Cablevision revs Optimum Wi-Fi speeds up to 15mbps

Cablevision (s CVC) is now offering its cable customers cable modem speeds over its Optimum Wi-Fi network of hotspots, hitting 15 megabits per second down and 4 megabits per second on the uplink. The upgrade is a vast improvement over the previous speeds, which hit 3 mbps down and 1.5 mbps up.

The faster performance is available at tens of thousands of Optimum Wi-Fi locations around the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area such as downtown areas, parks, commuter rail platforms, as well as 7,000 indoor hotspots built by Cablevision business customers. Cablevision said half a million of its 3 million cable subscribers have accessed its Wi-Fi network while out of the home. The upgrade should also be available to Time Warner Cable (s TWX0 and Comcast (s CMSK) subscribers, who have access to the Optimum Wi-Fi network in New York.

“This is a huge enhancement for our customers and a significant step forward for mobile online access.  With this increase, Optimum WiFi not only blows away 3G and
4G cellular data speeds, it’s three times faster than the average wired residential broadband service across the country,” said Kevin Curran, Cablevision’s senior vice president of wireless product management.

And that “blows away 3G and 4G cellular data speeds” element is a large component of the shift as cable providers realize they not only have to compete against Verizon and AT&T’s wireline networks, but increasingly with their newly launched 4G networks. Sure, Wi-Fi can help ease the mobile bandwidth crunch, by offloading big traffic from cellular networks, which is why AT&T and Verizon are so keen, but it’s also a way to keep wireline customers loyal and seeing the value of sticking with Cablevision.

New York City is getting some Wi-Fi love lately. AT&T (s T) just announced it was launching Wi-Fi hotspots in 20 New York parks. The DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, home to a number of startups, also recently received free Wi-Fi thanks to a local improvement district and management company. The city also has big Wi-Fi deployments from AT&T and Towerstream in Manhattan. It’s a good thing because cellular service can be extremely trying in New York, where getting and holding on to a signal can be tough.