New York Gets Free WiFi from Time Warner, And Then?

NYC Free Wifi Hotspot

More hot spots for New Yorkers in need of an internet connection. Time Warner has upped the ante, releasing a long list of places where existing customers can log on for free. This is something that AT&T has been doing for some time, even in New York City (and other cities across the nation). So is Time Warner making a good move for its brand, or is it lagging behind competitors when it comes to direct consumer products and relations?

The new hot spots are a certain perk for Time Warner customers, and they offer a variety to those internet users otherwise restricted to AT&T hot spots, or those offered through their mobile wireless provider. With companies such as Clearwire looking to make a more nationwide wireless offering, there are other interests on the part of Time Warner for creating a similar option through the services it already has.

Despite initiatives from 4G networks, especially those coming from Sprint and its head-first dive into such new offerings (complete with sleek new smartphones), Time Warner has appealed to a high concentration of its customers by making internet more widely accessible in New York City, even as more infrastructure projects towards the offering of wireless access proceed.

Time Warner has already invested in many of these other initiatives, including Clearwire, making the New York hot spot list an effort towards brand relations with existing customers. As several functions of related companies overlap, Time Warner has the benefit of already having its hands in several pots. Being involved, directly or otherwise, with similar initiatives from other companies towards wider wireless access means that Time Warner’s new hot spot list will eventually tie into some of these ongoing projects.

Where that leaves consumers remains to be seen. But as with most of the ongoing initiatives, from Sprint to Clear Wireless, the amount of overlap amongst services and products means that consumers will continue to have a growing number of options for accessing and utilizing consumer electronics. And right now, variety is good.

Smartphone design and platform implementation is what’s taking up most of our attention spans when it comes to emerging options for consumers.

There used to be just the iPhone. Early attempts to offer iPhone alternatives were quickly dismissed, and innovation had to be incorporated into the design of whatever could possibly compete with the iPhone itself. We now have several smart phones across multiple platforms and wireless providers, even as the iPhone remains dominate.

The variety around consumer electronics and the companies that power our use of those devices will continue to both overlap and increase, from a consumer perspective. Over the next year, we’ll begin seeing more of a top-down approach to how this overlap affects consumers directly, as some regulation will be required.

Just look at what’s going on with cable companies, phone companies, and the efforts towards a nationwide broadband plan. Yet I’m hopeful for the end result, even if we reach it only through one small step at a time.

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