Time Warner Cable providing free Wi-Fi during DNC
Aug 03, 2012 (The Charlotte Observer - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Visitors, workers and residents will have free Wi-Fi in uptown Charlotte and inside Time Warner Cable Arena before and during the Democratic National Convention.
Time Warner Cable launched TWC WiFi on Friday, a network of more than 90 hotspots in key locations around the city. It's part of the provider's $2 million investment in uptown's network infrastructure.
Free Wi-Fi access on mobile phones and laptops in uptown Charlotte and inside the arena runs from Aug. 27 through Sept. 7.
Before and after those dates, free access is limited to certain paying subscribers. Time Warner customers with standard Internet service or above, and business class customers, can connect to hotspots in about 20 high-traffic areas in uptown's 28202 ZIP code, and 70 or so spots in Dilworth, Midtown, Myers Park and South End.
The new system doesn't necessarily blanket every block uptown with a uniformly strong signal. Users might have to walk to the closest hotspot to get a strong one.
A "vast majority" of Time Warner Cable's Internet customers qualify for the free Wi-Fi, according to a spokeswoman, who declined to offer specifics for competitive reasons.
Carol Hevey, a Time Warner executive vice president, said tests have ensured that the network will hold up to the expected influx of some 35,000 convention visitors. The convention runs from Sept. 4-6.
"Time Warner Cable is using its advanced technology to enhance a more connected experience for everyone during the Democratic National Convention -- and for everyone living, working or visiting our city over the long term," Hevey said.
Other permanent upgrades being made in time for the convention include:
--Upgrading fiber-optic network feeds to the arena and Bank of America Stadium, to ensure uninterrupted service.
--Adding fiber-optic network feeds to several uptown hotels and venues for high-speed access.
--Upgrading the arena's video services to an all-digital platform. Time Warner Cable is also the official video communications and cable television provider for the convention.
That means the provider will deliver video service to people watching convention proceedings from suites inside the arena. Time Warner Cable also is providing cable television services to the three main DNC venues -- the arena, the Convention Center and Bank of America Stadium. The telecommunications company is also providing live, gavel-to-gavel Spanish-language interpretation of convention activities airing at the three venues and streaming online on the convention website.
Time Warner Cable is the latest wireless carrier to announce upgrades ahead of the convention. Last month, AT&T announced it was investing millions in network improvements throughout the Charlotte area. Upgrades include adding Wi-Fi "hot zones" at popular uptown areas, and activating a dozen new cell sites from Concord to Ballantyne.
Friday's announcement in front of the arena included Mayor Anthony Foxx, Duke Energy state president Brett Carter, and N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg.
Foxx commended Time Warner Cable for providing Wi-Fi access around the city, and said other parts of the Charlotte business community have been supportive of the convention.
"There's been a lot of work across partisan lines to make this convention happen," Foxx said.
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