Many of 2.4 million broadband customers of its Optimum Online service by Cablevision will get freeWi-Fi access starting today in the cable company’s Long Island region.

Cablevision has done a good job of withstanding the Verizon FiOS assault by rolling out really high speed Internet along with other services to its customer base in the tri-state region of the U.S. In order to keep nearly 2.4 million broadband customers of its Optimum Online service happy, Cablevision is going to offer them free Wi-Fi access starting today.

The Bethpage, N.Y.-based cable company says it has completed the initial phase of its Optimum Online Wi-Fi network that could cost as much as $300 million by the time it is complete. The company claims that it is already one of the largest consumer Wi-Fi networks in the business. That said, the network isn’t terribly fast — speed is going to be up to just 1.5 megabits per second. You may be able to use it for VoIP calls, but given my experience with most open Wi-Fi networks, don’t count on good quality.The service is available exclusively for Optimum customers, and Cablevision has no plans to offer it to non-customers, a spokesperson told us. The Wi-Fi network is now accessible throughout the “commercial and high-traffic areas of Nassau County, in areas of Suffolk County, and on the commuter rail platforms and station parking lots across all of Long Island.”

The company had previously lit-up the network in: Bridgeport-Port Jefferson Ferry Line boats; commercial zones in Sag Harbor, Northport and Huntington on Long Island; Westport and New Canaan in Connecticut; Peekskill, Pleasantville and Pelham in Westchester/Hudson Valley; Denville, Ridgewood and Tenafly in New Jersey; and Parkchester in the Bronx. For all the problems with MuniFi networks, Cablevision has shown gumption going down the Wi-Fi route, and hopefully we will get some interesting usage data from it in coming months.

  1. Finally! I have been waiting for the cable companies to start this for a while now. This is exactly what I thought that they should do.
    They have the wires running down every street, all they need to do is throw up some routers. It seems like a no-brainer to me.

    1. David Reide Sunday, May 24, 2009

      I wish I was on Long Island! I’m here in Los Angeles and lackluster Time Warner has me paying $99 a month for “Business Class” 15-2 speeds! 15mb down and 2 up and it actually doesn’t reach those speeds. We can’t get Verizon FIOS here so they continue to cash in! Time Warner Cable is last in line when it comes to progress in this area! Booo!

  2. This is a great move on Cablevision’s part. They are at the forefront of the cable industry, primarily because they face the stiffest competition from FiOS. While other Cable Co’s were maintaining status quo, CV rolled out VoIP, dropped prices (business prices are the same as residential), offered free HD and now free wifi. Moves like this annoy the other MSO’s to no end.

    Warning iPhone users- From Safari you will be prompted for your main optonline account name and password. The wifi is only available through Safari, not other applications. This is something I hope they correct quickly.

  3. To obtain a greater understanding of the competition read the following article.

    A Smart Bet Or a Big Mistake?
    1671 words
    19 August 2008
    The New York Times
    Late Edition – Final

  4. Om, I think you should say given your experience with most non-managed open Wi-Fi networks. The OptimumWiFi network is a managed service, where subscribers can expect support for issues that they may have. Free Wi-Fi access bundled with your home broadband subscription is a pretty winning proposition. Even if it is only 1.5Meg upload and download to begin with.

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  10. [...] the big question is, why is Verizon doing this deal? For starters, Cablevision in particular has been very successful in building loyalty with its broadband subscribers thanks to its free [...]


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