About 10 years ago we tried a mesh WiFi system we called Linear A. It used a modified Roof Net software developed by MIT grad students who went on to found a Google funded start up called Meraki. It was sold to Cisco. But the bottom line was that mesh WiFi works. Make each customers cable modem a Meshed Wifi and you suddenly get a powerful system. I use Cablevision's WiFi as I come home from the City, one train stop after the other. Cheaper than any Verizon service.
In all, this meshed distributed approach has great potential. If Cablevision can execute this as well as it had its fiber backbone and WiFi network, then I believe it could be a real threat to major urban users.
In 2006-2009 we deployed many of these mesh units but the problem was that there were few dual mode sets, only cellular air interfaces. Now WiFi air interfaces are exploding.
As they state in Fierce Wireless:
Frankly, this is just a great idea, whose time has come. Cablevision has shown both interest and competence and it will be interesting to see how they execute on this. Unlike a Google approach, spend billions and make lots of noise, Cablevision just moves ahead elegantly and with great promise.