I was thinking yesterday about this interview I shot with Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) CEO Glenn Britt at The Cable Show in Los Angeles in May 2010. Britt, standing near a Ford Mustang used to display the MSO's new Intelligo mobile hotspot product, talked about the potential of offering cable subscribers access to 4G networks.
When I attended the New York State Fair outside of Syracuse last year, the Intelligo mobile hotspot--which Time Warner Cable offered to subscribers through a partnership with Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR)--was one of the hottest pieces of technology that it had on display. Time Warner Cable said that it tripled the number of 4G wireless hotspots that it sold at the fair in 2011 compared to 2010. Here in Central New York, where subscribers don't have access to the WiFi networks that Time Warner Cable, Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) and Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) offer in the New York area, apparently there was a significant demand for mobile hotspots.
Click here for a slideshow of TWC's fair exhibit.
Time Warner Cable has a major presence once again at this year's New York State Fair, which kicked off last Thursday and runs through Sept. 2. But missing from this year's exhibit are the 4G mobile hotspots. Time Warner Cable is no longer marketing the product to subscribers.
While there remains a strong demand for mobile hotspot devices, Time Warner Cable and Comcast are no longer reselling access to Clearwire's 4G network. The companies said last December, soon after partnering with Verizon Wireless, that they would pull the plug on efforts to sell subscribers 4G mobile hotspots.
Time Warner Cable is drawing strong traffic at its state fair exhibit again this year. On Wednesday, attendees lined up to get autographs from a player and "spokesmodel" from the Syracuse Crunch, a minor league pro hockey team. Dozens of attendees also gathered around a juggler on a unicycle that Time Warner Cable hired to perform outside of its exhibit.
Products Time Warner Cable is touting at this year's fair include its IntelligentHome home security and automation service, and TV Everywhere apps such as HBO Go and Max Go that subscribers can access on Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad and other mobile devices. Time Warner Cable may no longer be pitching 4G mobile hotspots at the fair, but it did allow attendees to access its WiFi network if they were close enough to a transmitter located in the building.--Steve