Cable companies are expanding Internet access through public wireless access points to provide Wi-Fi in more places, including beaches and shopping districts.
Time Warner Cable's Wi-Fi network in Los Angeles and surrounding areas has increased to 12,000 hot spots as the proliferation of smartphones and tablets drives demand for wireless Internet access everywhere.
The company, which began building out its hot spot network in September 2011, has recently deployed hot spots in Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and Torrance.
“We know that being connected to the Internet wherever you are is a hugely important feature, so we’ll continue to invest to bring Wi-Fi to areas where our customers live, work and play," said Mike Roudi, senior vice president of corporate development for Time Warner Cable, in a statement.
Time Warner Cable's hot spots let subscribers gain access to the Web through laptops and mobile devices. The service is also available to nonsubscribers on a pay-as-you-go basis.
The company had fewer than 2,000 such hot spots in Southern California at the end of 2011, according to spokesman Dennis Johnson.
The company said it is now deploying the service in Austin, Texas; Kansas City, Mo.; Hawaii; Charlotte, N.C.; and New York City.
Time Warner Cable's Wi-Fi growth is part of a larger effort by an alliance of cable companies to expand mobile wireless Internet access.
The combined network lets customers from one company access the Web through other service providers, which is helpful for people traveling outside their home networks, the companies said.