Time Warner and Comcast push hassle-free, automatic Wi-Fi 2.0 hotspots
Time Warner Cable and Comcast want their Wi-Fi hotspots to be as easy to access as any mobile network.
At the end of last month, Time Warner quietly switched on its Hotspot 2.0 service, GigaOm reports. The service lets subscribers automatically connect to any of Time Warner's Wi-Fi hotspots after a single login, so there's no need to re-enter credentials every time you travel to a new hotspot location. Time Warner also says the network is WPA2 Enterprise compliant, so it's also a more secure option than connecting to some coffee shop's shady public Wi-Fi network.
Hotspots that support this feature are dubbed “TWCWiFi-Passpoint,” and are now available in Austin, Charlotte, Kansas City, Myrtle Beach, Hawaii, Southern California and New York City. A Wi-Fi finder app for Android and iOS can help track down supported hotspots.
For the initial login, subscribers enter the same credentials they use to manage their Time Warner accounts online. After that first login, users will connect to any of Time Warner's hotspots automatically as they come into signal range.
Comcast says it also has Hotspot 2.0 technology on its roadmap, according to FierceWirelessTech , but the company has not given a timeline. So while Comcast still has the largest public Wi-Fi network in the United States, Time Warner is now boasting the largest Hotspot 2.0 network.
Of course, the two providers could end up pooling their networks if Comcast is allowed to acquire Time Warner for $45.2 billion. As GigaOm has pointed out, the companies could create a massive Wi-Fi network, and monetize it by renting access to other service providers. Time Warner could even adopt Comcast's controversial practice of turning home routers into semi-public Wi-Fi hotspots, expanding the network even further. However, the deal is facing stiff opposition from consumer groups, who fear the deal will raise costs, reduce competition and kill jobs.