Comcast Cable (NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Liberty Global (NASDAQ: LBTYA, LBTYB and LBTYK) today have announced an agreement to allow users to access each other’s Wi-Fi networks, creating an international Wi-Fi access agreement that will give many Xfinity Internet and Liberty Global internet customers access to millions of new Wi-Fi access points in various countries by 2015. This first-of-its-kind international partnership highlights Comcast’s and Liberty Global’s shared leadership in Wi-Fi innovation and deployment.
Comcast has more than three million Xfinity WiFi hotspots in the U.S., while Liberty Global has more than 2.5 million Wi-Fi home spots under the Wi-Free and WifiSpots names in various countries in Europe, such as Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, Poland and Switzerland. Both companies continue to grow their Wi-Fi footprints aggressively.
For both Comcast and Liberty Global, out-of-home Wi-Fi is an important internet service benefit that allows customers to stay connected to high-speed broadband service. This agreement gives many of the 11 million Americans visiting Europe and the 12 million Europeans visiting the United States each year a free alternative to cellular data roaming. Just as important, it reflects the global benefits of Wi-Fi innovation. All over the world, consumers are using the same technology, same devices, and same spectrum to access Wi-Fi. Now, two of the leaders from across continents are working together to create an interoperable global-scale service.
"This is our first step in bringing global Wi-Fi connectivity to our customers," said Tom Nagel, Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for Comcast Cable. "We are excited to be working with Liberty Global and see this partnership as a great opportunity to further expand our Wi-Fi footprint and offer fast and secure wireless broadband service to our customers, not only while they are here in the United States, but also while they are traveling overseas."
"We are delighted to join forces with Comcast to begin building worldwide Wi-Fi connectivity and we hope that this will create interest from other cable operators to join us," said Balan Nair, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Liberty Global. "We are offering Wi-Fi service in a growing number of countries across Europe and are excited to be able to offer our European customers a valuable and innovative new service in the United States on Xfinity WiFi."
Comcast and Liberty Global plan to trial the shared Wi-Fi service later in 2014 and offer it on a wide-scale in 2015. For more information about Xfinity WiFi visit www.xfinity.com/wifi or visit Liberty Global at www.libertyglobal.com.