Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Comcast is turning your Xfinity router into a public Wi-Fi hotspot

Update: Comcast has turned on the first 50,000 residential hotspots.
Original post:

Some time on Tuesday afternoon, about 50,000 Comcast Internet customers in Houston will become part of a massive public Wi-Fi hotspot network, a number that will swell to 150,000 by the end of June.
Comcast will begin activating a feature in its Arris Touchstone Telephony Wireless Gateway Modems that sets up a public Wi-Fi hotspot alongside a residential Internet customer’s private home network. Other Comcast customers will be able to log in to the hotspots for free using a computer, smartphone or other mobile device. And once they log into one, they’ll be automatically logged in to others when their devices “see” them.

Comcast says the hotspot – which appears as “xfinitywifi” to those searching for a Wi-Fi connection – is completely separate from the home network. Someone accessing the Net through the hotspot can’t get to the computers, printers, mobile devices, streaming boxes and more sitting on the host network.
Comcast officials also say that people using the Internet via the hotspot won’t slow down Internet access on the home network. Additional capacity is allotted to handle the bandwidth.

You can read more about Comcast’s reason for doing this in my report on HoustonChronicle.com.
What’s interesting about this move is that, by default, the feature is being turned on without its subscribers’ prior consent. It’s an opt-out system – you have to take action to not participate. Comcast spokesman Michael Bybee said on Monday that notices about the hotspot feature were mailed to customers a few weeks ago, and email notifications will go out after it’s turned on. But it’s a good bet that this will take many Comcast customers by surprise.
Read more http://www.naturalnews.com/045502_arrest_fees_innocent_people_Chicago_police.html# 

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