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October 17, 2013

Cablevision Rekindling its Optimum Hotspots Campaign

If you live in the New York metropolitan area, you may have noticed the recent push by Cablevision promoting its Optimum Hotspots program. The company has been running several new ads on major television networks and blasting out emails to local businesses across the region. 

The program is simple: Optimum Hotspots is merely a collection of publically-located Wi-Fi Internet access points accessible only to Optimum Online subscribers, free of charge. The goal, obviously, is to provide its customers with uninterrupted Wi-Fi access across the New York metro region. Optimum currently puts the number of available hotspots at more than 100,000. It seems, however, that this number is not quite large enough.

The company has been petitioning local businesses as of late, including shopping centers, restaurants, downtown shops, and even TMC, to join the ranks of Optimum hotspots. The opportunity is pitched from a public relations angle, describing Hotspots as a great way to keep customers happy and to take advantage of free advertising (all Hotspot participants are listed on optimum.net/Wi-Fi, TV channel 910, the Optimum App and the Wi-Fi Hotspot Finder App, complete with category listings and customized business names). The program has been around for quite some time, so, why the push?

This can, of course, be interpreted one of two ways: Either Optimum Hotspots has not been seeing the level of business participation the company had initially hoped, resulting in disjointed coverage zones it is now trying to remedy, or, conversely, the uptake has actually been a huge success, and the company is simply looking to keep up the momentum. Regardless, considering the amount of advertising being done surrounding Optimum Hotspots, the program is clearly a core component of Cablevision’s marketing strategy.

How much the success of this program affects Cablevision’s competitors, like Verizon, is up for debate. The draw for individuals is clear: With a ubiquitous Wi-Fi network starting from your home router and extending out into the public arena, Optimum customers can save substantially on their cellular data plans, which Verizon, as we know, happens to be a provider of. The revenue hit such a Wi-Fi network might incur on a cellular provider is not something I’m equipped to comment on. Either way, the availability of Optimum hotspots is surely a selling point designed to pull customers away from Verizon FiOS and the like.

We will see how long this revived campaign continues. Ultimately, the key to the success of Optimum Hotspots lies in widespread participation and adoption, and clearly, Cablevision is working hard to get even more businesses to buy in.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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