Comcast To Start Offering Wireless Internet; Exploring Voice Option

Comcast plans to take its television on demand feature one step further:  to your mobile devices.

The U.S. cable company recently started offering wireless Internet service in some cities, jointly with Clearwire Corp., using WiMax technology. It has its sights squarely set on mobile phone/data providers, such as AT&T and Verizon, it appears, saying it is looking to add a "voice option" to that service, which could mean you could get your cable, wireless Internet and phone service (using VOIP, it would appear) on one bill.

Comcast already offers a home Internet package, in addition to the cable service, and this summer announced it would start offering shows On Demand via the Internet, so customers would be able to legally see shows from a couple dozen networks — from CBS and Cinemax to A&E and BBC America, from TNT & TBS to DIY and History — on their computers. What makes this on demand service different from existing streaming over the Internet is that the shows would be available at the same time as their initial broadcast, to paying customers. Some shows usually aren't available online until the next day or later, depending on the network.

Cable television companies are trying to avoid irrelevance, as the Internet wreaks havoc in the television industry, as it has in the music and media industries. By offering people a way to get content online, legally, and combining that with voice, Internet and other services, they're bidding to keep shareholders and customers happy. Time Warner is also a partner in TV Everywhere, the program to bring television online legally.

A voice option on the wireless network probably wouldn't happen until the 4G networks are rolled out, Comcast Chief Financial Officer Michael Angelakis said at the Goldman Sachs Communicopia conference, according to Reuters.