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Wi-Fi hotspot grab coming to a city near you

Matt Hamblen | April 28, 2014
A mega-battle is brewing between corporate giants such as AT&T, Google and Time Warner Cable to build Wi-Fi hotspots in U.S. cities connected to massive gigabit fiber-optic or fast networks of cable providers.

AT&T remains noncommittal about predictions it will add Wi-Fi to its Gigapower fiber networks in 21 candidate cities. When AT&T meets leaders in those cities, "we are willing to explore ways in which AT&T can help meet [city] needs," spokeswoman Kurko Wong said via email.

Noting AT&T's history of making Wi-Fi available at 34,000 hotspots in 50 states for free to some of its customers, she added, "we're committed to making the benefits of Wi-Fi widely available."

Customer response to the AT&T Wi-Fi "has been better than expected," she added, as smartphones, laptops and tablets have proliferated. Over a few months in 2010, AT&T found that its customers made more than 350,000 connections to Wi-Fi hotzones in New York City, Charlotte and Chicago.

As AT&T and others have found, Wi-Fi hotspots are clearly hotter than ever, and major companies are positioning themselves to cash in.


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