updated 05:15 pm EST, Fri January 30, 2009
Comcast hotspot tests
Internet provider Comcast is performing Wi-Fi hot spot trials near NJ Transit rail stations in the state to grant subscribers access to the Internet on their mobile devices, according to a Friday DSLReports post. The service in these Wi-Fi Hot Zones requires subscribers to sign in using their existing Comcast.net usernames and passwords. The company has confirmed the trials, saying it is gauging user interest and may offer it as an added-value service to its high-speed Internet customers.
The NJ tests are a limited trial, and the company is collaborating with Cablevision on the experiment. Cablevision recently launched its Optimum Wi-Fi service, which Comcast studied closely. The two companies worked together on the technical tests but made it clear that the services in New Jersey will remain separate, though some infrastructure may be shared. Comcast customers will not be able to access Optimum's Wi-Fi Hot Zones, or vice versa, however.
No other specifics about when or if Comcast will launch its hot-spot service have been released, though the trial is reportedly running until December. The scope and length of the trial indicate Comcast may be readying itself for a much larger hot-spot service.
Cablevision's hotspots are thus far offered in Long Island, Westchester and Dutchess counties in New York as well as some busy areas of Connecticut. It will provide users with 1.5Mbps symmetrical speeds.