WiFi is part of Comcast’s broader strategy to create the foundation our customers need to power their Internet-connected devices both inside and outside of the home. Because WiFi is strategically important to Comcast, we are partnering with Google, Microsoft, Arris, the International Association of Venue Managers, and other companies, organizations and public sector institutions to create a new coalition called WiFiForward whose mission is to push for more unlicensed spectrum.
Today, Comcast has nearly one million Xfinity WiFi hot spots and we plan to launch many more in the future. And every day our Xfinity Internet customers use WiFi to connect a variety of devices to the Internet while they are at home, at a friend’s home, in small businesses and in high-traffic areas like train platforms, stadiums, shopping districts and parks and we want to offer them the best WiFi connections whenever and wherever they decide to connect. WiFi traffic in the U.S. is growing at 68% per year and since launching Xfinity WiFi, the number of users has tripled year-over-year.
All of this gives us a unique perspective on the importance of ensuring a robust WiFi ecosystem. However, continued access to fast and robust WiFi can only occur if there is enough spectrum to support it. Skyrocketing usage on WiFi networks has caused significant congestion in existing WiFi spectrum bands, especially in urban areas and in crowded public venues. It is critical that we take action now so that we have WiFi networks that can continue to meet the growing needs of consumers in the future.
Through WifiForward, we hope to work together with all stakeholders to ensure that the U.S. designates additional unlicensed spectrum and does not fall behind in WiFi.
We strongly support the FCC’s proposal to free up more spectrum in the 5 GHz band for unlicensed uses, including the next generation of WiFi, called "Gigabit WiFi." With Gigabit WiFi, customers will be able to take advantage of the full range of capabilities available on our network, like high quality video distribution to multiple users and devices simultaneously. Consumers will be able to enjoy this high quality HD video when in their home or outdoors, without the quality issues that can sometimes occur today when multiple devices are sharing the same WiFi service at the same time.
More WiFi spectrum will ensure that consumers continue to enjoy the tremendous benefit of WiFi and have access to the latest unlicensed technologies. The time for action is now and that is why Comcast is excited to be a part of WiFiForward.