07:02 PM

Cablevision Launches Mobile Portal

The mobile Web site may help the cable provider fend off increased competition from the telecoms, but it lacks the ability for users to program DVRs on the go.

Cablevision Systems wants to engage its subscribers on the go, and it has launched a mobile portal for its Optimum Online customers.

The portal, announced Monday, offers customers a platform that's optimized for mobile browsers, and users can get access to their Optimum e-mail, weather, television programming schedule, and other personalized information. The main missing component is that Cablevision's mobile play does not allow customers to access their digital video recorders on the go. The company said this is in the works, but it's already available from competitors like AT&T and Verizon.

"Mobility is becoming increasingly important to our customers, with an explosion of wireless devices and our own Optimum Wi-Fi deployment," said Amalia O'Sullivan, Cablevision's VP of consumer product management, in a statement. "So we wanted to take our consumer Web portal and present it in a way that maximizes its value and usability on small screens, including access to e-mail and the kind of personalized information that makes the desktop version of such an important and popular resource for our customers."

The move shows the increasing importance of the mobile space for the major cable providers, as they are facing stiff competition from one another, as well as from telecom offerings like AT&T's U-Verse and Verizon's FiOS. The holy grail of these providers is being able offer customers the "quadruple play," a bundled service of home phone, cell phone, home Internet, and cable TV.

Companies like Comcast and Time Warner have invested hundreds of millions in Clearwire and will likely resell WiMax to satisfy their users' mobile needs. This 4G technology is currently being used to provide mobile data connections, but it does have enough bandwidth to provide voice services.

Cox will take a different approach to mobility, as it will offer its own cellular service with spectrum it purchased in a Federal Communications Commission auction. The cable company has indicated it will integrate mobile video services into its handsets to go along with voice services.

Each year, InformationWeek honors the nation's 500 most innovative users of business technology. Companies with $250 million or more in revenue are invited to apply for the 2009 InformationWeek 500 before May 1.

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