I believe I’d previously covered the announced rollout of Cablevision‘s metro wifi network and it seems to have actually gone live now. I see it along my Metro North commute as we pass through the various stations and while I have not had a chance to test the connection speed it feels quite peppy. As a Cablevision Optimum Online subscriber I get access for free which is a nice bonus. I think everyone else is SOL as Ii did not see any way to pay for the connection when I started browsing from my Nokia E71.
Before you get too excited about wifi on the train though, this service has been clearly designed for fixed mobile connectivity. It only works within range of the stations – not while the train is cruising along. I realize that’s considerably more challenging and expensive but it actually offers some real value as well. 3G from ATT, Sprint and Verizon is easily accisible and while it might be slow and victim to things like the dead spots we all deal with in our part of the woods, it works at 70 MPH from the comfort of your seat and was the only way I could connect and post this from the train.
I suppose the main beneficiaries of this service are the businesses near the stations who can suddenly offer wifi connectivity to their patrons. Of course you still need a login from your home connection unless someone wants to get more creative and re-stream things with a router…
I would like to suggest that Cablevision alter their authetication method a bit for mobile users. The page certainly rendered well for the handset, but keeping a browser window open to stay connected is ridiculous. I’ll have to try using devicescape one of these days to see if that makes things easier.