Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC:US) will add more than 1,000 Wi-Fi hot spots in Manhattan by mid-July and as many as 10,000 by the end of the year to increase the appeal of its Internet service.
The Wi-Fi expansion in Manhattan follows the company’s installation of more than 12,000 hot spots in Los Angeles. The two markets are Time Warner Cable’s largest for Internet customers, which totaled 11.5 million as of the first quarter.
The second-largest U.S. cable provider is expanding Wi-Fi coverage to attract and keep Internet subscribers. The company competes in Manhattan with Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ:US)’s FiOS and closely-held RCN Corp. Customers will be able to connect smartphones, PCs and tablets to hot spots at no additional cost, allowing users to limit wireless data usage.
“Our customers will enjoy even more value from their TWC Internet subscriptions and avoid pricey cellular data overage charges,” Mike Roudi, senior vice president of corporate development, said in a statement.
Subscribers also will be able to log on to New Jersey and Connecticut hot spots built by Comcast Corp., the largest U.S. cable company, and Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC:US) as part of the cable industry’s Wi-Fi alliance.
Tablet, PC and mobile-phone users who aren’t Time Warner Cable subscribers can use the Manhattan hot spots on a pay-as-you-go basis for $2.95 an hour, the company said.
Time Warner Cable is also expanding Wi-Fi in Austin, Texas, and the Kansas City area to compete with Google Inc.’s Google Fiber.
Time Warner Cable rose 4.3 percent to $103.64 yesterday in New York. The shares have gained (TWC:US) 6.6 percent this year, trailing the 12 percent increase for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
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