Comcast is currently the largest internet service provider in the United States. They want to add a second WiFi signal to your Xfinity modem so other Comcast subscribers may access the internet when they are away from home and near your gateway. Basically Comcast will to transforming all of their customers home modems into public WiFi spots.
This second WiFi connection will be distinct from the customers main signal and to use it you will need a valid Comcast subscribers password and username. Comcast already boasts over 150,000 WiFi hotspots in the US and adding customers modems to the mix would increase that number tremendously.
“Comcast’s newest Wireless Gateway broadcasts two Wi-Fi signals. By default, one is securely configured for the private use of the home subscriber. The second is a neighborhood ‘xfinitywifi’ network signal that can be shared. This creates an extension of the Xfinity Wi-Fi network and will allow visiting Xfinity Internet subscribers to sign in and connect using their own usernames and passwords.” Comcast wrote on their official page about the new program.
Comcast also mention that they started a neighborhood hotspot trial last year in parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Northern Virginia and the D.C. metro area. And that 100,000 customers are already enjoying this WiFi access points.
“WiFi is at the center of our strategy to offer our customers the best online experience, whether it’s the fastest WiFi experience in the home, or a fast and reliable WiFi environment outside the home,” said Tom Nagel who serves as Comcast’s Senior Vice President of Business Development.
To me this whole idea raises so many questions. The biggest one being security. What if someone connects to the public WiFi then defaces and website or does something else illegal? Would they go after you? And how would they know the difference? Bandwidth is another huge issue. If someone is sitting outside of your house streaming a 1080p video that is sure going to cut into the overall bandwidth of the modem slowing down your own activities. Also will public usage be counted as part of your total bandwidth usage? If you didn’t know Comcast does monitor and have limits on how much bandwidth you can use each month. Finally as a customer do I have the ability to opt out of the program?
These are the more important questions that Comcast needs to address.