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Cablevision completes first phase of Wi-Fi build

Cable television provider says it is on track to complete a build-out of a wireless-access network spanning New York and the city's suburbs in the next couple years.

Cablevision on Thursday said it has completed the first phase of its Wi-Fi network in New York and that it still plans to complete the network within two years.

The first phase of the network deployment was in parts of Nassau and Suffolk counties, including commuter rail platforms and station parking lots.

The cable company, which serves parts of New York City and its suburbs, announced its Wi-Fi offering in May. It plans to offer the service, which will provide 1.5-megabit-per-second download speeds, to its 2.4 million high-speed Internet customers at no additional charge.

The company currently doesn't have plans to offer the service to nonsubscribers.

Cablevision predicts that the project, which uses standard Wi-Fi equipment, will cost about $310 million.

Cablevision sees the new Wi-Fi network as a way to enhance its existing broadband business and to provide customers an added incentive to purchase its bundle of high-speed Internet access along with phone service and TV programming. But it also adds wireless and mobility capabilities to the company at a time when other cable companies are forming their own wireless strategies.

Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks are joining chipmaker Intel, Google, Clearwire, and Sprint Nextel to build a nationwide broadband wireless network using a technology called WiMax.

Meanwhile, Cablevision's phone company rivals, such as Verizon Wireless, are also integrating wireless Internet connectivity into their service bundles in an effort to compete.