Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) said Tuesday that it'll offer customers of broadband rivals free access to its Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots in high-traffic locations during NBCUniversal's coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
While Comcast notes on its Xfinity WiFi site that it has more than 500,000 Wi-Fi access points, the company said the free Wi-Fi only will be availabler to "tens of thousands" of public areas, including train platforms, central business districts, parks and small businesses.
The MSO ran a similar free Wi-Fi promotion during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. That strategy contributed to multiplatform viewing records that it set in London, where NBCU delivered 153.4 million videos and 20.4 million hours of video on smartphones and computers.
Comcast's NBC Olympics division announced in Demcember that the "vast majority" of the 1,000 hours of live video that it will deliver from the Sochi games will only be available to authenticated pay TV subscribers. So while Comcast's free Wi-Fi offer could non-Comcast subscribers watch Olympics programming on mobile devices, viewers will still need to prove that they have a subscription video service from a cable operator, telco or satellite TV provider.
Comcast has also used free Wi-Fi access to market its Xfinity On Demand platform, including the "Summer of Kids" VOD promotion that it ran last summer.
- see this Comcast blog post
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