Time Warner Cable announced that it will be building a WiFi network in Austin, in response to news that Google will be expanding their broadband fiber network in the city. The new network can be accessed for free by existing Time Warner Cable customers, and is available to non-subscribers for $2.95 an hour.
So far, there have been no announcements from Google about building its own WiFi network. Time Warner Cable is hoping to capitalize on convenience to attract and retain its broadband customers—especially the ones who use their laptops or mobile devices more often than their desktop computers.
Still, one wonders if Time Warner Cable’s strategy is enough to counter Google’s initiative. The internet search giant is offering speeds of up to 1 Gbps, and pay TV service that includes DVR with 8 tuners, 2 TB storage capacity, and a Nexus 7 tablet for a remote. So far, Google Fiber has been a hit with subscribers in Kansas City, and cable MSOs are taking notice. To top it off, a FREE 5 Mbps plan is available as long as the subscriber is willing to pay an installation fee, which is an unprecedented offer among internet service providers.
However, convenience and access to WiFi is essential for those who need to be able to connect to the internet wherever they go—which is something Google is not offering as of yet. In that area, Time warner Cable is likely to entice potential customers who value and need roaming internet access.
It will be interesting to see what other cable MSOs are going to offer as Google Fiber continues to expand.