Imagine for a moment that you are sitting in your front yard in a lawn chair, sipping lemonade while attempting to read the latest news on your WiFi-only iPad. You’re just out of range of your WiFi signal. Your neighbor’s signal is super strong, but that selfish hooligan didn’t leave it wide open for you to leach onto.
Relax. Depending on where you live and who your service provider is, you may be able to use your neighbor’s hotspot regardless of his futile attempts to lock it down someday soon.
A consortium of cable companies (Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable Inc., Cablevision Systems Corp., Bright House Networks LLC and Cox Communications Inc) have agreed to enable the sharing of WiFi hotspots at a grand scale, creating a large region of available signal, in select markets in the U.S.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a single hotspot name and sign on scenario will be used to make it easier for consumers to log in and use available spectrum to surf. It will be a perk for paying broadband account holders in the consortium, but certain providers like Time Warner will let you pay as you go if you like.
I assume there will be measures in place to prevent people from consuming all of the available bandwidth of someone else’s node, but they haven’t explicitly laid out how or when throttling will occur.
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