Cox Communications, which walked away from its one-year tenure as mobile services operator late in 2011, is dipping its toe in the wireless water again. This time it is offering Wi-Fi hotspot access as a value-added service to its current customers.
Cox deployed omnidirectional access points from Cisco Systems at more than 750 hotspots throughout Fairfax County and Fairfax City in northern Virginia, which will serve public areas with large concentrations of people, such as commercial and entertainment districts.
“In future phases, we will look at making access points available in neighborhoods, but right now our concentration is public areas with large concentrations of people,” Emma Inman, Cox spokesperson, told DAS Bulletin.
Cox is using its existing cable infrastructure to provide users with down speeds of up to 15 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to 4 mbps. It did have to deploy an authentication infrastructure to manage the users’ access.
Any high-speed Internet customer of Cox Cable will be able to log on to the Wi-Fi access points at no charge. Plus, Cox is sharing the love, allowing customers to attach three devices per user ID and 10 per account at a time, allowing family members access to Cox Wi-Fi, as well.
“Our goal is to provide our customers access to information, based on their access needs,” Inman said. “For example, we are also expanding our cable TV programming and making mobile apps available for Cox TV Connect [for real-time streaming of programming to iPhones, iPads and iPods]. [Wi-Fi hotspot service] is just another value-added service for our customers.”
Inman noted that Cox is not investigating a reentry into the wireless industry at this time, but as the nation’s third largest cable and broadband company with 6 million customers, the company would seem to be tailored made to be a major Wi-Fi provider.