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Time Warner Cable hot spots are up and running in KC area
[November 29, 2012]

Time Warner Cable hot spots are up and running in KC area

Nov 29, 2012 (The Kansas City Star - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Time Warner Cable is rolling out a Wi-Fi network in the Kansas City market, making Internet access available to its customers at wireless hot spots spread across the metro area.

The company on Thursday also announced details on its plan to sell cut-rate home Internet service to the families of children in nine school districts in and around Kansas City.

And the company is giving its business customers a chance to play host to the cable company's hot spots -- a move that would broaden the wireless network further and give businesses a new perk to draw customers.

The company's plan for $10-a-month Internet hookups for schoolchildren's families in select districts was reported in The Star earlier this month. On Thursday, the company officially announced that its Starter Internet service has begun enrollment for as many as 85,000 students at 190 schools, kindergarten through high school.

That service, far cheaper than most other commercially available hookups, comes without a contract. Families will get notices through the schools covered by the program and have until Jan. 31 to sign up. The company said installations can follow within a few days of registration. Although the service comes with no contract -- payments are month to month and there is no installation charge -- it's available for up to two years.

"One of the things that we've heard is that families are having to make tough choices," said Perry Watson, Time Warner Cable's area vice president of operations. "We hear from parents that they're totally committed to investing in their children and their educations." Beyond having a student in one of the designated school districts, customers are eligible only if they haven't subscribed to Time Warner Cable in the past three months, have no outstanding debts with the company and have an Internet-ready computer in the home.

This is not the first market for Time Warner Cable to roll out the service, which offers moderate broadband speeds. Downloads will run at up to 5 megabits per second, uploads at 1 megabit per second. Google Inc.'s fiberoptic Internet service offers the same speeds for free for seven years after a $300 installation fee, payable in $25 monthly installments the first year. But it's available only in a handful of neighborhoods and could take years to deploy across the market.

Perry said that he didn't know whether Time Warner Cable expects to make money from the service, but that "it allows us to target our next generation of customers." The Wi-Fi service is already running in 14 outdoor locations in the Kansas City area, including the River Market, Crossroads Arts District/downtown Kansas City, the 18th and Vine District, Westport, Loose Park, and the Brookside and Waldo neighborhoods. Customers can sign on up to three devices at a time using a Time Warner Cable email address and password.

There's no extra charge for using the Wi-Fi connections. Time Warner Cable said it will not charge its business customers for setting up Wi-Fi hot spots in their buildings.

___ (c)2012 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.) Visit The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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