Cablevision Rolls Out Free Wi-Fi Network On Long Island

Cablevision has done a good job of withstanding the Verizon FiOS assault by rolling out really high speed Internet along with other services to its customer base in the tri-state region of the U.S. In order to keep nearly 2.4 million broadband customers of its Optimum Online service happy, Cablevision is going to offer them free Wi-Fi access starting today.

The Bethpage, N.Y.-based cable company says it has completed the initial phase of its Optimum Online Wi-Fi network that could cost as much as $300 million by the time it is complete. The company claims that it is already one of the largest consumer Wi-Fi networks in the business. That said, the network isn’t terribly fast — speed is going to be up to just 1.5 megabits per second. You may be able to use it for VoIP calls, but given my experience with most open Wi-Fi networks, don’t count on good quality.The service is available exclusively for Optimum customers, and Cablevision has no plans to offer it to non-customers, a spokesperson told us. The Wi-Fi network is now accessible throughout the “commercial and high-traffic areas of Nassau County, in areas of Suffolk County, and on the commuter rail platforms and station parking lots across all of Long Island.”

The company had previously lit-up the network in: Bridgeport-Port Jefferson Ferry Line boats; commercial zones in Sag Harbor, Northport and Huntington on Long Island; Westport and New Canaan in Connecticut; Peekskill, Pleasantville and Pelham in Westchester/Hudson Valley; Denville, Ridgewood and Tenafly in New Jersey; and Parkchester in the Bronx. For all the problems with MuniFi networks, Cablevision has shown gumption going down the Wi-Fi route, and hopefully we will get some interesting usage data from it in coming months.