Free Wi-Fi for New Jersey Commuters
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Comcast recently launched a beta test of Wi-Fi at 100 New Jersey railroad station locations.
Not unlike the program rolled out by competitor Cablevision in the tri-state area last fall, Comcasts pilot program, which quietly went live earlier this month, is aimed at subscribers who commute.
Currently the nation's top cable provider, Comcast, which is headquartered in Philadelphia, currently has 14.7 million high-speed Internet customers nationwide.
Comcasts traffic management practices have lost it some respect recently from customers, as well as from the federal government. The company was reprimanded last year by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for throttling customers broadband. The FCC did not fine the company, but required the carrier to file a compliance plan on future traffic management practices. Comcast filed that plan, but also appealed the FCC ruling.
Wi-Fi on demand
There's no question that demand for Wi-Fi is growing. A study released earlier this year by the Wi-Fi Alliance reported that Wi-Fi chipset sales grew 26 percent in 2008 and that 56 million Wi-Fi-enabled mobile phones shipped last year, an increase of 52 percent from 2007. Sales of Wi-Fi-enabled notebook PCs and other mobile Internet devices, such as the iPod touch, were up 23 percent in 2008 over the year before. This means that more and more consumers are looking to get Wi-Fi access when away from their home or business 802.11 networks. [Read an iPod touch review here.]
Comcast's New Jersey rail station pilot includes the Bergen County line, Booton line, Morris and Essex lines, North Jersey Coast line, Northeast Corridor, Pascack Valley line, and the Raritan Valley line. No press releases have been issued and Comcast is holding specific details about the deployment close to the vest during its testing period.For more on Wi-Fi for commuters, read Is In-Vehicle Wi-Fi a Boon For Commuters?, Stockholm Tests WiMAX for Commuters, and Boston Commuters to Get Free Wi-Fi.