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Is Your ISP Sharing Your Router With The Public?

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014 by | Filed Under: Hardware & Peripherals, Using The Internet

If Comcast is your Internet provider, they could be using your router as a hotspot for public WiFi for your neighborhood.  It’s all part of a plan to create WiFi access points for customers of Xfinity Internet.

These hotspots enable relatives, friends and other Comcast customers you don’t know at all to log on to high-speed Internet connections without using your data plan.  The way it works is that Comcast’s Wireless Gateway router broadcasts two WiFi signals. One is secure and only for the home user, the second is the neighborhood xfinitiwifi network that can be shared with any other Xfinity Internet subscribers who log in with their own usernames and passwords.

This is part of a plan to offer their customers more than 150,000 indoor and outdoor WiFi hotspots in major cities in addition to the home-based neighborhood hotspot program.  The company says it has over 1 million hotspots that users can find by searching on their webpage.

The screenshot below show the hotspots available in the Detroit area.

As nice as this all sounds, some people are worried that subscribers might end up paying extra electric bills for the juice strangers might take up by using their routers if someone were to perform power-intensive tasks like streaming a movie.  There’s even been a petition started on to ask that Comcast compensate customers in some way.

~ Cynthia

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20 Responses to “Is Your ISP Sharing Your Router With The Public?”

  1. Frank Whiffen says:

    How does one find these hot spots. And how does one know if one’s router is being used in this manner?

    Also, how did the author get to the map that is shown?

    • Peter says:

      Pass this on to Congress for an investigation, publish the names of House and Senate representatives who have received campaign contributions from the Comcast network and institutions, and put together a list of all advertisers that support Comcast programming. Let Comcast know that Americans believe in “Free Enterprise” and know how to hold potential violators of the law accountable. Money Talks: Fair adverse national publicity will get the attention of advertisers faster than congressional action, but both work.

  2. Shirley says:

    Should be illegal, why should I pay for it and others mooch off the money that I have to pay. If you want Wi-Fi, PAY FOR IT, like the rest of us. This company should be fined by what ever agency has oversight for internet protocol.

    • Vince says:

      People using it do pay.
      Either an outrageous hourly rate or they already have a Comcast internet subscription an are using that to log in. The thing is Comcast is charging you for use of the router and more than likely charged you to buy and install it. Now without your permission (might be hidden in the fine print) Comcast is basically renting out your property (YOUR ROUTER which you paid for) to other subscribers and making money from it.
      The whole time screwing you over with high rates and possibly restricted bandwidth when using something like Net Flicks which they complain they’re not making enough income from.

  3. Tom says:

    I am planning to call the idiots at Comcast and demand they stop this or O will sue them.

  4. Tom says:

    the Comcast idiot just told Comcast can do what ever they want.

  5. Jerry says:

    Is Comcast paying for wear and tear? For electricity? What happens if someone using the hotspot manages to hack into your pc? Somebody should sue them to stop this. They are trying to take money out of your pocket and have you pay their way.

  6. MarkJ says:

    If the router is sending 2 signals it will be using extra electricity all the time not just when someone is using it heavily. But I would be more worried about the bandwidth that is being used by someone streaming a video. I would be paying for a certain bandwidth and if they are using some of it then I can’t. They should be telling their customers about this or maybe even asking them for permission, but perhaps allowing this is in the standard terms and conditions everyone agrees to but almost no one reads.

  7. George says:

    All Time-Warner customers should be advised that Comcast and Time-Warner are merging, so if you are a current Time-Warner customer, you will be in the same boat. I think we should all have a choice as to whether or not we wish to participate this way.

  8. Rodders says:

    In the UK British Telecom have been giving customers the option to allow this or not for years now.It seems to go down well with most customers-don’t hear anyone complaining.There are 5 million hotspots in UK and 7 million abroad.
    Go for it-its very useful if you are out and about.

  9. Deborah in Brewton,Al says:

    Is it only Comcast or does other internet providers do it also? Such as AT&T…Mediacom?

  10. WonderWhy says:

    Looking at the Xfinity hotspot map for my area most hotspots were in business locations which would be appropriate as most business that serve the public would offer wifi service.

    One thing is for sure if your router is being used for a hotspot you would know it since the router would be broadcasting the Xfinitywifi SSID and you should have already been aware of it. I know what my router is broadcasting and my neighbors. Xfinity says that you can see the SSID at the hotspot so it would not be an invisible broadcast (SSID turned off).

  11. Pat Mruczkowski says:

    I live in West Palm Beach Fl. What are the Hot Spots here and can we purchase our own router from somewhere else ? I WAS hoping to save money with their triple play. Now is this costing me more money ?

  12. Dolly Leenheer says:

    Maybe this is why we can’t buy a comcast-like modem/router with VOIP (phone) on it anywhere. Best Buy used to have them. Comcast wants us to pay the monthly rental fee for their modem/router. We don’t want Comcast’s modem with their hotspots and wifi connection crap!

  13. [...] we wish to participate this way.We received LOTS of unhappy comments/feedback about Comcast using customer’s routers as public hotspots. But there IS a way to opt out of this feature. Directly from Comcast’s website: “We [...]

  14. judith walker says:

    Comcast takes all it can and hires its phone operators, not in the US, but in other countries like Pakistan. There must be a profit not customer service related reason for any use Comcast intends for US customer rented or owned equipment, with zero customer considerations. The option to opt-out must be a legally mandated issue like the recent ATT low income internet, for 3 yrs only deal.

  15. […] Comcast’s CEO didn’t get specific about the plan, he just said that the company is assessing the possibilities.  Comcast’s  Xfinity Internet service came under fire when it was revealed that the company uses portions of subscribers’ routers to host local hotspots. […]

  16. Sal says:

    This is a great service my car was stuck in the snow for 2 hours and I was able to stream video on my phone with one of these hot spots because I am a customer, without that I would have had to use my phone 4G. I use these hot spots all the tile and was able save money on my phone plan.

  17. Beverly DeForde says:

    I opted out of this “service”. How can I really know that Comcast honors my request. My modem blinks constantly,so I assume it is broadcasting. Do you have an answer for me?

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