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Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

'As a Houston resident with limited home broadband options, I found the following interesting: Dwight Silverman of the Houston Chronicle reports (warning: paywalled) that Comcast plans to turn 50,000 home routers into public Wi-Fi hotspots without their users providing consent. Comcast plans to eventually convert 150,000 home routers into a city-wide WiFi network.


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Me thinks Comcast is about to have their

clock cleaned in Austin by Google Fiber like Time Warner did here in Kansas City.

Unlimited high speed Internet for 6 years after just 12 payments of $20 is quite devastating. Add 10X faster internet speeds for about as much as you are paying for Time Warner cable...yeah.

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
www.yaliberty.org - Young Americans for Liberty
www.ivaw.org/operation-recovery - Stop Deploying Traumatized Troops

I'm in PA... Comcast just sent me a new router...

Sticker on the unit says "Wi-Fi Capable!"

I told my wife I didn't intend on setting it up... why should I? My internet is working just fine... I've never noticed any speed issues.

Ain't broke... ain't gonna fix it ;)


What's your UID?


That's a horribly good idea. They are a business (albeit EVIL company), so I understand why they feel they can do this. I'm sure they plumbed the way for this in the Terms of Service that surely everyone signed.

I believe they will start offering free service for those who let their routers be public. Bribe their way to prosperity. Then they will control all of Houston.

Same in Detroit

Mine turned hot spot this week. I am not sure if this is good or bad. On the upside, I can walk the dog all over the neighborhood listening to streaming music without eating any data. My friends with Comcast do not have to type in a long funky password to access my wifi.

Easy out? Supply your own router, you save a lot of money and can create better signals.

Of course the real question is how does Xfinity profit from this? Is it simply to get an edge on the competition by providing a bonus service OR are they able to better track and sell your internet activities and personal movement?

building it out, that's what they do

I don't have any specific opinion about it as I am not a Comcast customer in Houston, but as I imagine the Houston customers to be a test market I have no problem extrapolating my general opinion from hypothetically placing myself as customer in the story. On top of that I can also hypothetically align what I imagine to be Ron Paul principle with my general opinion.

I have no problem with set-ups such as the one presented by jscottb15. I've done that set-up with friends and neighbors, not so much to make a profit or to be a tiny ISP, but simply to engage convenience. Currently though [and for the past decade], I pay my local ISP for maximum residential broadband access available, and I broadcast Wi-Fi publically, unrestricted to logging on with password and such. My neighbors are in range of my broadcast as are certainly any visitors to my house. It is not just conceptual analogy that my house is like a coffee shop, as I have had many visitors stop by for the expressed purpose of using my access and drinking my coffee. "I am your friend. Use me!"

Once in a while my internet access is down, and I have looked to see if any Wi-Fi is available to me from those nearby. I'm happy to provide open service to those who might have similar need. When my neighbors are baking cookies at three in the morning and run out of sugar, they may simply search and rest assured that their neighbor-John has an extra cup for them.

Comcast's vision of infrastructure does not conflict with that of my own. Their opt-out notification seems reasonable [what else can they do?]. I don't know the details, but if I were king of Comcast I would certainly provide a worthy discount to those who participate in their new relatively open network.

This is from another comment to the linked piece...
Here are some facts:
- Public wireless users will be using a different IP address from the LAN/internal wireless users.
- In order to use the "Public" wireless hotspot, you will need to already have a Comcast username and password. It's not OPEN wifi, but open to other Comcast subscribers.
- "Public" wifi bandwidth will not affect the bandwidth of the home router (so says Comcast).

If this is true it will not at first be completely open access but access open to all Comcast customers. Who knows, but if cell technology is any indication, on down the line Comcast might make deals with other providers to cross over and share networks more seemlessly.

Issues of ownership are still a bit odd regarding points of access, and Comcast may seem to be playing it a bit on the greedy side here, but they are building infrastructure nonetheless. In general, expansion is a good thing, in my book.

Seems like...

they are trying to get ahead of my plans!!! A-holes!!

I'm planing on picking up a cable modem/wifi router from frys then set it up with guest accounts for my neighbors at my apartments and I plan on charging them only $10 a month or less for internet access.

It will pay for all my internets. :)

Bathe them in wireless signals

Still no research done on the safety of having a bajillion wireless technologies running thru your body and disturbing your immune system. Some countries have made it illegal for children to use cell phones, but here in the USA, they just bombard your body with this wireless junk everywhere. Do you really think there are no consequences to using all this wireless technology?

Michael Nystrom's picture


Can they do that?

I guess we'll see...

He's the man.


Well, they are doing that. :D


If you rent the router from Comcast it is their equipment. They'll most likely VLAN (Virtual Lan) the wireless so that it doesn't count against your own bandwidth limit.

Wireless technology is well understood and is a form of non-ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation is the kind known to cause cancer. Regardless of how safe I think or feel that the technology is I still do not want to bathe in it. Especially the 5Ghz band which is becoming more common on home wireless routers. That's a little too high for my taste.

Well get ready, because

Well get ready, because Google is spending billions of dollars to launch hundreds of low-orbit satellites, which will broadcast free wifi all across the globe.

You bring up a great point,

You bring up a great point, and as much of a complete tangent it may appear to the story at hand, it is not irrelevant. I don't just say that because health issues are never irrelevant, but it would seem that what Comcast is doing would place liability for health issues, back into the hands of Comcast [away from individual customers, away from individual Wi-Fi broadcasters].