hot spots are marketed as a benefit for cable customers, potentially giving them a reason not to switch providers. They also position cable's broadband service as an alternative, or at least a supplement, to the services of wireless companies like AT&T and Verizon.