Customers of CablevisionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Optimum Online service in Peekskill, Pleasantville and Pelham can now connect wirelessly to the Internet while sitting outside at parks, cafes or while waiting for the train.
The rollout of free wireless Internet, or WiFi, is part of CablevisionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s move to improve service for customers of its high-speed Internet service, said John Trierweiler, senior vice president of product management.
Optimum Online subscribers with a WiFi-enabled computer or portable device can get their e-mail or surf the Web away from home for free.
Almost 48 percent of homes with access to CablevisionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fiber optic network subscribe to Optimum Online, the company noted.
The coverage area in all three communities is limited:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Peekskill: Railroad Avenue between Hudson Avenue and Requa Street and extends into Riverfront Green Park;
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Pelham: Fifth Avenue between Lincoln and Pelhamwood avenues. Coverage also includes the area between Town Park from the corner of Harmon, Pelhamwood and Fifth avenues;
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Pleasantville: Washington Avenue between Edgewood Avenue and Manville Road, and on Wheeler Avenue between Bedford and Manville roads.
Cablevision installed the WiFi equipment free of charge. Marcus Serrano, deputy city manager and comptroller in Peekskill, said he would like to have his entire city connected to a WiFi network but until then welcomes CablevisionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s limited offering. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Cablevision did this voluntarily. They approached us and said they wanted to build a WiFi network and wanted to do it in a location where people are waiting,Ã¢â‚¬? he said.
He noted that Cablevision is now facing competition in Peekskill and other towns from VerizonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s FiOS Internet service. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Competition is good, and this is a prime example,Ã¢â‚¬? he said.
Heather Wilner, spokeswoman for Verizon, said that while there is no similar WiFi network in the works for FiOS customers, there are multiple options for customers who want to access the Internet on the go, including installing a network card. Ã¢â‚¬Å“With WiFi you have to be in a particular spot in Pelham or Pleasantville or Peekskill. With our plan, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s true mobile wireless service,Ã¢â‚¬? she said.
The new WiFi networks from Cablevision come as more communities around the country are rolling out municipal wireless networks. Last year, New Rochelle became the first city in the Lower Hudson Valley to build a free wireless network. The network was created under the auspices of the Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District and was paid for by the Empire State Development Corp., Metro-North, Avalon on the Sound, New Roc City and Monroe College.
Westchester CountyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s government has been exploring the option for creating a countywide network, but the hilly and forested topography of the region pose challenges. Muniwireless.com reports that as of this summer, almost 100 communities around the county have built WiFi networks.