Time Warner Cable has launched (11/29) 14 Wi-Fi hot spots in the Kansas City area, only two weeks after Google launched its highly-revered local fiber network. TWC’s Wi-Fi Internet initiative is for businesses and residential customers.
The hot spots are located in Downtown, the Crossroads Arts District, the River Market, Brookside, Waldo, Westport, the 18th and Vine District, Loose Park, plus the downtowns of Parkville, Leavenworth and other sites. More are planned.
Time Warner also said it would provide free Wi-Fi hot spots to any of its business-class high-speed data customers in the Kansas City area. The operator said it would provide the necessary equipment, hardware and cables for business customers to host a TWC Wi-Fi hot spot inside their buildings, reports The Kansas City Business Journal.
Company spokesman Mike Pedelty said the service is intended to complement businesses’ existing Wi-Fi networks. It also is aimed at retail businesses, restaurants and other high-traffic venues to help drive business when the TWC Wi-Fi network expands.
Kansas City government officials and technology enthusiasts have called for a downtown Wi-Fi network to help support local entrepreneurs. The hot spots target existing customers with standard or above Internet plans. These customers need their Time Warner email addresses and passwords to access the new Wi-Fi networks on with their mobile devices or laptops.
Once customers are authenticated the first time they access the network, they should automatically be able to access the rest of the local hot spots and Time Warner’s more than 60,000 hot spots nationwide without having to sign in again.
Non-customers can access the networks for a fee. Dave Borchardt, a time Warner Cable spokesman, told the paper access passes cost $2.95 an hour.
Also Thursday, Time Warner launched Starter Internet, a $9.95-a-month broadband Internet service for families of 190 area schools. The two-year, 5-megabit-per-second Internet service matches the speed of Google’s bottom-tier Internet plan. Google proves a free 5Mbps connection for seven years with a $300 construction fee that must be paid during the first 12 months.
RBR-TVBR observation: TWC is doing two smart things in response to Google here. Offering WiFi across the city will keep many customers on board and add new ones. The Starter Internet service spreads goodwill throughout the area and will draw new customers as well. Like we’ve said before with Google Fiber, it’s not just about internet speed to the home. You can have all the online speed they can push at you, but if your laptop or PC are not all that fast, it won’t make a difference. What does stand out, though, Google Fiber’s interface that allows customers to select what you want to watch and then lists every version of it that is available, regardless of which network or delivery service is showing it (i.e., Netflix, YouTube, CBS).